Monday 20 January 2014

Trying Something New: Students Become the Experts

 Over the course of the last few years I have been trying to figure out different ways to teach and engage students on the topic of Confederation. I know, I know, it is a fascinating topic! But an important one for understanding the framework of our government and social problems in Canada.

 So, this semester I decided to break the info into the terms of the PLOs and make expert groups (four groups; Social, Political, Economic and Geographical reasons for Confederation). I had the groups stay together for about a week and become real "experts" on their topic.  They did every task for the week in these groups (note taking from text, note taking from power points/teacher "lecture", answering questions and class discussions).  This had an interesting effect as they built a new sense of community and ownership, as well as accountability to the group.

 I then took the four groups and made new groups with one member from each of the above groups going to form the new group which represented a colony of Canada. Then they compiled new notes for their colony based on their understanding of social, political, economic and geographical reasons for Confederation.

Finally,  the Colony groups had to make an advertising campaign to influence the delegates of the Charlottetown Conference (our class) to allow their colony to join Confederation. There were a variety of choices from rap, to poetry, to speeches to posters. As you can see from the video they really bought into this and I got a variety of presentation types. Looking at this process before the unit test and before the unit assignment (a written speech) I feel like they found it more interesting, felt it was a more effective use of time, it allowed more variety with more discussions and ultimately more learning!

Post courtesy of Christy Bevington


  1. Christy this was an amazing idea! It is surprizing how creative students become when their teacher thinks outside the box. I am so proud of the excellent teacher you have become. I know this takes significant commitment on your part. Keep up the good work kid, the students are worth it.

  2. This looks great Christy. How to take an important but not always stimulating topic and make it something both meaningful in terms of the knowledge and interesting to learn.