San Francisco Community School
fourth and fifth
7, Learning From Others. Segment begins approximately 3
minutes 15 seconds into the program.
Primary Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of their project, the students
should be able to:
Students form teams
to create a butterfly garden by discussing what they know
and what they need to know. As the project advances, students
bring their own special abilities into play as they discover
how to learn on their own and how to teach each other the
necessary skills to complete the project.
When the project is
completed, the students communicate what they have done
and learned through presentations to other students and
Learning Theories to Consider
Yvonne Scott challenges her fourth/fifth
grade students to create a butterfly garden after the school
receives special funding from a grant. The garden will consist
of a mural describing different species of butterflies on
plaques that will include information such as wing span,
coloration and life cycle. Although the fourth and fifth
graders create the garden, it will be a place of learning
for the entire school.
The teacher begins the lesson by asking questions
to determine what students know and what skills and knowledge
they will need to make a butterfly garden. As the students
brainstorm they realize they need lots of information about
soil, plants, and the type of garden that will attract butterflies.
They also learn they will need math and writing skills to
design and chronicle the garden. Yvonne Scott suggests that
the students form two teams - a butterfly research team
and a garden layout team. As the project develops, the teams
present their research and drawings of the garden to the
entire class. They record the feedback from the presentation
and based on the feedback, present a final plan for the
In this scenario, Yvonne Scott applies Learning
in a Social Context
by placing students in a communicative and interactive learning
culture. Students work collaboratively in teams, and as
their individual talents emerge, they become teachers as
well as learners. She applies the theory of Cognitive
Processing as she challenges
the students to create the garden, while helping them retrieve
what they already know and what they need to know to become
problem solvers. As the project develops over a ten-week
period, Yvonne Scott sees the culture of the classroom change
dramatically. The theory of Culture and Learning shares that students make sense out of their environment
by their own personal experiences. As the students become
personally involved and responsible for segments of the
work needed to build the garden, they are experiencing a
shift in culture. Students learn to rely on each other for
"pieces of the puzzle" instead of working independently.
They also learn to appreciate and value each other for who
they are and the talent each student brings to the project.
Diversity is viewed as a big asset in this multiethnic and
Throughout the project the students are asked
"what do you wonder; what do you think?" They
also discuss their specific problem solving strategies.
These are examples of Metacognition, a learning theory that describes how students learn
to think about their own thinking.
Sequenced Writing Assignments
- Make a list of up to five key ideas from
each of the four learning theories presented: learning
in a social context, cognitive processing, culture and
learning and metacognition. Next, try to identify a way the teacher applied
each of those key ideas as she planned and executed her
learning activities. For example, under "culture,"
you might list, "extended group projects and thematic
units selected by students with their teacher help develop
strong relationships in multicultural classrooms
butterfly garden project included many components organized
around student work groups and was conducted over a six
You may find it useful to put your list in the form of
a table. We have provided templates in either Word
format if you choose to do this.
You may find that some key ideas you listed from the learning
theories are not represented in the scenario. For now,
leave a blank space after them. You will also find that
you are repeating some of the things the teacher did because
they are applications of key ideas from more than one
- Review your list of key ideas and fill
in the blanks from Assignment A by suggesting things the
teacher could do to apply the key ideas you listed but
did NOT see represented already. Suggest other practical
things the teacher could do to incorporate key learning
theory ideas into his classroom activities.
- Reflect on the completed table and record
your reflections about how the theories intersect or interact.
How might your own teaching practices take advantage of
what you see happening in this scenario?
- As an alternative to these tasks, follow
the directions of your group leader or the teacher of
your class to write about this scenario and how one or
more learning theories might apply to it. Or decide as
a group how you might use it as a case for further study
Samples and tools to help you with the
- Sample rubrics in html
format to assess your writings
sample for Scenario Four, Assignments A and B, (in
PDF format) to use as a model
- Templates in Word
format for the assignments