In my second grade classroom, teaching kids to become critical thinkers and to think globally are two of our biggest goals this year. We are currently studying about UNICEF and talking about how the organization helps poor children get what they need to survive. Instead of simply teaching these facts to them , we decided to let them undergo UNICEF kid agent training where they get to experience different problems of children around the world and create solutions for them. At the end of their training, they will visit an indigenous tribe village in our community to find out if tribal children are getting everything they need to survive. They will look at their water source, shelter, food and education. All of our students are taking this unit to heart and we really encourage them to believe that they too, in their own little way, can become agents of change.
Achieving 100% full faculty support on this type of learning might take a while. A lot of teachers are still stuck in the “teaching to the test” mentality. There are a couple of things that, in my opinion, might be able to help support this type of learning :
1. Meaningful teacher collaboration – Having teachers really sit down on a regular basis to plan out units and find ways to integrate subject areas.
2. Professional Development for teachers to achieve their learning goals – it can be as informal as having coffee break talks, watching TED talks and reflecting together, doing a book club , or holding monthly meetings with colleagues to update.
3. Curriculum Planning – Updating and reflecting on UbD units of study.
4. Supportive Administration who will allow teachers to let students realize that what they do in school matters now.
As a member of my learning community, I can see myself pioneering informal professional development opportunities for my colleagues. At the same time, I see myself continuously providing my second graders a venue for discovering their talents, creating new possibilities and sharing their work to the world.
Thanks and have a great day !