Thursday, 6 November 2014

Competency Fun and Learning...

Here's why I love working in an Alberta school right now...

And here's why my students love learning in an Alberta school right now... (complete with photo bomb:)

Recently we completed a project in the true spirit of inquiry and project based learning that we would like to highlight as an example of competency based teaching and learning in action, aka 'fun and learning' as we have come to refer to the process within our class.
If you're having fun and not learning, that's bad. If you're learning and not having fun, that's worse. If you're having fun and learning, that's our classroom!
So we were learning about a curricular outcome in seventh grade science under the following heading and supporting focus questions and curricular overview ...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

What Were We Thinking?!

I Think Therefore I Am Dangerous by JohnE777, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  JohnE777 

Our little cross curricular action research project in grade 7 at Glendale Sciences and Technology School did in fact take place late last winter and early spring, and boy, what an incredible experience it turned out to be! It's been a while since we finished in early May, and it's taken this long for us to get our heads around what we accomplished... and didn't accomplish. I've copied the details of our project below from the first post about this project, and added my italicised notes where applicable. All of that is followed by some observations at the end.

Project Name:
Increased Engagement Through Purposeful, Self-Directed Cross-Curricular Learning
Increased engagement... oh yeah, but not at first for all kids. We observed that the kids who were most difficult to engage were the automatic A's; kids who were very used to getting top marks with minimal effort. We correlate this to the phenomena of the 'study sheet.' These kids are very good at the remembering part of Bloom's Taxonomy, but beyond that were a bit more frustrated. This told us a thing or two about the sort of assessment we didn't want to focus heavily on, but certainly not discard. After all Bloom's is a taxonomy, not a hierarchy, right?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Action Research... Fun and Learning?

Experiencing, Learning, Reflecting by mrsdkrebs, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  mrsdkrebs

Rationale Statement:
My seventh grade teaching colleagues and I returned from Christmas break with a new direction.  We are realizing more and more within the context of our inquiry based school that to authentically teach inquiry learning skills, we need our students to be engaged, committed and responsible for their own progress. This is not to say that we don't have any responsibility as their teachers. It just means that we need our students to want to know what we need them to know according to the curriculum that has been set before us. We decided to shake things up a bit.
If you're having fun and not learning, that's bad. If you're learning and not having fun, that's worse. If you're having fun and learning, that's our classroom.
This is a mantra we've been thinking a lot about. Why can't fun be learning and learning be fun? We believe it's all about perspective... the students' and ours. So that is the foundation of our new action research project with 44 kids, four teachers and a lot or positive energy. Here's how we started...