Our Unit of Inquiry: Personal journeys show the way that people change and can lead to new opportunities.
One way to map change overtime is to record our thoughts onto a Voice Thread. The best thing about a voice Thread, Kyle discovered, is that we can share it on the blog. The really cool thing about Voice Thread is that anyone can add to our discussion.
We are excited to share our thoughts with other schools. We soon realised we had a problem,
They can come to us… umm no, who will leave their grown ups.
We will Skype… ummm no, America is asleep when we are at school.
We can use the blog and we can share our Voice Thread… umm YES!
This fits perfectly into our Unit of Inquiry, no extra work. The children are learning how to express themselves thoughtfully and articulate clearly (speaking and listening skills, Language Arts curriculum). The added value is the audience. The children are mindful that their words are being shared around the world.
A huge thank you to our ICT facilitator Elif Raskin for helping the children. Next time they will work in small groups to support each other master the tool. Voice Thread is a focus tool for us this year. We feel it is a valuable technological tool for children build metacognitive skills (think about their thinking0 and support language growth.
Today we had a maths lesson in the library. Brian Farrell ( our teacher-librarian) has given us access to a portfolio of his professional quality photographs showing patterns. He created this portfolio especially for the kindergarten children, and as a free shared educational resource. Please respect creative common licensing and attribute the images to Brian Farrell.
How did this work?
The children discussed all the things you can get in a library (books, DVD’s, audio stories, toys and computers to use). Next we introduced the concept of a librarian being an expert at finding you things you need.
Brian Farrell discussing patterning with Kindergarten.
Brian shared and engaged in discussions abut patterns. He showed both man made and natural patterns, asking the children to make reasoned decisions about their chooses. Rita Kar (our librarian) added a collection of books showing patterns in fiction and non-fiction books, which the children could borrow. Great team work, challenging the children’s understanding.
So we have made a stop animation film about Mars and a book to go with the film. Next week we will be making the audio recording for the book, yes it is going to be an audio book! Grade 4G have made a trailer for the film and posters.
The children have decided to share it with you in our assembly.
Is that it?
Since this is K-Perfect, it is most certainly not the end of this child generated inquiry. The children decided people can see the film for free but must pay for the book (future careers in marketing here!). They had a very passionate debate about what to do with the money.
The children finally decided to give the money to a homeless shelter in Kannai and after the earth quake they rethought this. They now want half of the money to go to the homeless shelter in Kannai and half to the earthquake victim support because,
“We want to care for people and everyone needs money”. (There list became huge and we would have needed a UN budget).
They still want to have a party for some people at the Kannai shelter because,
“We don’t want them to be sad and we want them to know we care”.
Yeah… I have had to stop myself crying a few times during the discussions!
I have tried to edit this, but it does not show the hours that went into this discussion over many weeks. It doesn’t convey the changes in debating and thinking. I did want to share it though, because, as ever, I feel these children have incredible capacities for sharing.
I found this great short video about game based learning, which is a little bit different from just playing any video game. I found it very interesting, I hope you do to.
Do the children play video games, are they educational?
Are they addicted?
“Here Ms Zoe, here’s one even you can do.”
The favourite game at the moment is called TRACE. You have to make a person move across obstacles by designing a path. I find it extremely frustrating. There is so much to consider. There are obstacles, gravity, pathways and timing. Today the children came to me with the simplest version they could find. This illustrates my point perfectly. The children see this as a time to learn, problem solve, share and help others.
What about K-Perfect and game based learning?
Here is a picture from today
I have come to think of the class as a colony of bees. They all have roles. Today we have one bee working alone solving a problem in a game. Another bee has come in for some advice. They work alone, they work together, but this is not an isolationist activity. They talk to each other to solve problems, share strategies. The language used is impressive.
Are they addicted?
No… Do they love it and want to get to the next level?… yes. They do want to use this game most of all. Think about it… we all have a favourite addiction: TV show, best run to beat or book to read. Moderation in all things. This is something we need to teach the children and model ourselves.
Watch this space and I will get the children to tell you about Trace.
Celebration of learning Publishing Party- party planning.
Unit of inquiry- How we organise ourselves.
Here is a video of the children writing their lists for the celebration of learning, publishing party. Observe the great discussion. See their list of ideas outside the classroom. The video shows the children working together to make a list of food and items they would like.
NOTE: Great collaboration, cooperation and respecting others.
Applying taught skills: list making, phonics and editing work.
Now remember this was only about ten minutes of their day!
How well is my child doing learning about technology?
Today we created expert badges. Every child picked their area of technological expertise and we made them a sticky label. They can now help other adults or children. Needless to say they are very proud. PLEASE ask them about their badge.
The children have had the laptops for two weeks now. I have watched them develop a learning community. One person learns something and shares their expertise. This has really made the children consider what they are good at and has made them verbalise their skills. Sometimes I explicitly teach something to one child and they become the expert and share it with others.
I generally do not teach something twice. Voicethread has been the exception to this, but now I have a little ‘how to’ comment at the beginning of the presentation (I made this as I was teaching the class) and left another one with feedback. The children checked it out and changed their recordings.
This voice thread is the result of a field trip exploring limited space in Yokohama. It is part of our unit of inquiry. The Japanese department took us for a walking tour. The children took the photographs.
NOTE: The children worked out how to do video recording by themselves. I did not teach them this. My ‘how to’ and feedback comments are on the first slide.