How do you know what you know? How do you process new information? How do you interpret that information? What happens in your learning progression to get you to a place of understanding?
These are the types of questions that roughly 1,000 students have been tackling this summer at the North Vancouver School District's Summer Learning program.
"Summer Learning brings together students from across the entire school district and beyond to learn content, concepts and competencies of a particular subject. In addition to the content, students need to understand how and why they learn in order to learn more effectively," said Kathleen Barter, Principal, Summer Learning.
All students in this year's Summer Learning programs delved into examining their 'ways of knowing'. According to International Baccalaureate's Theory of Knowledge, people have several traits through which they access and interpret information. These traits are the 'ways of knowing': language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition, and memory.
Throughout their summer course, students used the ways of knowing to critically assess their learning in the subject area they were studying. Students were challenged to think about how they access, process and interpret knowledge in their subject area. As a culminating activity, students created three ten-second slides each for a PechaKucha presentation (a presentation style were slides progress at fast intervals). Each class then created one combined PechaKucha to share with another class.
"The real purpose of the PechaKucha exercise is to get students to think about how they access and process information and to think about their subject knowledge from multiple perspectives," said Barter.
Following their PechaKucha presentations, students were provided with brightly coloured slips of paper marked with the questions 'How do I know?' or 'How do we know?' On the papers, students described their personal ways of knowing.
"We have many ways of knowing. I used language, in relation to, and memory to learn," wrote one student.
After writing on their slips of paper, the students gathered on the three floors in the central corridor at Carson Graham Secondary School. They simultaneously dropped their papers towards a large question mark waiting below. The messages were then posted to a window around the question mark.
"I think the final outcome of this project is a visual depicting of the powerful critical thinking and learning that took place this summer," said Barter.
Summer Learning offers a wide variety of programs and is very popular for students wanting to get ahead in their coursework, as well as for students looking to undertake grade 7 to grade 8 transition programs (in English, French Immersion and the International Baccalaureate Programme), and for English language learners.