What does it take to inspire
Solution Fluency was intended for the best inquiry- and project-based learning a teacher can provide. The stellar work of the students of Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy in Markham, Ontario is a fine example of this. The students already knew Solution Fluency since it has been the guiding curriculum goal in their school for the last few years.
McGivney English teacher Alexandra Parlagreco, along with Cynthia Anniballi, head of the English department, both had a vision of using Solution Fluency to teach students about a very important and challenging literary device called ‘narrative empathy.’
“When it comes to any inquiry, students should have freedom to explore a topic in whatever scope or facet the inquiry takes them,” Alexandra asserts. That level of freedom is what would make her students’ projects so successful and so meaningful.
Where do we
begin to transform?
Alexandra and Cynthia were familiar with the work of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation when they attended Lee Crockett’s workshop in Toronto in early 2015. “The workshop was very useful because we were able to go through the inquiry process ourselves and come up with a concept for a new CPT by the end,” Alexandra recalls.
Once students had a grasp on narrative empathy, they completed an activity featured on a Google website designed to lay out stages of the 6D inquiry process. It also asked the students to reflect on what results they might encounter in the upcoming research and design stages for their projects.
“We gave students a selection of scholarly articles for their research as well as a CBC radio broadcast,” Alexandra explains. “Due to the students’ freedom to apply their thesis to any narrative that interested them, they came up with some amazing theses that explored a variety of narrative forms.”
How do we plot a
path to success?
The next three stages of Solution Fluency (Dream, Design, and Deliver) were grouped together and done at separate intervals in the students’ project development stages. Alexandra and her colleagues wanted to make sure students had the freedom to demonstrate multiple intelligences by choosing mediums that showcased their discoveries and reflections in the best possible ways.
Students were also treated to consistent feedback before the completion of the final stage.Teachers felt that this approach demonstrated to the students that the process of inquiry takes time and can evolve drastically from beginning to end.
The projects students chose included videos, posters, comics, and more. Below are links to some terrific examples of the narrative empathy projects that were “delivered” by the McGivney students.
How do we measure
growth and progress?
How do we continue to
improve and excel?
The McGivney students’ exploration of narrative empathy was made much more exciting and insightful with the help of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation. Alexandra herself is appreciative for the experience. “Lee was very motivational and gave us a new inquiry format that we could try in our classrooms,” she says. “We are no longer asking students ‘what happened’ in the novel or the play, but ‘why’ or ‘what if.’ Therefore, summarize has become synthesize and connect.”
What’s on the continuing pathway for the students and teachers at Father Michael McGivney? Change and progress using the Fluencies as indispensable tools for teaching and learning.
“We are continuing to focus on Solution Fluency and other Fluencies,” Alexandra says. “It’s a great time for our school to embrace inquiry and student-directed learning!”