Friday, October 02, 2009


I've had two experiences in my Socials 10 classes in the last week that have refreshed my perspective and reminded me of how important a role student inquiry plays in meaningful learning.

1) I was talking about generational differences and used my parents/their grandparents as examples. I asked a few student to volunteer evidence and soon everyone was turning to a neighbour and chatting. I was about to enter "teacher-mode" and get everyone to shut up so I could move on to my next point when I realized they were doing exactly what they should... making connections between curriculum and identity, between suggested learning and prior knowledge... they were, literally every one of them, swapping stories from their family about heritage skills, traditions, history. I stopped my "interference" and walked away for a few minutes.

2) I tried a "pioneer experience" role-play in class and the students went wild with it... they're 2 hours into it now and are still enthusiastic about making deals, banding together, selling off their children, trading a plough for 5 muskets, swapping blacksmithing for cobbling. etc. Both classes would have kept this up for days. Chaos, noise, no props at all, just imagination and conversation and pretty much everyone is "on task" with making connections between curriculum and identity. A wealth of unexpected and powerful outcomes. A real treat from a generation that is stereotyped as lacking imagination and having no attention span.

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