Education should be Exciting!

I know it may sound like an obvious point, but education can and should be exciting. This past week, my Gr. 5/6 teacher and I visited the Beyond the Classroom program in Kingston, ON as a follow up to the pilot project we’re aiming to implement next year.  For those who may not have read the genesis of this program, it’s pasted below.

Learning outside the Classroom 5 days at a time

Since that blog was first published, we’ve made contact and received some positive interest from Sick Kids Hospital, Young People’s Theatre, the Toronto Zoo, Queen’s Park, City Council and Pearson Airport. We have been met with gracious regrets from the TTC (still going to revisit that one) and Daily Bread Foodbank, and are still in holding pattern from MLSE, The Blue Jays, Toronto Argonauts, CBC and The Toronto Star. With each day, new potential locations come to us such as St. Michael’s Cathedral, The Toronto Police Force, Rouge Park, Variety Village and any restaurant that would take us on!

We’re ready for the next stage of Beyond the Classroom (and yes the name is the first improvement which we borrowed from the Kingston program we visited!). We also were able to take their planning template and adapt it to suit our program.

At this point, we’ve developed our template as follows:

  1. Each month we will be spending four days at one off site location
  1. Our project will include the following: observations; journaling; honing in on the Catholic Graduate Expectation of Creative, Reflective and Holistic thinkers; finding real life Math connections at each location; and final presentations that delve deeply into a personal inquiry question connected to the specific organization.
  1. Our detailed planning template is pasted below (please take a look as it provides the key organizational pieces of the program)

beyond the class template

Our  next steps include finalizing our organization list and providing a tentative idea of what we would like the expert speakers to cover. Some initial thoughts are below. Please bear in mind that like all good inquiries, we can’t really plan in advance. The questions and direction will be determined by students’ interests. What’s below are just some initial suggested ideas.

Sick Kids HospitalConsidering what is needed for an effective hospital system.

Guest speakers on the following topics

  1. Budget
  2. Research and Development
  3. Role and thoughts of the Health Care Professionals
  4. Empathy as it pertains to the day to day job
  5. How the facility was built in a way that is so different from other hospitals
  6. Nutrition and dietary concerns

 Toronto Zoo – How do plants/animals contribute to our well being?

Guest speakers on the following topics

  1. Animal Care
  2. Research and Development
  3. Building of the Facility
  4. Conservation efforts

 Young People’s Theatre – How does theatre open our minds to new experiences?

  1. Casting
  2. Script Writing
  3. Lights/Sound
  4. Costuming
  5. Advertising
  6. Staging
  7. Budgeting

Pearson Airport – How has flight changed our world?

  1. Baggage
  2. Pilot on Flight principles
  3. Customs
  4. Security
  5. Weather related concerns

 TTC – How does transportation keep a city moving?

  1. Budget
  2. Hub centre for transit tracking
  3. planning

Government – What impact does Government have on our daily lives?

  1. What makes an issue relevant to government?
  2. What goes into an election campaign?
  3. How can we get the government to listen to issues of importance to us?

 Media (CBC/CTV/City TV/Globe and Mail/Toronto Star) – How does the media determine what makes a newsworthy story?

  1. Story chasing
  2. Story editing
  3. Production
  4. Editing
  5. The challenges of print journalism and tv journalism in an online world.

Like any true inquiry, our pilot project is a project in transition and with that in mind, for any who follow this blog, you will likely receive notifications in the upcoming days, weeks and months of a revised post – consider it my mind in motion (which yes can be a scary thing). Mostly though, we are feeling a sense of excitement for what is to follow. For those reading this, if you can think of sites where a 4 day program might incite learning, or better yet if you have any connections at one of those sites, please share your wisdom and contacts.

An exciting journey lies ahead, and that’s exactly what an educational journey should be!

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2 thoughts on “Education should be Exciting!

  1. Pingback: The Principal Teacher needs his own Classroom! | Inquiring Minds = Life-Long Learners

  2. Pingback: The Principal Teacher needs his own classroom! | connect2innovate

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