Well, that went by really fast. I can’t believe that I am already planning the final project of my Coetail journey. Without further ado, here is the rationale for my project.
Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?
I chose the Creative Minds unit from my Grade 6 English-Humanities class for this project. First, this is the next unit coming up and the first one of Semester 2, which fits nicely with Course 5. This unit is one that has not seen many changes over the years since our efforts during curriculum review time have focused on other units. The unit was very much teacher-directed and self-contained in the classroom. Since the context of the unit is scientific and technological innovation propelled by human ingenuity, I thought this naturally lent itself to open the classroom to the world, connecting with other people who are currently working on innovations and can offer a real-world perspective on the Statement of Inquiry. The heart of the unit remains the same as the Statement of Inquiry has not changed. However, the whole structure of the unit has been modified to allow deep inquiry into the concepts through a balance of teacher- and self-directed learning in the framework of a project, aided by various interactions with experts and other classes.
What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?
I have two main concerns. My first concern is making work the two connections that we have booked through the Microsoft Educator Community (one virtual field trip and a guest speaker) despite our time differences. I have already been in touch with the guest expert (Rajeev Massand) and he is very open to making it work, and he will be happy to connect asynchronously via Flipgrid if we can’t arrange a mutually convenient time for a Skype call. I just recently requested the field trip and have not heard from them yet. However, the time I wanted for the trip was available in their schedule, so I am hoping we can go ahead with the plan. My other concern is the number of resources that I will have to secure before the unit starts to set up the different activities, as most of them are new. Some of the resources from the original unit can be reused, but I will have to find more websites, videos, infographics, and podcasts that discuss recent inventions and innovations.
What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
The biggest shift in pedagogy is incorporating a lot more voice, choice and ownership in the whole learning process. One of my professional goals this year is to make a concerted effort to honour student agency, so this was at the forefront when I was redesigning the unit. In this way, the students will self-select the Statements of Inquiry, the focus of their project, the medium to present at the end of the unit, and during weeks 5 and 6, they will choose their schedule within a previously agreed framework.
What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?
As mentioned before, students will have a lot of decision-making power in this unit, which in turn demands accountability and self-management skills. I will be supporting the students and facilitating their learning, but students need to embrace a growth mindset and a sense of purpose for their own learning. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the students will respond to this unit.
Please see below the unit plan, or follow this link for the full file.