Okay, a lot of schools are using Renzulli techniques and resources to help with their progressive approach to the classroom. Schools talk about "school wide enrichment" but it just sounds like a bunch of fun electives. What does it mean?
Here is a very clear and short (and funny) video to explain what a teacher is trying to do in a progressive classroom to serve the needs of different learners and get them engaged.
So what is "school wide enrichment" doing?
The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) (Renzulli, 1977; Renzulli & Reis, 1985, 1997) is widely implemented as an enrichment program used with academically gifted and talented students and a magnet theme/enrichment approach for all schools interested in high-end learning and developing the strengths and talents of all students. The major goal of the SEM is the application of gifted education pedagogy to total school improvement. The SEM provides enriched learning experiences and higher learning standards for all children through three goals; developing talents in all children, providing a broad range of advanced-level enrichment experiences for all students, and providing advanced follow-up opportunities for young people based on their strengths and interests. The SEM focuses on enrichment for all students through high levels of engagement and the use of enjoyable and challenging learning experiences that are constructed around students' interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression.
When you are on a tour and the school says that they do "school wide enrichment" it appears to be a time in the week when the children pick from a number of interesting "electives". They could be things like origami, gardening, tap dancing, crocheting, etc. They spend several weeks exploring these interests and move on to another. The explanation usually ends there, but from what I can gather it goes much further. I have done a lot of dry reading on this. Heh, youtube show us a cute video about school wide enrichment does!
It seems that what the schools are attempting with this time of fun and engaging activities is training the kids (without them realizing it) to inquire about ANY new subject in a certain way. They investigate, master and teach or explain the skill when they are done. Each time they approach a new activity they are investigating, mastering and passing on the info in the same way. When they come to math or social studies or science they know how to approach it... investigate, master and explain in the same way.
If there are educators out there who would like to add to this or have plain language resources that I can pass on - please let us know! You can also check out blogzulli.com.