Monday, January 20, 2014

Meaningful Learning Process and Projects

I have a class of bright, innovative students--students who look forward to learning as a way to impact the world around them.

Some of those students have been completing enrichment projects.  For example, one child is finalizing her recent news article about our grade-wide culture celebration.  We'll send that article into the local newspaper. The same child and another are working to interview Ms. Davis about her book, The Day the Teacher Cried, and we will also send that article into the local newspaper.  Further, a child researched Black Holes and published his short documentary on You Tube.  One more student took the "self talk" strategy we're using as part of our Self Regulation Strategy Development (SRSD) approach to writing (and all learning) and coded a related SCRATCH animation, created a worksheet, and worked with the teacher to write and publish a lesson.  I'll soon propose the project of writing a Wikipedia page about our school to a couple, and I'm still thinking about a way to enlist the terrific coding skills of some of our game makers in a project that will inspire and educate our learning community in meaningful ways.

When I asked, "Who wants a special project?" students' hands shot up which left me thinking about how to promote this wonderful desire in the classroom schedule/efforts for all children.

I started a project list on our home study list/message board, an online Google doc that students and families check nightly for learning links and information.  I'll also talk about the projects and list with students this week.  The Deeper Learning MOOC conversations have been forwarding my thought in this regard, and have impacted the recent teaching/learning steps.

How do you promote meaningful project base learning that challenges the best of students' skills, concept, and knowledge?  How do you do this so your classroom reflects "more of them and less of us (educators)?"  And, how do you do this in conjunction with common core standards, system mandates, and thoughtful curation?

I'm excited about growing this effort in the days to come, and I look forward to your thoughts and further discussion.

Note: Take a look at students' documentary and SCRATCH animation work.  Note that the SCRATCH project takes a bit of time to upload (I'll try to figure out a way to make that upload quicker).