Learning in depth university highlands elementary burnaby
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Learning in Depth University Highlands Elementary Burnaby. BCSSA Summer Leadership Conference August 2013. Learning in Depth ( LiD ). Created in 2008 by Professor Kieran Egan from SFU

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Learning in Depth University Highlands Elementary Burnaby

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Learning in DepthUniversity Highlands Elementary Burnaby

BCSSA Summer

Leadership Conference

August 2013


Learning in Depth (LiD)

  • Created in 2008 by Professor Kieran Egan from SFU

  • An innovation in curriculum and instructiondesigned to ensure that all students become experts on a topic

  • Each child learns about a topic throughout his/her school career and when they graduate, they will know more about that topic than anyone else

  • The program usually takes an hour per week

If one is a master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has , at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.

(Vincent Van Gogh)


LiD – University Highlands Elementary

Year 1

  • 10 students, grade K-5

  • Worked once a week for an hour with the principal

    Year 2

  • 2 Whole classes participated

    Year 3

  • LiD became a whole school initiative


LiD Kids - Getting Started atUniversity Highlands

  • Staff chose a set of suitable topics so that each student would have a different topic

  • In a small ceremony, students chose their topic and were given a journal and a puzzle piece

  • Starter activity to help engage and stimulate the students’ commitment to their topics

  • Completed puzzle pieces assembled and displayed


LiD Kids - Structure

  • Wed afternoons – 1 hour

  • 20 minutes of direct teaching in the classroom (eg. how to gather information categorization, note taking, developing questions, presenting information, etc)

  • 40 minutes to pursue their topic with the help of parents, student volunteers, community members

  • Year-end showcase


LiD - Overcoming Challenges

  • Topic for professional development days

  • Dedicated time (30 minutes) at monthly staff meetings

  • Ongoing professional development support from Kieran Egan

  • Enrolling and non-enrolling staff work collaboratively and support each other

  • Ongoing communication with parents through a monthly newsletter (highlights student work, family tips, updates, invitation to upcoming events, request for artifacts)


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why not allow students to choose their own topic?

  • Won’t students become bored working with the same topic?

  • Aren’t many of their topics developmentally inappropriate for younger students?

  • Will this knowledge transfer to other curricular areas?


Potential Benefits of LiDFor Students:

  • Provides knowledge of a topic in great breadth and depth

  • Generates a deep understanding of the nature of knowledge

  • Engages students’ imaginations and emotions in learning

  • Builds confidence and pride in their knowledge

  • Develops expertise in organizational and research skills


Potential Benefits of LiDFor Teachers:

  • Encourages discovery alongside students

  • Removes pressures to grade and assess

  • Working with enthusiastic learners

  • Enriches regular teaching


Potential Benefits of LiDFor the School:

  • Provides a means for older and younger students to cooperate in learning

  • Builds the school into a centre of expertise or Knowledge Hub on many topics

  • Enriches the culture of the school

  • Real and virtual displays and students’ expos of topics provides a community focus

  • “Outstanding Learning in Depth School” Award


What Have We Learned?

  • Adult volunteers

  • Community involvement / experts

  • Builds community within the school

  • Transfer – inquiry process / collaboration / representing learning

  • Continue to refine the process


Moving Forward

  • Kindergarten begin with a whole class topic – students choose their own topic in spring

  • Cluster topics for some students

  • Move levelled books on a broad range of topics

  • Tool boxes / supplies

  • Space for materials / supplies / student work

  • Online portfolios

  • Burnaby Online cohort 2013-2014


Discussion Question

In your district, you are working on many different projects and initiatives.

How would LiD complement the things you are already doing and fit into your district’s vision?


Questions ?


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