Learning In Depth
Mrs. Robertson and Mr. Woelders are excited to be starting an engaging project with our classes on Friday afternoons. The program is called “Learning in Depth” or LiD. The basic idea is that kids will be assigned a topic and seek to learn as much as they can about it between now and the end of the year. The purpose of this project is to give students the time and opportunity to “learn how to learn,” which is fundamentally the most important skill a 21st century student needs to develop.
In the “real world” people learn from and work with other people of different ages and abilities, and as such, Division 4 grade fours and fives will work on this project with Division 16 kindergarten and grade one students.
Some people might say that a random topic such as “tunnels” may not excite or engage a particular student. This might be somewhat true, but a topic like tunnels – once you start to learn deeply about them – could take you in a wide range of directions in your learning:
- How do animals make tunnels?
- How are tunnels engineered and designed?
- Where are the world’s largest tunnels?
- How do mining companies keep tunnels safe?
- Who built the first tunnel? Why?
- Who should pay for a new tunnel to Richmond?
- When is a tunnel better than a bridge?
The only thing limiting the student’s engagement is imagination. We believe that all topics are interesting, if you know enough about them. As students continue to learn about their topic, they will notice connections around them, in the news, or in their community for instance. We also believe that students of all ages can learn about any topic in a way that is appropriate for their age and maturity. The students will have control over how they learn and how they communicate their learning. All of these topics can be learned in ways that links with the new British Columbia K-9 curriculum because of its explicit focus on helping students develop the core competencies – essential skills that students need – thinking, communicating and learning to take responsibility for the learning they engage in.
As you can see from the quote above, people who are successful in all professions and trades keep learning on the job. They learn from people of all ages, they learn from others, they learn from the growing body of information on the web and other places where experts can be found, but most importantly – they learn deeply!
Your child will be given lots of guidance and support in building a portfolio of knowledge about his or her topic. It would fantastic if you encouraged them at home too, and asked questions or provide opportunities for your child to share their learning with you. The reality of the world we live in is that learning is no longer confined to the four walls of classroom. We will also provide support in the way of teaching students some crucial critical thinking skills using web-based research and communication tools.
The day to day learning will not be “graded” but students will be given lots of feedback about the research, communication and thinking skills needed for the learning. We will hold regular meetings with each child with the aim of helping them developing their portfolios. At the end of the year, in June, we plan to host a Learning Conference where students can design a presentation, in the format of their choosing, about what they learned this year.
Here’s some suggestions for how parents can support the learning:
- Ask questions and be willing to take interest in, and talk about the topic
- If possible, go on day trips to see or learn about the topic
- Talk to, email, connect with people who might be experts in the topic
- Create art, or write songs, poems, stories and reports about the topic
- Go to the library and find books about the topic
- Help your child to research online or find free information about the topic
- If you’re an expert in the topic, volunteer to come talk to our class to speak about your passion
Thanks for supporting the learning!