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Rectory’s MELP Program

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Each spring term, the Rectory School has a program called March Experiential Learning Program (MELP) for its students.  Some MELPs are on campus, while others travel to various off-campus locations. This program lasts for one full week. Students choose the MELP they are interested in during the previous fall term. The MELP leaders schedule different activities for each day of the week.  

We were curious to learn more about some of the MELP programs and what activities they did, so The DiRectory interviewed some Rectory students and teachers about their MELP experiences. (Scroll down to view a photo gallery of each of these MELPs!)

A trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the off-campus MELPs offered at Rectory. Since New Orleans is ”The Birthplace of Jazz,” students watched a jazz concert and listened to music played by street artists. Besides listening to music, students also went to the French Quarter, the most famous local aquarium, and an insectarium. Students got around by walking through the streets of New Orleans and taking several bus tours of the city. By walking, students learned about the local culture and felt the nice warm weather there. They ate traditional foods, including insects, which have a lot of protein.

DiRectory: Who were your MELP teachers for the New Orleans MELP?

Cindy (8th-grade student): My MELP teachers for New Orleans, Birthplace of Jazz were Ms. D’angelo and Mr. Finnegan.

DiRectory: Did you like your MELP, why or why not?

Cindy (8th-grade student):  I absolutely loved my MELP because New Orleans is a city of music, and I love music.  

DiRectory: What was your favorite part of the MELP?

Cindy (8th-grade student): I got to feed marshmallows to alligators.

DiRectory: What did you learn from your MELP?

Cindy (8th-grade student):  I learned that Spanish and French people first lived in New Orleans when they came to America.

 

Around the World in Five Days is an on-campus MELP. Students learned about Ireland, Japan, France, Morocco, and the MIddle East. While learning about different cultures, they tried many traditional foods from different countries. For example, when learning about Japan, this group went to Boston for the day. They ate at a Japanese restaurant in Faneuil Hall, and they toured a Japanese house at the Boston Children’s Museum. The Japanese house, one of the oldest houses in Japan, had been shipped piece-by-piece to the U.S. in 1979. It was put together inside the museum. The students learned how Japanese people make their houses safe from earthquakes. They also learned how to do origami, a Japanese craft.

DiRectory:  How was the weather during your MELP?

Mrs. Shattuck: We were very lucky that Tuesday was the warmest day of the MELP week because that’s the day we went to Boston. We had to do a lot of walking in Boston, and it’s always breezy by the water, so I was so happy that Tuesday was a warm day!

DiRectory:  What activities did you do?

Mrs. Shattuck: Each day we learned about a different country or a different area of the world. We did a craft from each country, and we went to a restaurant that served food of that country. We tried to do a physical activity from that country with the kids, too, such as dancing or cooking. We learned about Ireland and the British Isles on Monday, Japan on Tuesday,  France on Wednesday, Morocco, Northern Africa and the Middle East on Thursday, and Venezuela on Friday. It was a very busy, but fun-filled and enriching week!

DiRectory:  Do you know how and why this MELP got started?

Mrs. Shattuck: This was my third year doing this MELP; the original teachers were Ms. Burke, Mr. Zerpa, and Mrs. Rodman. They were the ones who originally came up with this MELP idea because Mr. Zerpa and Ms. Burke are language teachers, and Ms. Rodman is a history teacher, so they are interested in different cultures. I was a French and Spanish major in college, so I am  also interested in different cultures.

DiRectory:  What were you hoping the students would learn from this MELP?   

Mrs. Shattuck: We wanted them to learn a little bit of the culture of each of the countries that we studied and also to learn some of the history of each country and where they are all located in the world.  The world is getting smaller every day, so this information is very important for our students to know.       

 

Cape Escape has been a popular off-campus MELP for many years. Students go to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and visit a glass factory in Sandwich, Mass. Ninth-grade student, Max Y., attended this MELP this year.

DiRectory: Where was your MELP held, and who were your MELP teachers?

Max: My MELP was called Cape Escape, and it was located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Our MELP teachers were Mr. and Mrs. Rodman.

DiRectory: What was your favorite part of the MELP?

Max:  There was a water park in the hotel where we stayed. That was a lot of fun!

DiRectory: What did you learn from your MELP?

Max: I learned how to make potato chips. We dissected squid, and we also learned how different glass products are made.

 

New England Sports is another on-campus MELP. Throughout the MELP week, students learn about different sports that are popular in New England, such as ice hockey, football, baseball, and basketball. They watch sports videos and read about the history of these sports. Dominique loves basketball and she participated in the New England Sports MELP this year.

DiRectory: What was the name of your MELP?

Dominique: New England Sports.

DiRectory: Where was your MELP held?

Dominique: It was on campus, but we took trips to different places each day.

DiRectory: How was the weather during your MELP week?

Dominique: The weather was good.

DiRectory: What did you learn from your MELP?

Dominique: We learned about the history of the sports and all the great athletes from each sport.

DiRectory: Which students do you think would enjoy this MELP?

Dominique: Students who love sports, those who like to watch sports, and those who like going to sports’ stadiums.

 

Fantasy of Flight is an off-campus MELP. This group travels to Florida. The students visited NASA and saw alligators. Mr Healy and Ms. Slocum were the MELP leaders.

DiRectory: What was the name of your MELP?

Mr. Healy: Fantasy of Flight.

DiRectory: Where was your MELP held?

Mr. Healy: In Florida.

DiRectory: How was the weather down in Florida during MELP week?

Mr. Healy: The weather was beautiful!

DiRectory: What activities did you do?

Mr. Healy: We visited sky rocket in the space museum on the first day, and then we went to see some alligators the second day. We did different activities each day.

DiRectory: Do you know how and why this MELP got started?

Mr. Healy: I think Ms. Slocum and Mr. Healy wanted to go to a place with nice weather and they liked the idea of visiting the Kennedy Space Center, so the students could learn about the history of U.S. space exploration.

 

The MELP program is a lot of fun and it enriches students’ experiences. It’s one of the many special programs that Rectory offers its students. Students can learn a lot outside the classroom through this program. Check out all the different MELP programs that Rectory offered its students this year.

MARCH 2017 MELP OFFERINGS

  • America’s Historic Triangle
  • Around the World in Five Days
  • Cape Escape
  • Charter Philly
  • Fantasy of Flight
  • Farm Fresh
  • Inside New England Sports
  • Jekyll Island
  • New Orleans: Birthplace of Jazz
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Puerto Rico: Island of Natural Wonders
  • Rectory Prospectors
  • Roots to Rhythm
  • Salt River Rafting: Arizona
  • The Charm of Charleston
  • Washington DC – Our Nation’s Treasures
  • Water, Water, Everywhere!

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Rectory’s MELP Program