Contact innovator

A unit planning framework to inspire students to take risks and connect their learning to the real world via service and engagement

Cultivating Connections that Matter

location_on Helsinki, Finland
This framework helps lessons strategically blend student experience and opinion with academic study and authentic experiences. To culminate, students synthesize their learning in performances of connection that links them to the community. Our model for interdisciplinary, real world based learning pushes students to challenge their assumptions and expand their empathy.
We were there because the teachers told us to be, because our parents said it would be a good idea, because we hoped to grow from it, or because we would have more hours for the service action. There were so many different reasons for going. As we were there we all felt very awkward because we knew nothing about these people and they knew nothing about us and yet we were being asked to play games and talk as if we had known each other for ages. It was an experience that definitely changed my way of thinking but not for ways that I would have thought. Going there we all obviously knew what their labels were (refugees) and a bit of what they had gone through. When we were there, looking at them, talking to them, listening to them, there was a part of my mind that kept going back to everything I knew about what they had gone through, but there was suddenly this other voice in my head that was making me realise that even though we were always told stories about these people, always implying that there should be pity in how we treat them, these people in front of me were anything but. They were funny, shy, sweet, chatty and overall like anyone else. We are always so quick to judge people based on their history when instead we should be looking at their present and future. How they have grown and changed from their experiences and how they are living their lives now. The cafe nights changed my views entirely, making me, in my point of view, more considerate and caring and understanding which is something that I have always aspired to be.

Carolina, G9

Overview

HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Ellen Heyting on March 30th, 2019
Key figures

Innovation Overview

TEACHERS
Target Group
200
Children/Users
5
Countries
2017
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
345
Views
Updated on June 22nd, 2020
bookmark_border
Bookmark
share
Share
about the innovation

You Can't Build Empathy Sitting Down

We know there is value in pushing students outside a protective academic bubble to participate in real world learning and service, but teachers struggle to find time, resources, and assessable outcomes. While teaching at the International School of Helsinki we designed an interdisciplinary unit template that challenges students to develop their own meaningful answers to real world questions. Lessons strategically blend student experience and opinion with academic study and authentic experiences. To culminate, students synthesize their learning in performances of understanding that connects them to the community. Our model for interdisciplinary, real world based learning pushes students to challenge their assumptions and expand their empathy.

Our template can be broken down into six key sections:

1. Engaging Question Connecting Student Experience to a Universal Theme:  What are the big picture concepts in the unit of study that students can apply to their own lives?

2. Materials to Deepen Understanding: What learning experiences, people, places and resources can you use to spark interest and drive the unit forward?

3. Community Connected Experiences: Where can you take students to witness the real world application of this theme? Who could you invite to speak with them? Are there possibilities for service?

4. Mid Unit Assessment for Learning: How can students engage with the learning materials to demonstrate new understandings about the learning materials? How will this assessment help them develop tools/knowledge necessary for the Performance of Understanding?

5. Synthesized Performance of Understanding: How can students showcase their learning in a creative and meaningful way? Is there any way to connect this performance to the community?

6. Purposeful Reflection: What questions can you ask students to uncover how their thinking will have changed after taking part in this unit?





Milestones

Achievements & Awards

July 2019
Article Published in Childhood Education: Innovation Journal
May 2019
HundrED Glocal Helsinki Event
March 2019
Present at CEESA Conference
Map

Spread of the innovation

loading map...
Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Mission Inspired Unit Focus
What are the big picture concepts in the unit of study that students can apply to their own lives?
Read more
01
Get in Touch
Get in touch with Ellen and Rachael at www.CultivatingConnectionsThatMatter.org to plan meaningful learning experiences for your students
Read more
02
Materials to Deepen Understanding
What learning experiences, people, places and resources can you use to spark interest and drive the unit forward?
Read more
03
Community Connected Experiences
Where can you take students to witness the real world application of this theme? Who could you invite to speak with them? Are there possibilities for service?
Read more
04
Assessment as Preparation
How can students engage with the learning materials to demonstrate new understandings about the learning materials? How will this assessment help them develop tools/knowledge necessary for the Performance of Understanding?
Read more
05
Synthesized Performance of Understanding
How can students showcase their learning in a creative and meaningful way? Is there any way to connect this performance to the community?
Read more
Show more