Thursday, 9 August 2012
What is a project? Curriculum perspective
Where is the project coming from? Is it something that the children have shown an interest in? Is it a requirement?
Why do you think this is an important project for the children?
A project encompasses core values, key competencies, habits of mind, building learning power skills etc A project's underlying objectives is to teach the children how to learn.
A project may challenge you as a teacher to let go of your pre-conceived ideas about where a project should be heading. Sometimes you have to let go of initial ideas that you had about a project.
My projects are not planned out from the beginning to the end. My project planning is a living document.
Some projects I have not known what the main curriculum focus would be because in the initial sates of the project I was still gathering information about the children's ideas and theories. One particular project that was sparked by the children's interest in butterflies could have a been a Science - living world project, however I discovered that most of the children already had a good understanding of the life cycle of a butterfly. My curriculum focus then became a Technology focus, with a minor focus on the life cycle.
Other projects like one that was sparked by our school show, had a clear arts focus from the start. However it did have a minor focus on social studies and geography as the children showed an interest in countries from around the world, maps, and atlases.
Being open to the possibilities is key for me - letting go of 'this is the way we have always done it'. I don't keep any unit plans from previous projects because each project is unique to the group of children I am working with at a particular point in time. There is documentation of the project (something I will talk about later) but I have moved away from replicating the same learning experiences year in and out.
Another big change inspired by this philosophy, has been not to teach themes for example it is autumn so we are all going to learn about autumn. I do still embrace these sorts of 'world around us' topics but the way the topics emerge is so different each year.
"Each individual can thus not only learn how to learn, but also become aware of the value of learning as a quality of life itself, in order to organise and multiply the learning opportunities as well as enjoy them and find pleasure in learning together with others." Carla Rinaldi