Oh hey guys! Check it out! Ceb is not writing his blog 2 hours before the deadline this week (but he is posting it then :P)! What will he talk about? Read on to find out!
So last week, I wrote about the Expeditionary Learning model. In response to that post, I was asked the question, “ How do you see the structure of the school and the Expeditions impacting your teaching in the future? What are some best practices that you can incorporate into your classroom?” I intend for this blog post to be a response to this prompt.
The structure of the school, WOIS, is built on many of the same ideals that are expressed in GRS. There is a shared vision among the administrators, teachers, parents, and other staff. This vision looks to see students to become self-reflecting life-long learners who are able to apply inquiry practices in their everyday lives. For this vision to be realized there is a larger requirement for staff to collaborate with one another. At least once a week, the core 7thgrade teachers have a group meeting to discuss student success and upcoming events including Expedition-related excursions. These meetings also help reinforce what the goals of the team are, realigning the vision of the team. Developing a shared vocabulary that is modeled throughout each class (words like “reflection”, “noticing”, “wondering”) get students prepared and better used to certain practices with less scaffolding, allowing more time for the inquiry.
While I can’t fully control where I find a job, it would be nice to work at a school where inquiry practices are utilized across disciplines and where opportunities for collaboration between teachers are supported by the administration. It really helps cultivate a school culture of learning and growth between staff which can be modeled to students. Even in the case where I would be in a school without a shared vision, and everyone was doing their own thing, I would try to develop relationships with between co-workers in the same grade level so we could show the connections of content between subjects.
The Expeditions performed at EL schools are interdisciplinary in nature. Students attack an essential question from multiple angles, with planned experiences that are meant to help students develop a response to it. These planned experiences make use of community resources like local colleges as well as guest speakers to have students see content they have been learning in school in different contexts. Since Expeditions are planned grade level wise, it isn’t up to just a single teacher to plan and implement these experiences. But it is up to each content teacher to figure out how to best to make connections between those experiences and their curriculum and how to get that across to the students.
I could probably come up with some more practices and ideas that I have seen at 58 School, which I will add on to this post if I think it up. I hope it was a useful read!