Sunday, November 26, 2006

Exemplary Scaffolding for Active, Engaged Learning!!

From grade one to high school, exemplary pockets of extraordinary scaffolding for active, engaged learning validate my belief that accountability, sound pedagogy, and innovation can work to serve our children well. I'd like to celebrate four instances and know there are many more!

The Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia

"We've been given the task of reimagining the core curriculum in Philadelphia. We're mapping our curriculum to have the same set of skills and content as the School District of Philadelphia, mapping back to them and to the state standards in our staff development meetings. We certainly believe that we won't be short-changing our kids come PSSA time." From Chris Lehman
And there are no scripted lessons, in fact, inquiry based learning rules at SLA (Science Leadership Academy)! I've followed the birth of SLA on Chris' blog. What an incredible adventure! What possibilities abound! I look forward to hearing more as the year progresses.

Darren Kuropatwa's calculus classes, Winnipeg
"In the course of my recent research and learning about assessment, the idea of making success criteria transparent is emphasized again and again. I want my students to succeed. As a class our goal is for everyone to achieve between 80% and 100%. I have structured my assessments (above) so that students can achieve, with a reasonable amount of effort, marks in the high 80s. ... I spent a lot of time discussing with the students what excellence looks like. I showed examples of past students work." From Darren

I can recall a teacher in a local high school who told his students that his goal was to fail 50% of the class and he did. The students were discouraged and dismayed, and I was incredulous! I couldn't imagine such an attitude was tolerated by the administration. Not only does Darren want his students to succeed, he provides a clear explanation of the criteria for excellence AND his students have a voice in that criteria. How can youngsters not succeed! Imagine what they can learn as they internalize the criteria of "excellence". In addition, Darren encourages creativity in math with a digital story! Now I'm really math illiterate, despite my dad's best efforts (he was a mechanical engineer) and can't help but think that had I had a clear picture of excellence in math and the opportunity to create such a project, I would have an entirely different outlook on this subject.

Teacher C at Blogical Minds
"I think you can take these writings and really turn them into some masterpieces. Are you ready to put your shoulder to the wheel? Want to make them worthy of all that outstanding photographic work which Chris so graciously shared with us? That’s my challenge to you. Do you accept? This part can be fun because we can all put our heads together and help each other. Plus you have a head start with all the comments you have received from your readers!" From Teacher C

The Blogicians had just finished their first blogged photo stories. Can you imagine being in 5th grade and reading that wonderfully warm, encouraging challenge to improve your writing? And Teacher C's creativity abounds as she provides each student with a podcast of their story so they can hear their writing!! No bubbles to fill, or red marks to read -- encouraging excellence and the joy of writing and suggesting they can help each other. Now that's an environment in which I'd like to learn!

Kathy Cassidy's grade one, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
"Today we spent some time talking about the things that we needed to learn in math this year, and the things that we had already learned. We now have a chart in our classroom that we can look at to check our progress." From Kathy
Student podcasts follow that blog post. To hear those little ones share what they have learned and what they planned to learn, setting goals in a way so appropriate to them and sharing those goals with all of us is a real joy! And there is more! The students are wanting to know what 1000 is; Kathy's number sense pedagogy is incredible!! They are collecting 1000 names on a wiki!! I just know they will reach a 1000.

Innovative, sound pedagogy that scaffolds engaging learning experiences that ensure excellence! Well done!!

1 comment:

jfccrunner said...


Thank you so much for all your encouraging comments on my blog. They are definitely a great source of inspiration to keep blogging AND to get excited about the profession I've chosen!

And, the collection of engaging activities that you shared in your blog was wonderful! What great examples of how learning really can be fun!:)