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# Student Focused Teaching and Learning

by

## Ann Smith

on 28 August 2012

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#### Transcript of Student Focused Teaching and Learning

Each month, we walk to Burnt Bridge Creek near our school and test the quality of the water.
This is the 13th year of a project that has so powerfully impacted student learning. Burnt Bridge Creek
Water Quality Monitoring Project Off we go....
rain
or shine
or... Pi Day 2011 Pi Day is a celebration of mathematics! We created a chain of digits of Pi by using strips of colored paper. Each number of digit is a specific color, for example 3 is blue. Every time the digit 3 shows up in the sequence of digits a blue strip was used to represent it. Pi is the relationship or ratio of circumference to diameter in any circle. Pi is a never ending divison problem...it has no repeating pattern. Pi is IRRATIONAL! We created a chain of 1,470 digits of Pi! We celebrated with lots of deliciously round treats. In order to devour them, we had to calculate the circumference and area of the circular treat by using the diameter. It was challenging, but delicious, and made the process really stick in our heads. We, scientists, write descriptions and sketch pictures of plants, animals, and the surrounding landscape. We get our boots wet measuring temperature, depth, width, and speed.
We test for chemical levels in the water -
phosophates & nitrates, dissolved oxygen, and pH. collecting garbage Over the years, significant amounts of garbage have been removed from the creek itself and along its banks. We students have collected some unusual things. Our day begins with a greeting and a pose! How healthy is the stream? Ask the macros! This is “real” science
and supports our understanding and
application of the
scientific process. I believe in “living” the past through the words of those who experienced it!
I believe in maintaining a rigorous pace and exploring infinite opportunities.
I believe in accessing imagination and encouraging creativity.
I believe in building relationships and modeling stewardship and service to others.
I believe learning experiences must be challenging, thought-provoking,
memorable, and authentically engaging!
When learning is personalized in this way, it impacts the learner on an emotional level
and has the potential to positively affect the student’s life, forever! In December and January, we move forward in time and study the Civil Rights Movement. We perform for the school in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other “dreamers” who made a difference. We read primary source documents, speeches, novels, nonfiction resource books, newspaper articles, and poetry related to human rights from WWI to the present. We start the school year with the Renaissance period and the “Age of Exploration.” We study literature, art, invention, technology, politics, religion, and culture. We create our own kingdom and host a Renaissance Faire complete with costumes sewed by the students, handmade items that are traded in the marketplace, and a “feast” that is prepared by the characters. Students perform music and dances from the period, recite sonnets and poems, and dramatize Shakespearean plays. Then it’s back to the 17th and 18th century, looking at indentured servitutude, the introduction of slavery to America, and discovering the origins of the thirteen colonies. Our spring is a journey chronologically through the events leading to and culminating in the Revolutionary War and the creation of the Constitution. We create characters based on research and respond to historical events as they occur. We are Smith's Pride...
a group of people with a passion for learning - who are excited everyday to work together to become something greater than we could be by ourselves! snow?!?!? Capturing, sorting, and counting macroinvertebrates is one of our favorite parts of our visit to the creek each month.
Macros intolerant to pollution are what we are hoping to find...like mayfly and caddisfly larvae. You could say we were slaves to mathematics! February and March we prepare!
Math is Cool Competition!
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