My most frequently “re-tweeted” Blog post has to have been a post I did a few months ago entitled How We at St. Gregory are using Tony Wagner’s Global Achievement Gap. In the last three months, it has had 174 visits. In that post, I wrote that one of the things we were doing as a faculty to engage and respond to the book was to write in each department an narrative (or several) of exemplary St. Gregory class sessions which demonstrate effectively the kind of teaching and learning (we think) Wagner is calling for.
On p. 65 of his book, after a long series of brief vignettes where Tony describes high school classrooms which are not working to promote the learning of the skills kids need, he then offers a three paragraph passage of an Algebra II class that is effective: it is one where “the teachers use academic content as a means of teaching students how to communicate, reason, and solve problems.” We are using this phrase as our touchstone, though we are adding to it as follows: using academic content as a means to teach students how to communicate and collaborate, reason and analyze critically, and solve problems using creativity and innovation.
I have collected now about a dozen, and I will periodically be publishing them here; we are also preparing for publication later this month a little booklet of these exemplary “Wagnerian” classroom narratives. This one is written by Dr. Michelle Berry, and (as all of them have been, for consistency of format and style) edited by Stefanie Teller. Please let me know what you think by posting a response; many more to come!
AP Government – Unit on Constitutional Law
The teacher begins the unit on Constitutional Law by announcing that, over the course of the month-long unit, each student will have an important role to play every day in order to make sense of complex Constitutional questions and critique the wisdom of the United States Supreme Court. (more…)