Kia ora from Ladner, Delta! Suzi Gould (@SuziGould2) and Becc Sweeney (@beccasweeney) are Live Blogging and Tweeting from Ladner and Vancouver about learning innovations we come across as we engage with BC educators over the next ten days.
Our main purpose while here is to bring Catalyst: the collaborative inquiry game to the Network of Innovation and Inquiry (NOII) Symposium. We introduced Catalyst to Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert during its development and they recommended that we play with a focus group of the leaders/teachers who they work with.
We are very gratefully being hosted by these Catalyst focus group players, and incredibly generous women, who work to support and mentor Delta, BC educators through the Delta School District:
Claire D’Aoust – Coordinator of Primary Learning, Delta Manor Education Centre
Brooke Moore – District Principal of Inquiry and Innovation (Delta School District #37)
Tashi Kirincic – Coordinator of Teacher Mentorship, Delta Manor Education Centre
Farm Roots is a mini-school trial focused on providing learners with an alternative style of learning that uses a project-based approach to learning. Farm Roots is specifically designed around learning the curriculum through an agricultural lens as many learners in the Ladner area are from families working in this industry.
Brooke Moore, District Principal of Inquiry and Innovation (Delta School District #37) has led the implementation of Farm Roots in Delta over the past year. We loved listening in on her conversations with two learners, Georgia and Brooke, as she asked them about the impact of Farm Roots on their learning over the past year:
“In this school we might experiment or go outside and do what we actually talked about. We don’t forget what we learn” – Georgia
“We want teachers to know that this way we learn a lot more. We enjoy it more. We are not in the classroom all day long. – Georgia
The learning at Farm Roots is visible at the school. Their learning plans can be seen transformed into actual gardens as we explored Farm Roots.
Learning is also visible beyond the school. For example, the Grade 12 learners studied global water systems and ended up presenting their learning to local government. Their learning foci ranged across:
- sustainable farming
- policy recommendations
- personal learning they had achieved on the farm
- levels of bureaucracy in relation to applying for permits (for example)
- farming business models.
Other learners investigated ways to deal with a First Nations archaeological site that they discovered when preparing land at the school for farming. They ended up working with local government and archaeologists to establish protocols for further digging.
The secondary teachers in this project are learning a lot about differentiated learning and teaching, and about how practical application of learning can transfer to grades without putting grades first. You can see videos of what people are saying about Farm Roots here (including what learners are saying).
- How can project based learning address engagement and achievement challenges that we face in our regular state schools?
- How can we learn from pilot projects like the above and transfer the pedagogical findings into all school or kura contexts?
- What can we do right now to make learning more active, relevant and memorable for our learners?
Online courses: Inquiry Approaches