SpeakUp projects are part of the Ministry of Education’s Student Voice strategy. Student Voice projects aim to promote student engagement and success in Ontario schools.
The projects provide an opportunity for students to lead and participate in a school-based project through skill development, creation of a responsive learning environment, and the fostering of inclusive practices. Through participation in Student Voice projects, students are empowered to take action and support engagement, equity, achievement and well-being through an experience with the school community.
Students in Mr. Johnson’s Grade Seven classroom at James Hillier Public School submitted a project proposal for Speak Up in November of last year. Titled “Bringing Math to Life: Where We Learn Affects the Quality of How We Learn,” the project supports the Board’s Multi-Year Plan in the areas of Well-Being and Environment.
“By creating spaces to reflect current teaching and learning needs, the project is enabling an environment where all students can participate fully in their education,” explains Principal Jeannette Marry of the project's relevance and timeliness. "Its vision is to transform the classroom environment to better reflect 21st century innovation and creative learning through the use of digital tools, technology, and a learning environment designed to promote students' creative thinking in mathematics."
What that looks like in the classroom is the integration of a technology hub, a Lego wall, and a maker space, and opportunities for student engagement, collaboration and construction of knowledge within a mathematical context.
Together with the classroom teacher, student leaders developed the project proposal and constructed a “blueprint” for re-designing the classroom space. The cubby area was converted to incorporate a technology hub for students to access digital tools, and whiteboards on the rear walls are for student collaboration in math lessons. A Lego Wall is included in the design to promote inquiry-based problem solving and hands-on engagement.
“Our classroom is a place that enables us to leave the textbooks behind and explore math in new and exciting ways,” said Grade 7 Teacher Mr. Johnson.