Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More about innovative learning

4th grade math students explore together how to draw 2D representations of 3D objects. Students can then make drawings from their own designs for others to try recreating.
K-1's all contributed to this story about an unlikely friendship between a bobcat and a cat at Parker.  They are going to turn their story into a book.
This article in MindShift, 7 Essential Principles of Innovative Learning expresses how we teach at Parker.  Author Katarina Schwartz pares it down to 7 elements that correspond exactly to what we call project based education or signature experiences.

1. Learners have to be at the center of what happens in the classroom.
2. Learning is a social practice and can’t happen alone.
3. Emotions are an integral part of learning.
4. Learners are different.
5. Students need to be stretched, but not too much.
6. Assessment should be for learning, not of learning.
      7. Learning needs to be connected across disciplines.

I would take it one step further than she does, adding "8. Learning should result in purposeful action."  This concept includes projects that have a purpose beyond the school's  walls - learning that expands into the world beyond the classroom.  That is what gives the depth and meaning to activities that will excite students' imaginations and passions.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Entrepreneurial learning

The Global One-Room Schoolhouse: John Seely Brown (Highlights from his "Entrepreneurial Learner" Keynote at DML2012) from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.

What does it take to cultivate entrepreneurial learners?  Visiting scholar at USC and independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge, learning innovator, John Seely Brown ruminates on play and how to develop a questioning disposition.  This is a very cool animated video of his ideas.

At Parker we practice critique and purposeful action among other ways to get kids to "play" with ideas and explore the results - here is another way to think about it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Work of value

A preschooler's drawing of tromping along the walkway during Muddy Boots Club.
"What do you think is inside the earth?" Ideas generated by K-1 students at the start of a study of rocks and minerals. 
2-3's exult in their museum display at the Historical Society.
4-5's perfecting scripts for their history makers displays.
7th grade math: write about how you figured out the problem.
Once a student creates work of value -- work that is sophisticated, accurate, important and beautiful -- that student is never the same. When you have done quality work, deeper work, you know you are always capable of doing more.  ~ Ron Berger

Read this article: Deeper Learning: Highlighting Student Work.  It is by educator and Expeditionary Learning's Chief Program Officer, Ron Berger.  Ron has come to Parker twice to work with our teachers on critique and displaying children's work.

If you watch the fascinating short video in the middle of this article, you will get a great vision of how critique works.  It is a way of investing students in keeping at something until it is just right.  An empowering concept!  And one that lets them know just how capable they are.