Things have been rather busy lately, as you can see by my lack of blogging. There has been so much going on at home and at work. I have so much to share, but very little time to do so.
I would like to tell you about a project with which two of our grade 5 classes have been involved. It is called: Ingreenious Inventions (click to visit the wiki).
Two of our Grade 5 classes, in Surrey, BC, Canada (1), are doing this project with two Grade 5/6 classes in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, U.S.A. (2). Take a look at the map below and you will see the locations of our two schools.
I was in one of the classrooms when the groups of students first met each other via Skype. To say it was powerful learning by all, would be an understatement. There they were 8 teams of students at each school waiting to “meet” their respective team in the other school. Each team took turns getting in front of the camera to ask questions of and answer questions from each other.
One of the questions which stood out for me was, “What do you hope to gain from doing this project together?”
Most of the teams from Bear Creek said things like,
“We look forward to meeting new people.”
“We look forward to learning about another country.”
“We look forward to learning more 21st Century skills like problem solving and critical thinking.”
“We look forward to collaborating with you to learn how to come up with creative solutions to our problems.”
If you compare the two responses, you can definitely tell there is a real difference in where the students are coming from. This is what makes this project so exciting for all of us – we, and our students, are going to learn so much throughout this process. We are going to learn things we have not yet learned, or even felt was important to learn.
Another thing that stood out for me during the introductions was the ease at which the students (and teachers) were conversing. It was clear, through the answers to the questions, that they were interested in each other, had things in common, and were building relationships, as a result. Again, this is so powerful!
As one of the Grade 5 teachers pointed out as she reflected upon this experience thus far,
“This [experience] is changing my teaching. This is transforming not only the way I teach Science, but the way I teach everything.”
You can’t get much more powerful than that. What an incredible learning opportunity for everyone – students and teachers alike. I look forward to watching this learning evolve throughout the project.
I am so proud of these teachers stepping out of their comfort zone and taking a risk in their learning. This is what it is to be a teacher – a life-long learner who is willing to take risks and learn from others (including students).
Do you have experience with this type of transformational learning experience?
Tell me about it.