cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Foxtongue
When I was in grade 9, I always remember hearing about the cool project that you would do in Mr. Still’s grade 10 class that had to do with learning about war and peace around the world. In the project, you would become a fictitious country and each day you were given scenarios of what was happening around the world, then discuss with your group what you would do next. Each decision had a consequence, and could lead to more violence or peace. You also had to guess what the other countries would do in situations, and base your responses on these uncertainties. Our class made it 6 days before we went to an all out World War. I remember how excited I was about this project, how exhilarated I was during the process, and how it lead me to major in European History in university.
The next year, I anticipated Mr. Bellamy’s class project where you would create a product, and do all of the advertising for it to try and sell it to others. People would walk out of the class loving this experience, and I remember distinctly creating a new “shoe”, and the accompanying commercial with the release of the product (which had me dunking off of a trampoline which would probably not go over well in a school now in our litigious society!). This project, again, was one I looked forward to, loved doing, and led me to have a huge interest in media and advertising, even as an educator.
Both projects lived up to their billing and had some impact on what I do now. Although I am not in “sales” or a politician, both of these experiences show up in some capacity within my career and I am thankful for the opportunity to take part in these meaningful learning opportunities.
With that being said, I honestly do not remember much else about my time in high school in classrooms, outside of those projects. Of course I remember fun times with friends, playing sports, acting, etc., but I do not remember much about any other distint projects. Of course I had great teachers that made a huge impact, but these things stick out in my memory.
So when we look at our own classrooms, what do you think gets kids to wake up early in the morning, excited for what they are about to take part in during the day? We don’t often look enough at our classrooms as a place where students should want to be, and we treat them as a place they have to be. Every teacher should be, and hopefully goes into the profession to make a difference, not just “teach”.
So are you one of those teachers that has a classroom with these types of projects, or will it be an experience that kids soon will forget? In my opinion, these types of meaningful learning experiences (that took a lot of work yet were highly engaging) should be present in every classroom. This is where we go from “pockets of innovation”, to a “culture of innovation”.
What is the learning event(s) that kids look forward to in your classroom?
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