An Assignment or a Memorable Learning Experience?

“What if assignments were rebranded as memorable learning experiences?” @mssackstein

I came upon this quote during my daily Twitter scroll and immediately wished that I had found it prior to crafting our interview questions.  It would have been an effective way to allow candidates to showcase their innovative thinking and current pedagogical practices.  I am constantly drawn to the notion of re-thinking, re-envisioning, and re-inventing, not only our thinking about concepts but about how we go about shifting our practice.  For those of us who are curious, the more we learn about something it seems that it naturally leads us to change.  I’m also a firm believer in the notion that words matter. When we intentionally reference the tasks that students complete as “memorable”, it creates the conditions for us to think beyond the low engagement fill-in-the-blanks work sheets. It becomes incumbent upon the educator to attach something emotional to the task ~ whether it occurs during the presentation or as the student works through the task.   Emotional connection can range from humour to sadness and everything in between.  As educators shift from assigning assignments to creating a learning experience, there is so much more that is expected. Often the completion of an assignment involves students retelling (regurgitating) information. The educator is looking for the “right” answer.  Yet, when students are involved in a learning experiences, that means that students are learning something brand new, something that they did not know before or something that they had never thought of before.  An experience in and of itself makes the activity memorable.   Immersing students in choice and allowing their voice to shine through creates an experience ~ one that will undoubtedly help to solidify new learning.

One of the positives of online learning has been that students are demonstrating their ability to create memorable learning experiences by the shear fact that they are at home and for the most part have access to materials that they may not have when at school. (I realize that for some families the opposite is true ~ as materials at home are sparse).   The props from kitchens, bedrooms and family rooms have been both funny and memorable.

As a admin team we have tried to make some of the learning experiences of our students, who are working online, memorable by donning our dramatic hats and portraying stories that connect to curriculum expectations. Our outstanding and amazing TL, Danielle Cadieux wrote a short story to share the importance of insects in the lives of plants.   With her amazing technology skills, my admin partner and I were magically transported into the story.   I can’t help but wonder if our “film” may help solidify those curriculum expectations more solidly than just reading the same text.

As an educator share a memorable learning experience that your students have participated in.

Come write with me…..