PHOTO CAPTION: Brookville, Sam Sherratt PS students celebrate tree planting exercise recently.
June 23, 2016
TWO MILTON SCHOOLS have been learning collaboratively since January about what it means to see something from another person’s point of view.
Brookville and Sam Sherratt Public Schools in Milton have been teaching 100 Grade 6 students to better understand differing perspectives. Students were taught that people perceive and interpret, issues, situations and ideas in numerous ways. They examined certain posters to see what individuals thought of what they saw and studied issues like food waste, vaccinations, and garbage/recycling to learn varying views on these subjects.
Part of this project included using new technology like Google Hangout and Google Docs to connect with each other to share ideas and discussion.
Brookville teacher Tracy Wheatley-Romano and Sam Sherratt teacher Emily MacDonald connected their classes to teach their students about perspectives. They wanted to give their students opportunities to work with individuals from diverse groups in order to build community and to broaden and challenge current perspectives.
“We thought it would be interesting to compare student perspective from differing demographics,” explained Wheatley-Romano.
Developing critical thinking skills was an important part of the collaboration by having them adjust their personal perspectives, if necessary, MacDonald said.
“We hoped students would see beyond their classroom walls and appreciate and value others’ ideas and opinions.”
Said Wheatley-Romano: “We also wanted students to learn to communicate and collaborate effectively with others. The partnership between schools allowed us, as teachers, to open up our own classrooms and learn together.”
The use of 21st century technology made this collaboration work and be a big success, MacDonald said. Through an innovation grant, the schools purchased headphones with microphones students used to connect via Google Hangout as well as 10 chromebooks.
“As a culminating activity, students from both schools completed an action project together, which involved tree planting in a local park and removing invasive plant species from a local conservation area,” MacDonald said. “This provided the students with an experiential learning experience and a chance to contribute as global citizens.”
The curriculum connection was strong with this kind of collaborative project, the two teachers explained. The links included language (determine, when appropriate, if a student’s view is balanced and supported by the evidence) and social studies (investigate global issues and their social or economic impact on the global community).
Ultimately, Wheatley-Romano and MacDonald are hopeful students learned they have a voice and can mobilize their thinking and take action.
“We want them to continue to display stewardship and citizenship,” said Wheatley-Romano.