The basic premise for all learning in our classroom is that we are working together towards creating a fully student-centred classroom. I strongly believe that students should have input into all levels of their learning. To me, engagement in the classroom is paramount. A bored student is a disengaged student and a disengaged student will have difficulty learning. We will work towards fostering an environment where students increasingly take charge of their own learning and become independent in guiding where their learning takes them. To this end, I see my role in the classroom not as an instructor but as a facilitator of learning. Because of this, you may notice differences in our classroom from previous years. Most notably:
- Students will be generally engaged in cross-curricular learning. We will rarely have separate periods for math, language, science, etc. As much as possible, learning from different curricular areas will be incorporated together.
- Learning will be inquiry based, meaning students will be the primary drivers of instruction, investigation, and learning. My job will be to challenge, promote curiosity, guide, provide ongoing feedback, and to provide a broad framework of learning according to the Ontario Curriculum. Much of what we do will be project-based. Much of our learning will take place through large-scale, ongoing projects that provide the framework for the study of various subject areas.
- We will work cooperatively to decide how we design, investigate, and structure our learning.
- Assessment of students will focus on the process rather than the product. In other words, although we will be creating a wide range of projects this year, assessment and evaluation of student learning will occur along the various stages of learning. Generally, students will not be assessed on the final products they create but instead on the learning they experience toward this end. Report card marks will reflect this growth in learning.
- Students will not receive fixed marks for learning. Instead, they will receive detailed, ongoing feedback from me and from their peers about the strengths in their learning and in the specific areas where they could improve. Aside from two times/year (when I have deadlines to submit report cards), students will have an ongoing opportunity to take existing work, revise it using feedback, and to resubmit. They can do this as many times as they wish.
- We will focus heavily on self-reflection, both through daily discussion and from more structured reflection times. The objective is to develop students that are more independent in their learning and more self-aware of areas of strength and need.
- Homework will not be assigned. The exception to this is when students make poor use of available time for their learning and need to catch up with missed work. If you have concerns in this area, please come and see me to discuss. I can direct you to some literature that explains why I do not believe in assigning homework.
I am committed to developing a learning environment that is open, stimulating, and respectful of each others’ learning needs and styles. I am committed to creating positive relationships with students and their families. I am committed to having fun in our classroom and to make school a positive experience for your child! Please know that my door is always open. Communication through email is encouraged (firstname.lastname@example.org).