October 24, 2013

A Change of Context

Here is a prezi presentation called A Change of Context that I put together of some of my adventures in and out of the classroom using one of the tools of learning, a change of context, as described in the Imaginative Education Theory by the IERG (research group) at Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada.

The presentation is mainly a combination of images of life in my classroom over the past 4 years and my contribution to a school project last year. I been asked a few questions when presenting about these kinds of things:

Question 1: How much time does this take you (to plan)?
Answer 1: I spent about 15 hours per week outside of instructional time planning and creating ideas for my classroom (and usually about 3-4 weeks in the summer thinking ahead to my themes and curriculum content). I do not follow the textbook resources lesson by lesson, day to day. Rather, I plan my units and lessons ahead with the use of the Imaginative Education frameworks, which use the tools of the imagination to engage students with the content as the central focus, and help me to develop the overall flow. Here is a simple example of a framework I developed for a human body study:

Question 2: How much money does this cost (to create in your classroom)?
Answer 2: Hardly anything. I wouldn't say it's all smoke and mirrors. More simply, I use common materials, paper, paint, fabric, etc...that are available at the schools I work at to create as much of a realistic atmosphere in the classroom. And you wouldn't believe how many adults and kids approach me with "stuff" related to one of my themes. A lot of what you see is just a backdrop I provide for students to add their own art pieces to.

Question 3: Where do you start? It seems very overwhelming!
Answer 3: Start at the beginning I always say; but actually it is really important to project ahead and "keep the end in mind". It is helpful to take one aspect of Imaginative Education, one tool, and build from there. For me, it all began with my novel study, "Escaping the Giant Wave", and the day I trashed the classroom. I would say that this disruption to the "normal" or "traditional" flow of planning and lessons has radically shifted my view on how the rest of my teaching and view of education has proceeded. And now I just can't stop thinking about how to weave in other ideas / tools of the imagination into my classroom. Yes it's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun!

Thanks for looking :)

A Change of Context