Learning Beyond the Classroom Walls

Learning Beyond the Classroom Walls


>>Jill Levine: At Normal Park, we believe that learning should
not be bound by the front and back covers of a textbook or
the four walls of our building. We did a lot of thinking
to figure out, what is a museum magnet school? Every week, our students go
to a museum or on some type of learning expedition. That’s where the learning
really comes to life. As a museum school, we’re
connected with seven museums. We have a contract
with the museums which basically gives
us unlimited access on a certain day of the week. Every student has a museum
passport, so they can go for free back to the museums on
the weekends or in the evenings and then, the museum
educators plan with our teachers
once each quarter. We really try to figure out
how we can enhance the content learning that’s going
on in the classroom by teaching art concepts
at the same time. We opened the school
in 2002, and in 2005, we were named the top
magnet school in the nation by Magnet Schools of America. We’ve received the John F.
Kennedy School of Distinction in Arts Education, which
is a national award. And we’ve been designated as a
State Reward School in Tennessee for having some of the highest
test scores in the state. The Normal Park way is basically
a list of strategies that we use that everyone on the faculty
agrees these things are best practices for students. So, it includes exhibit
building, planning with understanding
by design, guided reading, teaching problem-solving in
math using the Singapore math model-drawing approach. It includes collaboration
and organization. The two keys to our success as
a school in our transformation and then our ongoing
success in terms of student achievement are, one, that I hire the best
possible teachers and, two, that there’s this consistency
of instructional program, that what happens in a
first-grade classroom happens in a third-grade
classroom and happens in a seventh-grade classroom. Our whole curriculum for science
and social studies is organized into nine-week blocks that
we refer to as modules. To plan those modules, we use
“understanding by design.” People often refer to
this as backward planning. We first think about
the big ideas, you know, what do students have to
know and be able to do, and then what are the big
understandings that can carry over from one content
area to another? So, for example, where you
live affects how you live. Then they look at, how are
we going to assess that? For us at a museum
magnet school, those assessments
are our exhibits and also the travel journals. Every nine weeks, the whole
school turns into a museum. The halls will be filled
with parents and children who are all here to celebrate
what their children have accomplished in the past nine
weeks, the students’ writing, the students’ problem-solving,
the students’ thinking, and it really is a
great way for students to share their learning
with their parents.

3 thoughts on “Learning Beyond the Classroom Walls

  1. Great to see a concise and well-explained depiction of expeditionary and project learning in action – advancing student skills and achievement in measurable ways. Appreciate the showcases for parent every 9 weeks!

  2. I enjoy these videos but it would be really nice if you do more 'worldwide' videos. Ones that are talking about education, not only in the U.S but also in other countries around the globe.
    As far as I remember you had some videos of this type some time ago and I think it would be cool to do something similar again. 
    I love this channel and the ideas that are shared here are amazing!

  3. Imagine being able to connect learning to the real world all the time. Watch how this school does it.

    #projectbasedlearning   #fieldtrip   #SchoolsThatWork  

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