Kansas City Institute!

The DAA team went to the Expeditionary Learning Primary Classrooms Institute all week last week. We asked them to share bits of their experience on our blog. We are thrilled to be an EL school and look forward to sharing more about the learning model. The first post is by Mrs.Boyer, one of our incredible first grade teachers. 

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After the first two days, I am most excited to know Expeditionary Learning affirms my beliefs about how children learn best. It was interesting to learn that the expeditions we choose for our students should be grounded in science and social studies topics. Students will become deeper thinkers and raise more questions (that they will want to answer) when we base our expeditions around the world in which they live. These real-life topics will promote students curiosity for the world and push them to develop their own theories. Students will be inspired to think critically about something for which they are interested and will likely want to learn more about that topic when they can relate it to their own experiences. The learning expedition encourages active engagement and drives passion among students to achieve mastery. I cannot wait to implement all the new strategies I learned to foster my students’ engagement with their learning.

I had a few favorite moments during our professional development! I loved how we switched from being students— completing all parts of the expedition, to teachers who analyzed and reflected the work we just completed. I loved seeing how everyone at the Institute was accountable for actively thinking and working.  I was constantly engaged whether I was working by myself, in a small group, or as a whole—constant collaboration was essential. As part of our “freaky frog” expedition, we were able to meet with experts in the field and receive feedback to better our work. I also loved creating a final product to “show off” my learning with the crew.  I gained a sense of purpose for sharing my newly acquired knowledge. I was inspired to create high quality work that I was truly proud of just knowing it would be on display. I never thought I would become passionate about frogs! I really do feel like a herpetologist!