As a Political Science graduate of Acadia University, I never really thought I would be applying what I learned in my 4 or so years to my middle school teaching practice.
Yet, here I am, nearly 10 years later, embarking on my third election journey with my students and let me tell you, it is awesome.
Thanks to the amazing free resources offered by CIVIX, my students are not only adding to their learning of the Canadian Government stemming for the Grade 5 curriculum but they are embarking on an adventure that extends far and above just learning about democracy and the right to vote.
My grade 7 and 8 Immersion classes are creating their own electoral campaigns based on the following platform ideas according to their designated political party:
The above mentioned topics were debated over the past few days. Why? Because my students have quickly learned that creating a party platform that will be shared in a media campaign is not easy when ideas of importance differ within one’s group. Students, within their designated party groups, researched a variety of issues affecting Canada and argued what commonalities each of their self-created campaigns will contain. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee my grade 7s intellectually arguing why transportation should be included and not health care; a teacher’s dream really.
The added teacher’s dream of this authentic, organically growing project, is the connection that this project has with New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL). My students are continually recognizing how the 6Cs of NPDL are being applied to this project through their need to effectively communicate with each other and within their final product. Their creativity may be what wins their student ‘constituents’ or perhaps their desire to think critically about the needs of our country. Even though students have been in their groups for a mere three days, they have begun to collaborate in such a meaningful way because their end goals are the same and the project is fun, exciting, authentic. The collaboration shows their understanding of character education through empathizing with the views of others. Each student recognizes what it takes to be an active citizen in a democratic society and why it is extremely important to be an informed citizen.
What perhaps strikes me the most is the connection we are making with outside supports. We are connecting with my former professor’s first year Poli Sci Class (Dr. Biro) and learning about his students views on why democracy and voting is important. We are bringing in members of CIVIX via Skype and a few other guest presenters are on deck. The project is rich with technology and inquiry making it perhaps one of my favourite NPDL projects to date.
As our project grows, I will be blogging about the journey with a few other posts in between. Students will be guest blogging through a ‘blog by choice’ opportunity to share their learning journey with the world.
Cannot wait to see where this project goes.
Yours in learning,
then Enthusiastic Learner.