Aviva Dunsiger is a Canadian grade school teacher with a creative and intuitive approach to teaching. She uses twitter and skype as well as her blog to connect with other teachers and mull over teaching methodologies. In Students CAN Decide!, Dunsiger had talked to several teachers who had experimented with a play-based methodology where the room is set up with centres (work stations) and the children can choose how to spend their time. Dunsiger normally used the typically structured class. Using the 100th day of school as a basis for math and literacy centres, she let the children decide where to work and videotaped their efforts. The amazing results are posted in this blog entry. I commented that my only concern about this teaching approach was its application to post-school situations. My managerial experiences have not convinced me this teaching method ultimately helps a student once they reach the work force.
When I went back, Dunsiger was sharing her plan to implement the centre approach on a regular basis. She had been discussing the idea of an integrated centre approach. From the comments and skype interviews she posted on this blog entry, it was obvious this is still a very controversial idea. In this approach, science, math, history, and literacy are taught as integrated subjects. I shared with Dunsiger my experiences as a history major when my first essay for a history class was graded on content, grammar, and spelling. I really do not see how you can isolate these subjects even on the grade school level when you will need them all "put together" later. Her plan for the change includes adjustments for her students with autism. Like the other commenters, I cannot wait to check back and see what her results show.
I thought this was a fun activity Dunsiger set up for her children. Bissonet Plaza Elementary School in Louisiana skyped Dunsiger's class and shared the Mardi Gras experience with their fellow students in Ontario. Well done! Interestingly, I found this at Connect All Schools, a great resource site for all of us future teachers.