What Makes Project-Based Learning a Success?

In my education social studies 310 course two semesters ago, we discussed the use of “rich performance tasks” in the classroom. I do believe that the use of a project like this, or something similar can be effective in the classroom. When I think back to my schooling I remember a project from grade 7 that we were allowed to design on our own quite well. This was 9 years ago, and therefore, the learning that occurred there was very valuable. For this reason, along with the students taking ownership of their learning, allowing themselves to use their imagination and critical thinking skills, fostering to students’ personal interest, and many more, I believe that these types of projects can be very valuable tools in the classroom. The article linked below focuses on a school devoted to project-based learning. One concept that I really enjoyed from this article is captured in a quote from the principal of the school; “If you don’t have a relationship with the students, they’re not going to do anything for you; if it’s not relevant, you’re going to bore them. But when you look at relationships and relevance and then rigor, you’re going to hit all students.”

via What Makes Project-Based Learning a Success? | Edutopia.

Aboriginal Culture Woven Into Curriculum

As treaty education has become mandatory in Saskatchewan schools, teachers are always working towards finding new and innovative ways to incorporate Aboriginal content into their curriculum. Another challenge that teachers face is trying to find ways to make the learning for the students cross curricular. Below I have put a link to an article of an example of how doing both is quite possible – an added bonus is that it is happening with professionals from our very own University of Regina!

Aboriginal culture woven into curriculum | Communications, University of Regina.

Branching Out

Yesterday I read a post by a fellow ECMP 355 blogger, Sean Hayes, who shared a link to a Facebook page that is a group of education bloggers and professionals who are all interested in sharing ideas and working together to better education for all of our students. I was interested and so I joined the group. I have not had much time to really in-depth search everything however, I have already found a couple of sites and blogs that I have subscribed to and added to my google reader. What an amazing opportunity to be able to see how so many professionals from different locations are inter-collaberating with one another.  I suggest that you check some of these out!

1) Imagining Learning

2) Cooperative Catalyst 

Tech Task #3 A

One of the podcasts that I found and have subscribed to is called, The Whole Child Podcast. This is an American based podcast however, they discuss many interesting topics concerning education such as assessment practices, responses to diverse student needs, connecting curriculum to a real world context and much more.

The podcast that I listened to was called: “Whole Child Around the World: A Good School is a Good School.” I found this particular podcast to be very interesting. There were guest speaker from around the world from the United States to the Middle East to Germany discussing special programs in their school systems that are working towards a better experience for the ‘whole child.’ Some of the interesting, yet common theme between the speakers was the idea of what schools look like if we really put the child at the center. The concept of what a holistic approach would look like was discussed. It was suggested that to work in the reality of the life of the child that does not simply just include the school, for the influence of the media, family, peers, and the community is huge. Therefore, to ignore these contexts of the child’s life would not be taking a holistic approach. Another interesting suggestion was how community school relationships will enhance student involvement in schools.  In Germany, they focus on the thought of aligning health and education and working towards ‘giving students a push’ so that they can continue on their own. The speaker from Germany compared this to the comprehensive school health approach in Canada – cool, I have learned about this!

Overall, it is inspiring to hear so many educators from around the world essentially working in collaboration with one another to focus on the future of education where the students needs are at the center of the focus.

Two other podcasts that I have found to be very interesting are:

1) Learning Matters  This has many interesting educational topics explored.

2) Long Elementary This is an elementary school’s podcast site. Super cool to see how this school uses podcasting in the classroom to support student learning.

The Gene Pool of Education

If you have not seen this video, I highly recommend it. I found it to be quite fitting as lately I have found myself referring to what has become ‘normalized’ in our education system, and how to fight those concepts. So many interesting ideas within this video, two that really caught my attention were the reasoning behind separating students into levels that we refer to as grades simply because of their age, as well as divergent thinking.

Side Note: How could story mapping like this be used in the classroom? I think that it could be a powerful tool – I mean, I was engaged the whole twelve minutes.

RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms – YouTube.