In May of 2014, I was informed that my district position supporting teachers was eliminated from the district budget and that I would be returning to the classroom. I applied to a local school and was successful receiving a Grade 6/7 combined class.
I have worked for the last 10 years at the district level supporting the integration of technology; however, it was really not about technology. I worked supporting my colleagues in their professional growth through various inquiry opportunities. The previous three years I supported an Innovative Learning Designs project where school teams applied to create an inquiry based learning project that also included technology support from the district.
As I have not had my own classroom (except in 4 summer school classes) over the last ten years, I have decided to go in fresh with a totally new mindset. My classroom will be inquiry based to the extreme. To allow the mindshift for myself and those around me to become practice, I will be doing eight to ten inquiry-based projects over the year. These will be fully integrated and I will avoid teaching any linear subjects.
A shout out to Sean Robinson (@sr_tutor) from Coquitlam BC. He shared with me last August he plan to teach entirely project based for his next school year. He planned to cut every PLO and place them into a project.
Taking Sean’s idea, I have started with the following big ideas and questions for my year plan. (still in rough draft)
|Title||Big Idea||Essential Questions||Guiding Questions|
|Who Am I
|Cultural Identity||Is Canada the best place to live on earth?||What is cultural identity?
How do we assess culture / value?
What is Canada’s history?
How has Canada changed over the last several hundred years?
|Finding a Hero
|Heroes encourage us to do good||What makes or defines a hero?||Who are heroes of this generation?
Why are we drawn to heroes?
How would the world change without heroes?
|We contribute to make the world better||How are needs (beyond our possible) identified and resolved?||What is the United Nations?
What is the Red Cross/Crescent?
Who are local aid providers and what do they provide?
|Where are the salmon?
|Salmon have been and still are critical to British Columbia||How would BC be different without salmon (focus on Fraser River)||What role does salmon have?
What has happened to salmon use / stocks?
How could we cope if all the Fraser River salmon died?
|Inventions in History
|Inventions are iterative and necessary||How have previous inventions affected us today? What new inventions are needed?||What is MoonShot thinking?
How has the desire to live longer (heal the body) impacted inventions?
|We have obligations to the human race||Who needs help and what does help look like?||To what extent are we responsible in Canada to help? – our poor, world’s poor, the oppressed
What is the best form of help?
|Inter-connectedness||How do our actions echo out?
How do we survive?
|What are basic needs for survival? (people, skills, resources, health)
How does human / natural survival differ?
Now the even harder work of building out my ideas to daily and weekly guides to ensure that my students have the best possible learning experience this next year.
A shout out to Chris Walton (@ipadtestkitchen) who has pushed me to blog, vlog, tweet about my own learning journey over the year. I think my overall question is along the lines of, “How do I build an inquiry / challenge / project / problem based classroom that can be a model for others to follow?”
Join me in this journey both here via blog and my youtube channel