Student Centered Learning and Literacy
In my studio and classroom, I value:
Allowing students some elements of choice (content, process, product) while also targeting specific areas of need for individual students (sometimes deciding what a student needs to focus on). For example, students choose what songs to learn, presenting their research via poster, video or PowerPoint, or solving open-ended math questions with different manipulatives.
Providing assisting technologies to help students reduce the barriers to learn and communicate more independently. For example, using Boogie Boards to spell, iPad apps to practice math, or Google Jamboard to sort spelling words.
Helping students develop and use digital citizenship skills as they learn with technology. For example, discussing appropriate language to use when commenting on peers' work, and developing critical thinking skills when consuming digital media and news.
Helping students monitor their own learning by:
Giving them meaningful and timely feedback on their learning and how to improve
Teach them to set goals and track their progress
Teach them self-assessment and peer-assessment practices
Creating a kind and supportive learning atmosphere while at the same time expecting students to achieve as highly as they can. For example, using inclusive language and literature that celebrates minorities, and learning from indigenous elders together. Having a strong connection between school, home, and community helps students know they are supported.
(adapted from Danny Maas, 2018)
Listen here to my interview based around "Love is Love" by Dr. Michael Genhart.
Numeracy and Technology
In my homerooms and my music classes, we dabble in coding. Scratch has the musical alphabet built in to its sound library! These three images are just some ways I have learned to connect math, Social, technology and music. There is so much math in music, so often my rehearsal reinforce fractions, counting, and pattern recognition. We know that musical traditions around the world vary, but it's important to give students a point of reference - cue Google Earth! When I was teaching online throughout 2020, my students mastered the use of the Google Suite, and I recorded a ton of videos!
Before students begin any work, we discuss as a class the age old questions:
"Does spelling count?"
"Is this for marks?"
The answers to these questions depend if I (the teacher) am forming an understanding of the student's learning process or evaluating a snapshot of their work. I want to make sure that either I give feedback to improve their work or give a grade that makes sense.
In order for the grade to make sense, the students help me create my marking rubric. This increases their understanding of my expectations, and builds in them the capacity to self-assess. From there I can introduce the assignment. Once they complete it, I will look at their submissions (print or online) and compare it to the rubric. My goal is to always write comments that are emotionally correct and invoke deeper thinking on the part of the student. My rubrics follow my school's guide to convert percentages into letter grades.
No matter what classroom I'm in, I want to help students gain the skills they need to care for themselves and others. We do breathing exercises, energetic stretches, dancing, colouring, and vocabulary building. Talking about mental health is a life-long conversation! My singing bowl is a favorite among students.