San Francisco Community
fourth and fifth
7, Learning From Others. Segment begins approximately
3 minutes 15 seconds into the program.
Primary Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of their project, the
students should be able to:
teams to create a butterfly garden by discussing what
they know and what they need to know. As the project
advances, students bring their own special abilities
into play as they discover how to learn on their own
and how to teach each other the necessary skills to
complete the project.
When the project
is completed, the students communicate what they have
done and learned through presentations to other students
and their parents.
Learning Theories to Consider
Yvonne Scott challenges her fourth/fifth
grade students to create a butterfly garden after the
school receives special funding from a grant. The garden
will consist of a mural describing different species
of butterflies on plaques that will include information
such as wing span, coloration and life cycle. Although
the fourth and fifth graders create the garden,
it will be a place of learning for the entire school.
The teacher begins the lesson by asking
questions to determine what students know and what skills
and knowledge they will need to make a butterfly garden.
As the students brainstorm they realize they need lots
of information about soil, plants, and the type of garden
that will attract butterflies. They also learn they
will need math and writing skills to design and chronicle
the garden. Yvonne Scott suggests that the students
form two teams - a butterfly research team and a garden
layout team. As the project develops, the teams present
their research and drawings of the garden to the entire
class. They record the feedback from the presentation
and based on the feedback, present a final plan for
In this scenario, Yvonne Scott applies
Learning in a Social Context
by placing students in a communicative and interactive
learning culture. Students work collaboratively in teams,
and as their individual talents emerge, they become
teachers as well as learners. She applies the theory
of Cognitive Processing as
she challenges the students to create the garden, while
helping them retrieve what they already know and what
they need to know to become problem solvers. As the
project develops over a ten-week period, Yvonne Scott
sees the culture of the classroom change dramatically.
The theory of Culture and Learning shares that students make sense out of their environment
by their own personal experiences. As the students become
personally involved and responsible for segments of
the work needed to build the garden, they are experiencing
a shift in culture. Students learn to rely on each other
for "pieces of the puzzle" instead of working
independently. They also learn to appreciate and value
each other for who they are and the talent each student
brings to the project. Diversity is viewed as a big
asset in this multiethnic and multitalented class.
Throughout the project the students are
asked "what do you wonder; what do you think?"
They also discuss their specific problem solving strategies.
These are examples of Metacognition, a learning theory that describes how students learn
to think about their own thinking.
Sequenced Writing Assignments
- Make a list of up
to five key ideas from each of the four learning theories
presented: learning in a social context, cognitive
processing, culture and learning and metacognition.
Next, try to identify a way the teacher applied each
of those key ideas as she planned and executed her
learning activities. For example, under "culture,"
you might list, "extended group projects and
thematic units selected by students with their teacher
help develop strong relationships in multicultural
classrooms butterfly garden project included
many components organized around student work groups
and was conducted over a six week period."
You may find it useful to put your list in the form
of a table. We have provided templates in either Word
format if you choose to do this.
You may find that some key ideas you listed from the
learning theories are not represented in the scenario.
For now, leave a blank space after them. You will
also find that you are repeating some of the things
the teacher did because they are applications of key
ideas from more than one learning theory.
- Review your list
of key ideas and fill in the blanks from Assignment
A by suggesting things the teacher could do to apply
the key ideas you listed but did NOT see represented
already. Suggest other practical things the teacher
could do to incorporate key learning theory ideas
into his classroom activities.
- Reflect on the completed
table and record your reflections about how the theories
intersect or interact. How might your own teaching
practices take advantage of what you see happening
in this scenario?
- As an alternative
to these tasks, follow the directions of your group
leader or the teacher of your class to write about
this scenario and how one or more learning theories
might apply to it. Or decide as a group how you might
use it as a case for further study and discussion.
Samples and tools to help you with
the scenario assignments
- Sample rubrics in html
format to assess your writings
sample for Scenario Four, Assignments A and B,
(in PDF format) to use as a model
- Templates in Word
format for the assignments