Design 2015: Transforming Teaching and Learning in 3rd Grade

Every year brings fresh learning experiences to the children we serve in Albemarle County Public Schools. This year, we are implementing Design 2015 projects in every school to support experiences that engage, challenge, and encourage questions and curiosity. Our educators want children to acquire, use and synthesize knowledge. We want to inspire our young people to work well together and find value in working with people who bring different skills and ideas to teams. We want learners to think critically and be able to analyze and solve problems.

Design 2015 Projects include renovations that allows use of cafeterias and other areas as multi-purpose project areas. Teachers are implementing project-based learning and helping students use interactive technologies to research, create multimedia projects, and accomplish independent learning. As educators develop and extend teaching skills that help contemporary learners, they are sharing their work with parents and colleagues.

Recently, a parent chatted with me about how much her child was enjoying learning this year in Ms. Karen Heathcock’s class at Broadus Wood Elementary. Ms. Heathcock, third grade teacher, blogs routinely about the work her students are accomplishing. I asked her if I could post one of her recent blogs about how the Design 2015 project work is impacting her classroom. Here’s her post:

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Transforming Practice

 Posted by Karen Heathcock on September 13, 2013

Fresh off our school’s Design 2015 work, I spent much of the summer reflecting on how the Lifelong Learner Standards and the Seven Pathways would truly inform my teaching philosophy and my daily practice. In the midst of lots of professional reading and exploration, it hit me. These were principles that weren’t going to INform my teaching, they were going to TRANSform my teaching.

heathcock1

Since then, I have committed to ensuring that every time my third grade students walk into the classroom, they are going to feel like they are walking into their future, not into my past. It doesn’t matter how I’ve taught something before, or how I learned it myself, or what I happen to have in my filing cabinet, I am going to provide my students with the experiences, the knowledge, the tools, and the confidence to master VA standards, of course; but more importantly, to pursue what interests them.

heathcock2

On the seventeenth day of school, my third graders are already on fire!

  • We’re finishing up films for the Young Filmmakers Academy that will be screened in November as part of the Virginia Film Festival.
  • We’re Quadblogging with a school in Australia and two schools in the UK – a program that has us sharing our work and learning about all that we have in common and all that makes us unique.
  • As part of our geography unit, we’re Mystery Skyping with other 3rd grade classrooms around the U.S. We use different kinds of maps and some very artful questioning skills to isolate the region, the state, and hopefully, the city of our mystery guest classroom.
  • We’re STEM-maniacs! Every Friday, we do an engineering design challenge that has us collaborating, creating, thinking, testing, tweaking, and troubleshooting. So far, we’ve designed hovercrafts, NASA-inspired Mars Rover landers, and 12 inch newspaper tables that can hold the weight of a textbook. Follow our hashtag on Twitter #STEMFri where we will share challenges and results with interested classes and experts.

heathcock3

  • We are diving headfirst into Twitter. We want to share our work, connect to experts, find peers in different cultures, and spread our excitement and enthusiasm around the world!

We work closely with our School Librarian (shout-out to Melissa Techman, @mtechman on Twitter) who is always full of fresh ideas and always willing to share her time to support us. She was recently featured in this Digital Shift article!

We would love to connect with any other classrooms who are interested in learning and growing together.

You can follow Karen Heathcock on twitter @karenheathcock . She blogs at:

http://teachers.k12albemarle.org/kheathcock/2013/09/13/transforming-practice/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Transforming Practice
Posted by Karen Heathcock on September 13, 2013
Fresh off our school’s Design 2015 work, I spent much of the summer reflecting on how the Lifelong Learner Standards and the Seven Pathways would truly inform my teaching philosophy and my daily practice. In the midst of lots of professional reading and exploration, it hit me. These were principles that weren’t going to INform my teaching, they were going to TRANSform my teaching.

Since then, I have committed to ensuring that every time my third grade students walk into the classroom, they are going to feel like they are walking into their future, not into my past. It doesn’t matter how I’ve taught something before, or how I learned it myself, or what I happen to have in my filing cabinet, I am going to provide my students with the experiences, the knowledge, the tools, and the confidence to master VA standards, of course; but more importantly, to pursue what interests them.

On the seventeenth day of school, my third graders are already on fire!

We’re finishing up films for the Young Filmmakers Academy that will be screened in November as part of the Virginia Film Festival.
We’re Quadblogging with a school in Australia and two schools in the UK – a program that has us sharing our work and learning about all that we have in common and all that makes us unique.
As part of our geography unit, we’re Mystery Skyping with other 3rd grade classrooms around the U.S. We use different kinds of maps and some very artful questioning skills to isolate the region, the state, and hopefully, the city of our mystery guest classroom.
We’re STEM-maniacs! Every Friday, we do an engineering design challenge that has us collaborating, creating, thinking, testing, tweaking, and troubleshooting. So far, we’ve designed hovercrafts, NASA-inspired Mars Rover landers, and 12 inch newspaper tables that can hold the weight of a textbook. Follow our hashtag on Twitter #STEMFri where we will share challenges and results with interested classes and experts.
We are diving headfirst into Twitter. We want to share our work, connect to experts, find peers in different cultures, and spread our excitement and enthusiasm around the world!
We work closely with our School Librarian (shout-out to Melissa Techman, @mtechman on Twitter) who is always full of fresh ideas and always willing to share her time to support us. She was recently featured in this Digital Shift article!
We would love to connect with any other classrooms who are interested in learning and growing together.