My colleague Talar Khatchoyan returns with a second guest post on the 'GAT Course', which is our experiment at 'soft-coding' a year 9/10 (stage 5) course. Last year we piloted it, this year we're beginning to scale it up. 15 students have selected 'GAT' instead of a 'Board Endorsed' course like Music or Commerce.
Talar has managed to put together a soft-coded syllabus, outcomes and assessment schedule, as well as an induction program lasting 4 weeks. The students define and implement their own projects. See these posts for the story so far, dating right back to our original thinking.
Below, Talar recounts how term 1 is unfolding:
What’s been happening in GAT lately? Pretty exciting stuff!
1. One of our students finally settled on a GAT project and he is happy about it! It took about 5 lessons of talking, planning, brainstorming and everything else and he has now settled on creating a documentary series on life in Manly focusing on different aspects of Manly like: Surfing, tourism, homelessness, busking, etc. This was a pretty huge victory for him!
2. The students are talking a lot more (they were really quiet at the start). So, they are really starting to own the course! They are asking for KRUMS (our gamified point system) and the best part is that they are helping each other!
3. A student came to class with what looked like a pencil case but when you flipped it, there were speakers on the other side. He said he was feeling bored and wanted to be creative and so made this pencil case that doubles as a speaker system! I couldn't believe it! And it worked! This got me excited for two reasons. a. It was pretty cool and just shows me how incredible he is…always thinks out of the box. b. I was excited because he wanted to showcase his work. It just shows he understands the concept of GAT, he's sharing and creating and innovating! And I’m sure it was really inspirational for his peers.
4. Students are sharing their skills with one another! They are showcasing work, sharing ideas, giving feedback and information. They are realising their skills and strengths as well as the areas they need help with and are working together to find balance.
5. Students handed in their first assessment task which was a plan & rationale for their project. I haven’t had a chance to really start marking them, but when I do, I’ll blog again!
Anyway, I just wanted to share, and catch you up on all the awesome aspects of GAT!
Sorry for the overuse of exclamation marks – I guess they are expressing my great enthusiasm for these students and what they are achieving.