Basic Human Needs: Designing Meaningful Curriculum

I have recently been reading about professors who are examining injustices in their dissertations on water.  We have found classes at the college level that study the inequities of water availability around the world.  Water is in the news everyday. Considering these high level examinations of water gets me excited about the curriculum that my partner, Kristin, and I have worked hard to design surrounding basic human needs.  We have wrapped up our examination of food and we are currently looking at water around the world with our sixth grade students…asking questions, identifying problems, seeking solutions.
Each day we set up our day with a Global focus, a focus on the Western Hemisphere (as that is what sixth grade social studies examines), and we also look at our learning through a LOCAL lens.  As we study water, the global, western hemisphere and local focus feel almost effortless with the texts that we have at our fingertips.  Currently, here in Michigan, the Flint Water Crisis has our students abuzz.  We have seen it on the cover of Time Magazine, in national and local news and our students want to be talking about it with each other.

Last week students were challenged to take a look at some significant water statistics & to present their statistic via iMovie.  Each group wrote a script, imagined a way to get information disseminated creatively utilizing the new-to-us technology (recently acquired through a grant that the students had a voice in writing).
Student voice weaves its way into EVERYTHING that Kristin and I do inside the walls of our classroom.  The iMovies that were created were incredibly creative and the kids enjoyed critiquing themselves, complimenting other group’s movies and thinking about how they will improve upon their creations next time we have the opportunity to do something this way.

My first post of the new year feels busy. My thinking about students, their voice, our new technology implementation, our curriculum design, and teh story that we have been writing with our students as their sixth grade year unfolds leaves me feeling proud and challenged all at once.

Kristin recently posted about all of the testing.  We are doing testing and “using data” to drive instruction.  Some of this brilliance that we are capturing as students show their creativity, their curiosity, as they persevere in tasks such as developing and editing a movie despite challenges, as they talk passionately about injustices in this world…we haven’t quite figured out just how to measure these things yet.

Our hope is that as we develop our portfolios and help students prepare for their student led conferences, students will be able to tell their WHOLE story involving their brilliance as it is captured here in conjunction with the data which also holds POMS (we call the data, in discussion with students, only Part Of My Story…POMS).

-Proud, Reflecting Partner

Katie Bielecki

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