There is a definite buzz in the air. The new unit has started. Students are excited and eager to know what we will be inquiring into.
|TUNING-IN as it rains outside. All we needed was hot chocolate milk 🙂|
Our new unit on Natural Hazards has just completed its first week. I had to pull things down from my boards and so they look fairly bare, but we do a lot reading and reflecting everyday, so it is slowly filling up with students’ work.
We worked on the L poster twice. The second time to sort out the information.
|Cooperation, the “Attitude” being the lens though which we peer at the unit.|
I will be creating a lot of scenarios where the students will have to work in groups as they need to learn to cooperate and organize themselves. Learning about how cooperation feels like, sounds like and looks likes was a very fruitful learning engagement. It set the tone and mood for the unit. The students keep referring to the board whenever there is a conflict. Most of them, to my great surprise and glee, resolve their conflict without adult intervention. I hear talk such as:
The students are working on their own choice of hazard. They are using all phases of the inquiry cycle to guide them. As they were “finding out” they had to reflect on their findings to see whether they were addressing their guiding questions. Kids do tend to get distracted and deviate from tasks. I do too. At times, they asked questions which caused them to go further and deepen their understanding. For example, how is the sound of a tornado alert different from that of an ambulance? As I walked around, I saw information scattered all over their posters. It was hard to locate information. How could they present it so that I could easily find answers to my questions? They clearly realized they needed to “Sort out” the information. Three days of hard work on posters had to be undone.
They understood why.
These students are amazing and a determined lot. They have come up with posters that reflect most areas of the inquiry cycle.
A student took charge of a 45 minute lesson to demonstrate how some of the disasters occur.( I am glad he chose not to do the volcano experiment because it does not really address any on our learning outcomes.) This child is usually very quiet and reticent. But he changed a lot during this unit. The power of emotional connect with the topic was very evident here.
|How cyclones look from a satellite picture using water and tissue paper.|
|The nature of a tornado|
Consolidating, researching, cooperating…
You will notice how we start with 1 and lead on to 4 in the continuum. One of the main criticisms about rubrics is that it curtails excellence. Who decides what is the best? Why should we start with the best when the best can always be outdone!
Our inquiry cycle continues. We will be using tools and learning strategies that help the student delve deeper into the content. Let’s see where it takes us!