This season’s spirituality theme of “Inner Spark” has been quite a wonderful exploration and discovery of the many ways in which “we all have something to contribute” and “our lives really matter.” The Fourth Grade class integrated this theme into their Autobiography Milestone Project by asking students to brainstorm one activity that gives them joy that they would like to share with others. The end result of the project was a wonderful video montage of each of the students engaged in their chosen activity. View it here: https://player.vimeo.com/video/123138564
Projects such as this one illustrate the rich and meaningful connections that are made between academic studies and personal passions and experience. When a student’s interests are engaged in this way, the learning is reinforced in deep and lasting ways. To prepare for the project, each student wrote a five paragraph essay on their topic and created a vivid illustration. Next, students chose one aspect of the topic and wrote step-by-step instructions for someone to follow. For example, one student wrote about her love of dance and then wrote step by step instructions on how to do a particular dance move.
What’s more is that the idea for the video and the connection between the Inner Spark theme came from the students as well. Knowing that their turn to present in our weekly Spirituality Assembly was coming up, their teachers asked the students in Morning Meeting for ideas of what they could do and share. The class felt that sharing this chapter of their autobiography was a perfect fit and the project took off from there.
Authentic, connected learning experiences represent the kind of learning that makes All Saints such a special school. Students are given the opportunity to bring their authentic selves to the learning process, and through these experiences are able to develop and apply the necessary and relevant skills for success. Brain-based research clearly supports the notion that personal relevance and connection are necessary for true learning to occur and to really “stick” in a student’s long-term memory.
For more information on this aspect of brain development research: