I realize standards are not going anywhere. At least not for now, even as we continue to venture into the wild frontier of the “21st Century.” We have CCS, NGSS, ISTE, P21, the list goes on. Significant content experts say these are necessary for our students to know and understand and ultimately, integrate into their lives.
So we get creative. We design deep inquiry lessons and projects, rooted in expected standards, and design assessments to ensure our students learn the content. We infuse higher-level thinking and questioning to cultivate critical and creative thinkers. We wrestle through district pacing guides, district assessments and more assessments, along with our own convictions as educators to make it all fit together. Somewhere in there we weave voice and choice. Oy.
But what if we tried a different approach? What if we were not the architects of the deep inquiry projects and actually included the students in the design process?
What if, in conversation rather than direct instruction, we asked our students:
Here is what you are required to learn (i.e. writing the narrative, life cycles, government), so how do you want to learn it? How do you want to show me you know it? And how to do you want to apply it to your lives?
I wonder what learning might look like if students had 100 percent buy in with voice and choice, not only for product, but for process as well.