Whats the SPARK in your classroom? How do you ignite children’s learning and curiosity?
There are so many X-based learning models. Here are a few:-
- Challenge Based Learning
- Design Based Learning
- Problem Based Learning
- Project Based Learning
- Service Based Learning
- (and perhaps my favourite) Zombie Based Learning
that allow for children to take part in a variety of
The ideas behind these X-Based pedagogies are nearly 100 years old. It is not a new concept in education. But it is one that has been remixed throughout the past century.
Most feature some elements of BIE’s 8 Essential Elements of PBL. Most get their names because they use a specific context for learning. If these pedagogies are remixes of each other then I suppose it doesn’t really matter what you decide to call your, er… extended learning experience just depends on how you frame it. The bottom line is the same…they… can powerfully engage and effectively teach students!
My SPARK is giving them life skills which they can use by linking concepts and understandings across a variety of subjects and ideas. This type of education is preparing them for their future. I am aiming to
So what does this SPARK look like in the classroom?
I think I am creating a mash-up of some of these X-based Learning Models. Challenge, Problem, Project and Inquiry Based Learning (I.B.L.). are all incorporated into the what happens in my classroom. (My aim is now to try to add Zombie Based Learning to this mash-up…probably not but imagine that!)
Currently we are inquiring into our Responsibility and the 5R’s Unit of Learning. With the Central idea of What we do affects our environment.
On Friday Grade 1 hosted an Inventor’s Workshop. The provocation (Inquiry Based Learning) for the workshop was the wonderful Caine’s Arcade. The children were reusing/repurposing materials that they brought into school which would normally have been thrown away or recycled (Challenge Based Learning). The children had freedom to create whatever they wanted to as long as there was purpose behind their design by not throwing something away (Problem Based Learning) . They came up with some wonderful designs/ creations including:
- A desk tidy for pens
- A slingshot
- Marble run
- A toy tea set
- A soccer game
- Stuffed toys
- A bag
It was a brilliant day with a real buzz around the whole Grade 1 area. Parents came in and helped, Administration and our Maintenance team came and supported the children making connections with their current learning and their previous learning.
Specialist Teachers came to support the learning in the classroom as we collapsed the schedule to allow for deeper more meaningful learning. This allowed specialists to come and support their students in their homeroom. Children did not have to stop every 40 minutes and learn in small boxes. Instead they could use their knowledge and learn across subject areas to create something meaningful and worthwhile using skills that can be used later in life to solve problems, critically and creatively think.
Specialist teachers loved it and it allowed for collaboration across subject areas. One French Teacher told me that “this child has leant more French with me in the past 10 minutes than they will do all year. We need to do more of this. Hands on, practical experiences that will help the in later life.”
A child ( more than one but one sticks in my mind) “This is the best day ever”.
I suppose the whole idea behind the Unit of Learning could be called Project Based Learning because students learn knowledge and elements of the core curriculum, but also apply what they know to solve authentic problems and produce results that matter. At the end of the Unit the children will be expected to persuade Grade 2 to change their habits through a variety of mediums including persuasive letters, videos, a podcast as if it is a radio station, posters etc. These high quality collaborative products can then be shared to a wider audience using our class blogs, Twitter, Vine, education publications and through conversations with other aged children via Skype or Facetime.
What it really comes down to as a teacher is creating that SPARK because it enables them to continually learn, grow, and question the world they live in.
Teachers can do this by exposing students to a wide variety of topics. Different people find different things interesting—one reason to provide learners with a range of subject matter, in the hope that something will resonate.
That way we can ignite a child’s SPARK.
What’s the SPARK in your classroom?