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What's your interest?: K1 students on East Campus construct their own learning

Tracy Jochmann, Vice Principal, Infant School, East Campus

That is the question that all of K1 have been asking this term. Throughout the grade, students worked in small groups on Interest Projects spanning a range of topics from spaceships, gymnastics, dinosaurs and Australia, to ballet, snowflakes and ice sports.

The purpose of this project was twofold: first to engage K1 students in tasks for a more sustained period of time, and second to build their qualities and skills in the UWCSEA profile including ‘collaborative,’ ‘communicator,’ and ‘creative’ through work with their peers in small groups. Having students select topics of personal interest encouraged them to develop both of these areas in a more meaningful way.

The children began by brainstorming all of the things they were interested in. Then, within their class groups, they formed small groups based on similar interests. As a group the students then came up with a plan for how they would explore their topic.

At the same time the teachers mapped the curricular standards and benchmarks for the groups to identify each project’s alignment with our academic subjects. We found that the projects not only aligned with Science and Humanities benchmarks, but also with numerous Literacy, Mathematics and Personal and Social Education ones.

With their teacher’s support, each group worked together to explore their topic in a way that helped them reach the identified benchmarks and profile skills.

As the topic explorations began in earnest, students collected books from the library, conducted science experiments, built Lego structures, constructed items out of cardboard, created observational drawings, made puppets, wrote and made books, and used iBooks and video clips as both sources of information and ways to demonstrate their learning.

During K1 community time children had the opportunity to meet with a group from another class that shared a similar interest. We also invited parents who are experts in particular areas to come in and speak to groups from across classes and share their knowledge of the subject.

Following this research process, the Interest Projects culminated with field trips out into the Singapore community allowing students to explore their topics further at a relevant site. Groups from across classes attended a trip together that linked with the Interest Project. Along with parent volunteers who came along to support the field trips, groups visited the Singapore Zoo, Singapore Science Centre, an ice skating rink, the Singapore Sports Hub and the Urban Redevelopment Authority building. Other groups toured the Esplanade Theatre and traveled on various forms of transportation to get to the airport.

The Interest Projects came to close with each small group giving a presentation to their classmates on their learning process. The children helped to decide the criteria for assessment which included everyone in the group having a role in the presentation and speaking in a big, clear voice.

Regardless of the students’ interest area or field trip destination, the enthusiasm, motivation and pleasure in what and how they were learning was clearly evident. As a teaching team, we found the Interest Projects unit was an effective way to engage students in learning across the academic curriculum while also developing their qualities and skills.

  • East Campus
  • Holistic Learning Programme
  • Teaching and Learning