What is NPDL?
by Dr. Robin Millen, principal, Chatham Elementary School
New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning (NPDL) is a partnership of educators, school leaders, policy makers, and families that all share the same goal: seeking ways to facilitate deep learning. Joining over 1300 schools in 7 countries, Chatham Elementary and our South Coast Education Collaborative cluster are working with other nationwide and international networks of schools. Chatham Elementary NPDL “scouts” (a group of 12 educators) are working alongside others to change the role of teachers to that of activators of learning. They will design learning experiences that build on learner strengths and needs, create new knowledge using real-life problem solving, and help all students identify their talents, purposes and passions.
Chatham Elementary School (CES) joined these efforts in November 2018. We are focused on the The Deep Learning Competencies, better known as the 6 C’s: character education, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. The 6 C’s are skill sets every student needs to acquire in order to flourish in today’s complex world. These competencies form the foundation for the New Measures NPDL teachers use in the Deep Learning Progressions to assess students’ current levels in each of the six. They combine this with information about student achievement, interests, and aspirations to get a clear understanding of what each student needs to learn. (adapted from npdl.global)
Below are two examples of NPDL learning experiences that have been designed by teachers at CES that include the 6C’s:
Hour of Power: What do kids do if given an hour? In individual and cross grade level NPDL teams, writers finish their original plays, students create unique recipes, inquisitive engineers design elaborate designs to solve a problem, researchers investigate and gather more information about their passions/talents/interests, artists replicate cartoons and/or follow instructions for complicated origami, design teams create Scott Joplin tools, and so much more! This time encourages collaboration, character, creativity, citizenship, critical thinking, and communication!
STEM Challenges: In individual and cross NPDL grade level teams, students are given a variety of “household” items and are challenged to design a solution to a common or unique problem. One recent example was the NPDL “Love Chop” Stem Challenge: On Valentine’s Day, fourth graders had a celebration that included food, cards, and a team task that combined our energy unit with Valentine’s Day. Teams of three were challenged with the task of designing and constructing a Valentine’s Love Chop, a motorized vehicle that delivered a sweet treat to a neighbor. This video shows their assignment, the materials they used, obstacles they encountered, and their solutions. These types of STEM challenges are embedded within 4th grade writing and math and were designed as part of the NPDL Scouting Team goals. Check out the video below:
Grade 4 NPDL Event
A special thank you to the Westgate Fund! We are very excited to be sending four members of our CES NPDL “Scouting Team” to Canada to make face-face connections with educators from across the globe as part of the NPDL International Learning Lab. They will also visit exemplary schools in Ottawa and Montreal. We cannot wait to share all the wonderful learning experiences that we garner from this experience with our school, district, local Southeast MA cluster group, and the communities of Chatham and Harwich.