The project is a good example of how "Dimensions of Learning" - a framework of five instructional goals - can work, said social studies teacher Claire Seibert.
She said the assignment would be considered a "Dimension 4" activity - where students are asked to meaningfully apply historical knowledge by translating into either a song or a poem.
The framework provides teachers with new terminology and lesson-plan organization, explained Seibert, one of three teachers on Northern Middle's Dimensions of Learning peer training team.
"To a real veteran teacher, these are probably things you did all along anyway," said Seibert, who has been teaching for eight years.
Other "Dimensions of Learning" goals include:
- To make learning a positive activity.
- To get students to extend and refine their knowledge by putting it to use.
- To have students use their knowledge meaningfully in a new context.
- To help students develop productive thinking habits.
The framework - based on a theory of how students learn - will be used by teachers at all grade levels in the Washington County school system, said Donna Newcomer-Coble, who coordinates professional staff training.
Elementary school teams were trained last year, with the plan of having them return to their schools and train other teachers, Newcomer-Coble said.
Teams from the county's middle and high schools were trained earlier this year under the same plan, she said.
Newcomer-Coble said the framework promotes critical thinking, which students need to do well on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program tests.