Over the past two years, I have been working with my team at Bushland to develop a deeper learning atmosphere for the students in our classrooms. We have spent many hours planning together to provide lessons that engage the whole student in an enthusiastic way, helping them to become expert learners. If you notice in many of my posts, I am moving away from the worksheet/assessment lessons, and toward teaching language skills where my students are demonstrating what they have learned through application and creation of the newly acquired knowledge across the curriculum.
I recently read an article titled Deeper Learning: Why Cross-Curricular Teaching is Essential. This excerpt stood out to me, as I am looking to delve even deeper this next year with my team and all that we are teaching.
"In order for all this to happen in a sustainable way in our schools, deeper learning requires that groups of teachers pool their talents, resources, time, and efforts to maximize coherence, relevance, and connections among the content areas. After years of sipping knowledge, getting students to deeply learn is a daunting challenge. It is hard to get students to drink knowledge deeply or drink at all if they are rarely thirsty. Parched minds become satisfied with minimum learning expectations and some, especially as they approach middle and high school, begin to believe that school cannot quench their thirst as well as other societal options. Working together, teachers can help students re-acquire the thirst for knowledge they were born with. The task of all educator teams is therefore two-fold: provide a rich, rigorous, and relevant flow of knowledge and skills, and then find a way to lead the students to this water and then make them thirsty enough to drink deeply."
Collaborating one lesson at a time, that is what we are working toward in 6th grade! Here is a sample of our latest project on planets. My students wrote an informative paragraph in my class from the research that they did on their planet in science. We then added in a Fun Friday water coloring activity to pair with their final copy!