Thursday, 27 November 2014

Grade 8 Social Studies: Extending Students Inside and Outside the Classroom

Part of  personalizing education is creating opportunities for students to extend their learning when they are ready and able to take on more of a challenge. Teacher Cara Pennington gives some examples of extension opportunities for students in her Grade 8 Social Studies class.

Grade 8 Social Studies is a unique course that utilizes the history of Canadian Confederation and Western settlement, along with different aspects of human geography, to develop critical thinking, reading and writing skills. On many occasions, students are encouraged to think outside the box and imagine what life would be like in different time periods or in different parts of the world by taking on the roles of different people and characters throughout history.

Students receive ample choice when it comes to assignment topics. The choice allows for personalization and challenge for students who require a push. Some of the topics that students are able to select include extensions that require students to complete additional research and analysis of their topic. This allows students who are ready for more of a challenge to make deeper connections and to develop their critical thinking skills.

Furthermore, day-to-day tasks in class include extension options for students who are quickly developing an understanding of the material and content. These more in-depth questions encourage students to analyze the same material in different ways and from different angle, in order to to come to new conclusions about the topic.

 Students in Grade 8 Social Studies are also extended outside of the classroom through a field trip to Black Creek Pioneer Village. Here, the students are able to live like the pioneers they have learned about in class, both in British North America and during the settlement of the Canadian western provinces. They perform tasks reflective of the time period such as woodworking and candle-making, and are able to bring the knowledge they have learned in the classroom to life and apply their understandings in a real-world setting.

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