During my long practicum at Heath Traditional Elementary, I was lucky enough to be a part of starting the Learning in Depth program with my Grade 4 class. All the intermediate classes were taking part as a trial to see if it would work for their students. My School Associate and I bent the LiD rules a little bit to fit our comfort zones (as anyone should since you know your classes and you should do what you feel is best for them!) and we assigned students their ‘Expert Topics’ as opposed to a random draw and then student choice. We took our students skill levels and chose topics we knew they would find early success in to avoid student discouragement.
Throughout my practicum I saw huge success in these students. They were reading about their topics, relating it to our current coursework and when we went to Science World? You should have seen them! They were so excited to find things that they could connect with. I found it, and still find it, very hard to NOT think of my students and their topics. I’m always seeing something that I know a student might find interesting. The kids do the same! They find things in books and sticky note them for their classmates when they’re away and show them their find when they return. It’s amazing how much they connect with their topics and each other.
I’ve drunk the inquiry and LiD “Kool-Aid” and am not turning back. Giving students time to really explore a topic any which way they want will tug on creativity, critical thinking, and complements your other curriculum like no other. Through this project students build skills of searching, sourcing, discovering, building, inquiring, wondering, questioning, – and the list goes on! I am always so excited when I get to TOC at Heath on Thursday’s (LiD mornings) and get the opportunity to see their progress and discoveries! It’s simply wonderful.