How might you co-design learning experiences in the 2024-2025 school year?  

Linda Amici harnessed the power of co-creation by inviting her Year 5 students to plan around what she described as her “most hated academic standards”: Ancient Western Civilizations.

Linda didn’t feel energized by these standards mainly because they didn’t stick. Her students would memorize the information for the assessment, and then quickly move on to other, more relevant learning. As Linda recalls, “They had nothing to do with their own lives.”

But with a slight re-frame, suddenly they did.

Her class co-created a big question to give these standards new meaning: “What can we learn from the successes and failures of early civilizations of the Western Hemisphere that we can apply to our lives today?”

Suddenly learning was purposeful, and her class sprung to life as a result.

Students interested in food and cuisine researched the modest diet of Ancient Mayans, and after learning of their ability to self-sustain, developed a recipe book for how to create healthier meals today.

Students interested in architecture explored the infrastructure of Machu Picchu, and after learning about its overall layout, developed architectural plans for modern-day buildings.

Students interested in technology and warfare researched the border conflicts faced by the Aztecs, and after learning about their eventual demise, suggested laws that would better protect our borders today.

Linda’s students dove deeper into her curriculum than she ever could have hoped for if designing these learning experiences in isolation.

As Linda recalls, “All of these projects can be connected to the different standards. When you make [learning] something that is relevant to them, they remember it too.”

Linda’s role as teacher shifted from delivering these standards from the front of the classroom to seeking evidence of student learning in each of their projects by coaching on the side.

✔️ When students explored the territory of each civilization in order to learn how to better protect modern-day borders, Linda checked off her geography standards.
✔️ When students looked at primary-source documents of ancient laws and government procedure in order to write their own code of ethics, Linda checked off her government standards.

What are your most hated standards? How could taking a “co-creation” approach help you bring them to life in the 2024-2025 school year?

Get More Ideas for Co-Creation

The excerpt above is from Shift #1/Chapter 1 of my new book, ‘Where is the Teacher: 12 Shifts for Student-Centered Environments’ scheduled for release in Early August. 

Now, back to that ice cold drink poolside.

Enjoy your Summer!

Your [co] learning experience designer,