Throughout the last several weeks, academics at The Traveling School have jumped borders, endured the whirlwind of midterms, and are once again gaining momentum as we dive into the second half of our semester. For many of us, it’s difficult to believe we are already two-thirds of the way through our curriculum, though for parents it might feel as though it’s been even longer. Regardless, the amount of material we are covering and the knowledge we have been absorbing throughout the last nine weeks is extensive, profound, and impossible to consolidate to a single post. I hope you enjoy a peek into the hard work students have been dedicating to their TTS classes and know that this hardly even scratches the surface!

– Mabel

Honors Literature & Composition

Prior to midterms, all students completed and performed their ‘Where I’m from’ poems. Each student demonstrated immense bravery and vulnerability, offering hidden and personal details of their past and allowing the group to know them at an even deeper level than before. We listened to each other with intention, and together we laughed, snapped with appraisal, and even shed a few tears. Upon leaving this space, there was a palpable bond that continues to tie our group together.

Poetry Slam

In addition to wrapping up the poetry unit, TTS lit has been ferociously reading the semester novel The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende. Students are universally enthralled in the plot and can’t help but see the overlap between themes in the text and topics we discuss throughout the semester. For example, while in Agualongo, we witnessed firsthand the lingering side effects of the hacienda system in a way that mirrors a the system portrayed in Allende’s writing. Students look forward to finishing the novel and discovering more connections between our semester and the text.

Claire and Ryan reading

Concept Map for The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

Working in the park in Lima

Honors History & Politics

Upon arriving in Cusco, TTS History began to dive deep into the past of Incan and Spanish conquistadors while simultaneously furthering their understanding of the complex and often conflicting history of Latin American politics. Since midterms, students have already visited the renowned Museo Inka, the Saqsaywaman Incan temple, and the Qorikancha Sun temple. Students are currently working on creating an Inca Field Guide attempting to conceptualize the years of history and tradition that makeup the Incan empire. I can’t imagine a better place to do so than the capital of the empire itself. I hope you enjoy photos of students writing pages and pages of notes as they take on this challenge.

Honors Environmental Science

In science, students continue to complete their weekly field guides allowing them to invest themselves and deeply process their natural surroundings. Many students felt especially accomplished after completing an extensive concept map for their science midterm. We are looking forward to further investigating the high alpine environment

BYU Financial Math

Nearly all math students have completed their BYU Business Math Final! Woohoo, congratulations to those students for their hard work.

Honors Spanish I-III

Spanish continues to embrace the experiential learning pillar of our school, seeking opportunity for conversation and comprehension around every corner. All students are engaging in varying levels of spontaneous conversation as they advance their language fundamentals and experiment with applying their new found skills in real world situations. Spanish I is progressing to their next phase of language acquisition as they begin writing full paragraphs in Spanish and learn beyond the present tense. Spanish II is focusing on expanding their conversational skills, branching outside their comfort zones to approach strangers and prompt conversation without preparation. This allows students to rely on the language they have been building throughout the semester and further their second language acquisition process. Spanish III is wrapping up the final draft of their creative short stories, the first draft of which was submitted for their midterm. They are focusing on expanding their Spanish writing skills with an emphasis on descriptive imagery and advanced grammar. Additionally, Spanish III students are engaging with their surroundings and challenging themselves to follow fast paced and complicated conversations. In a recent class held in a coffee shop, we took an impromptu turn in our material when the owner offered an in-depth explanation of the care and precision dedicated to her father’s coffee plant and the meticulous harvesting and roasting process that goes into the cup sitting on our table. Students were surprised by the amount of information they subconsciously understood, despite repeatedly losing track and jumping back into comprehension. It is a mentally exhausting task and yet invaluable for their Spanish language progression!


Honors Global Studies

Following their midterm socratic seminar, Global Studies is continuing to learn “how to read the world” as they dive into their upcoming unit on globalization. In a recent class in Cusco, students stood on a balcony overlooking the Plaza de Armas. It took less than five minutes for them to notice the Spanish Style cathedral at the far end of the square, identical to the cover image on their textbook. Although beautiful, students grappled with the clear depiction of Spanish colonization and its impact on centuries worth of Incan culture. In a related fashion, students witnessed with their own eyes modern examples of globalization with Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC, and several US and European outdoor brands lining the square. 

Students continue to take time each week to think critically, develop their thoughts, and conceptualize information in their Reaction, Reflection, and Questions (RRQ) weekly assignment. It will be fascinating to see the progression in their RRQ´s throughout the semester particularly between their first and final entry.

Here’s to our TTS40 students, the immense amount of work they dedicate to their classes, and the unique learning opportunities they continue to embrace!

Notes of encouragement during midterms

Oh and can’t forget about some recent POF highlights. Did someone say Salsa Dance Class!?!?