Teaching Teams are getting together this week to design meaningful, authentic learning opportunities for their students. Our focus this year, and every school year, at Greystone is to deepen our understanding of how to engage our learners through the Inquiry process. Our teachers are all on the journey of learning how to create curiosity among their students by thoughtfully designing projects that will ignite the students’ passion for learning. Certainly not an easy task given the nature of young adolescents, who are often distracted by numerous other things going on in their lives.
I was able to spend a little time with one of our teaching teams yesterday, as they met together for the morning to chart the course for their upcoming learning around Sky Science. I listened to them question each other about the value of learning tasks, demonstrations of understanding and how they would weave ongoing assessment throughout the tasks. Teachers pulled out their curriculum documents and debated about the key understandings that would be uncovered by the careful design of learning tasks. While teachers were planning, they continued to refer to the Inquiry Planning Template that had been shared with us at our last Professional Development Day by Neil Stephenson, from the Calgary Science School. This template set out criteria for them to consider in order to make the learning as authentic, purposeful and engaging as possible. The teachers decided that they would include experts from NASA as part of their work and that students would develop questions for these experts to guide their research. Teachers also discussed how they might provide students with time to explore and discover the phases of the moon as opposed to simply feeding the information to them.
What I liked best? The teachers collaborated as thoughtful reflective professionals who were not simply following instructions from a guidebook. This teaching team took the time provided to them to critically analyze the curriculum outcomes and to design learning that is worthy of their students’ time. Go Team!!!