Classrooms of inspiration live by student involvement, sprouting partial ideas, and working together to render excellence for projects that help make the world better — or maybe just make the classroom better.
That climate is rendered by a teacher willing to give students agency — the belief in student abilities to work out their own solutions. It’s a climate filled with creation rather than compliance.
Project-based, inquiry learning allows students to take control of the curriculum in ways that the standards and targets are met in different ways by different students, depending on how the students choose their path to solutions. Good sources for project-based learning are found at the Buck Institute for Education [BIE]. For projects based on immigration: see here.
Another way to think about classroom curriculum is to create the environment for students to experience the learning targets and discuss their learning in a constructivist way. Seymour Papert explains this here. A simple way to say this is:
“The good way to learn is to use it now.” Seymour Papert
A basic example in the language arts class can occur for teaching simile. Read this book to students of any age: Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Woods. After enjoying the book, reread the text and discuss how the author uses word choice to create meaning. And discuss the format of the sentences using that word choice to create meaning. Students soon can write their own, explaining their comparison, meaning, word choice, and grammar [like/as] to create their vivid descriptions. Students use the book to use their own language to learn by doing, and then learn the name for this figurative language: simile.
Another way to inspire classroom climate and learning is to use music. I just discovered this from Amy Cody Clancy today which provides suggested music for different content and context: Songs To Use For History / Literature.
Another way to include music is to find music related to students’ lives. My teaching career lived in a Native American community, and we were lucky enough to have our own celebrity, the late Jim Boyd, Colville Tribal Chairman and role model for our students. He is so missed for his leadership, his community actions, and his music.
Here is one of my favorite songs [I think I have all of his music] — which can inspire many discussions and help build relationships.
What inspires your life and work?
Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today – Word Art