Hello educators! Last week I continued with my ‘shifts in practice’ journey, moving on to shifts in the role of curriculum and instruction. 

Roles of curriculum and instruction 

Having spent a couple of weeks focused on shifts with respect to teacher and student roles and learning a lot about my students and myself, I wanted to explore this next shift in practice and spend some time on the roles of the curriculum and my instruction. Learning transfer depends on curriculum and instruction that supports young people to see the organising patterns in the world around them, so how does the way I am organising and planning for learning meet this goal?

Expansive Framing

One of the strategies I worked with was Expansive Framing. I planned to use this strategy with my Grade 6 class who are investigating types of forces, and I decided this would be a good lesson for students to expand their understanding of the concepts of magnetism, friction, tension, electricity, and gravity using examples that aren’t necessarily, or obviously, connected to science.

First, we discussed some options as a class to help everyone understand what expansive framing is and collectively came up with a couple of examples. Then, in partners, the students created cards with their descriptions of examples of each concept. In Learning That Transfers the definition for expansive framing is “the ways teachers and students integrate everyday experiences and different contexts into the main content of the curriculum” p. 38. Directing student attention to the broader uses and examples of concepts helps them learn to see the world through concepts, a foundational aspect of transferring understanding. 

Check out my students examples of expansive framing for their forces concepts:

The examples for this one on magnetism were on the back of the card and can be seen below.

One of the benefits of expansive framing is the lines between the classroom and the “real world” become less defined and learning that happens in lessons is more explicitly connected to everyday lived experiences. One of our favorite examples of this is from one of English Language Arts Lead, Trevor Aleo’s students who made the meme below. We love that this student took the time to create this and also how it demonstrates the impact of strategies like expansive framing for student learning and building connections between prior and new knowledge. 

If you would like to explore LTT more deeply, find our in-depth disciplinary courses here – we are almost sold out so be sure to grab your spot! As always, do get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

Take care and see you next week. 

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