Inquiry: We start with a question that integrates big ideas from many of the subjects and learning intentions from the curriculum. From the broad question, students start asking their own questions and work to create ways to transform others. This is where students choice drives the rest of their motivation, choice of reading and research and project design (which can be a poster, dance, song, video etc)
Resources: Our district resource person gathers novels, videos, websites, magazines with all levels of readability (we are working on more digital reading materials)
Tools and Processes for reading and writing: Students use graphic organizers, partner and small group (lead by a teacher) conversations to share and build knowledge. They write summaries and responses that are self and peer assessed and then we go through a process to give descriptive feedback called CASE (comprehension, analysis, strategies and effective).
Mentorship: provide opportunities for mentorship both in the school and outside.
Mindmapping: students create large works of art that demonstrates their learning by using connections and images and words and phrases (some use Inspiration software)
Celebration/Showcase: Students set up their work out of the class and invite other students, parents and other schools to come see their learning and they work to explain their comprehension and to inspire others. (This is so powerful for the teacher...we are no longer chasing students for their work, they are searching for us and asking us to coach and mentor their work!) And ALL students do their best and are included (each student with any challenge joins in and finds success around the topic and some of the learning outcomes, at least the essential nuggets of the learning)
Still with all of this, we struggle as a learning community with self-regulation. We need mentorship, and the best learning for each student at their own level. And perhaps we could look at some models that don't put achievement first but instead the child and his or her learning.
Have you seen the video on YouTube or Eudutopia about High Tech High in San Diego?
Oh to work at that school!