Monday, November 24, 2014

Getting to a Deeper Level of Learning

Creating rich learning experiences that move young minds beyond factual memory - experiences that require them to dig deep for understanding - is a goal here at Parker.  On a walk through classrooms on Friday here are a few of the activities I saw that engendered deeper thinking:

4-5 students had divided into to teams to write several bills for the state legislature. They were deciding which bills were worthy of taking all the way through the legislative process in a mock session.  Bills and laws sponsored by Parker assembly members and senators that were deemed worthy: Recess Law, Medication Bill and Apple Pie Bill (new state dessert).

6th graders were launching toy cars around the room, making them crash.  They were testing Newton's laws of force and motion by sending one car faster than the one it hit, or at the same speed, and investigating and interpreting the results.  Next up: teams began brainstorming and drawing designs for Rube-Goldberg contraptions that would demonstrate five types of energy transfer.

Pre K students were baking pumpkin bread. "Cooking calls for identifying, sorting, ordering, measuring, counting, timing and observing, while at the same time providing exercise of small motor skills," teacher JoAnn Bennett says.  To find out about more the learning that happens while cooking together, scroll down in JoAnn's Pre K blog to the Looking Deeper section. 

Katarina Schwatrz in her article Beyond Knowing Facts: How Do We Create Rich Learning Experiences for All Students describes the competencies that define deeper learning:  mastering content, critical thinking, effective written and oral communication, collaboration, learning how to learn, and developing academic mindsets.

Deeper learning is a crucial component for developing curiosity, passion and confidence.  Plus, it's just so fun!

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