Caring across the curriculum
Sometimes I get tired of seeing the school day broken into subject-matter based courses. We don’t teach subjects we teach students, and students of all ages engage in a real life that matters across individual fields of study.
Watch the video* Miniature Earth:
How many different ‘subjects’ can we teach with this video? How real is the Math? How relevant is the Social Studies? Can we tie in History? Current Events? Economics? Environmental Issues? Healthy Living?
How far can we extend the learning? These are 1990 statistics from the state of the Village Report. What are the stats now? Can you predict what they will be 10 years from now? “Write a paragraph from the perspective of…”
But caring isn’t just about identifying a problem, it is about doing something about that problem.
Watch the video* World on Fire by Sarah McLachlan:
More real life relevance across the curriculum and proof that one person can make a difference!
So what can a class do?
Kiva.org is a great example of what can be done. Mico-Loans to poeple from many parts of the world that would have a hard time getting regular loans.
Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.
The people you see on Kiva’s site are real individuals – not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need. (About Kiva )
If you want to know how meaningful this can be to a class of students, check out what Jen Whiffin has done with her Grade 4/5 class. She starts her post: Math Made Compelling: The Kiva Renaissance with this quote:
“Building a thought-filled curriculum serves the larger agenda of building a more thought-filled world–an interdependent learning community where people continually search for ways to care for one another, learn together, and grow towards greater intelligence. We must deepen student thinking to hasten the arrival of a world community…” (Arthur L. Costa, “The Thought-Filled Curriculum”, Educational Leadership, 2008)
If you enjoy that post, check out her other related posts Math Made Compelling and Math Made Compelling: Phase One of the Kiva Project . Also check out her class’ Kiva profile.
Grade 4’s and 5’s learning about GDP per capita? Why not? But take this real-life meaning away and the math just isn’t… compelling.
A curriculum of caring and making a difference, across many fields of study. Learning that matters and connects our students to the world they live in.
*Update: For those of you ‘Behind the filter’ like my teachers here in China, since you cannot see the embeded and linked YouTube videos. Here they both are: Miniature Earth and World on Fire. You can watch them online or download them thanks to drop.io!