Last week, I read a fantastic blog post by Aaron Puley (@bloggucation), which inspired me to try something different in art than I’d ever tried before. After writing last week’s blog post, I received some comments from Aaron and his wife, Jennifer Faulkner (@learninghood). Jennifer mentioned that she had her Grade 10 science class create their entire physics unit using the curriculum document. This really got me thinking, as maybe we need to give more opportunities for students to examine the curriculum expectations and understand what they’re learning and why they’re learning it.
Thanks to what Aaron and Jennifer shared, this week, I decided to try something else that I’ve never tried before. This year, the Grade 1’s and 2’s helped plant and take care of a butterfly garden at school, and we’re looking at ways that we can continue to take care of this garden over the summer and into next year. I wanted the students to create a media text sharing their ideas, and then posting their completed media texts on their student blogs, so that their ideas could be shared with our school community.
Instead of telling the student what to make, I pulled up the Language Document on the SMART Board. We took a screenshot of the expectation related to producing media texts. Then we went through this expectation together. Students told me what they could do that matched up to the examples in the document, and they told me how they could modify or build on these examples. They also told me which examples would not apply to this activity. Below is a screenshot of our brainstorming session:
Students then used these ideas to decide on what they wanted to do and what tool they wanted to use. The results were incredible. Students problem-solved. They collaborated with their peers. They discussed their audience, and they made good choices about ways for their audience to get the information that they wanted them to receive.
Many students are still completing their media texts, but all completed ones are posted on the individual student blogs linked on the right-hand side of our group blog. Seeing these results and watching the students create their media texts today proved to me that all students should be working with curriculum expectations regardless of age. Set high expectations, support the students as they achieve them, and the results will be incredible!
How have you had students work with the curriculum expectations and curriculum documents in your classroom? What were the results? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
I’m getting braver about this all the time – now all I need is a new French document to make it a little bit easier (the existing one is still from 1999). The kids (particularly my Grade 7 and 8’s) really like looking at the document – we’ve been doing a lot this week in terms of seeing whether we covered what we needed to do, and where some of our shortfall might have been. This way, we can start to think about where we go next year (I have the ability to teach a cohort of kids over 4 years); I loved your brainstorming visual, and am hoping to use it next year to show teachers how they can do this.
Thanks for the comment, Lisa! I love hearing about how you checked off expectations and looked at them with your class. What a great way to keep students responsible for their learning!