Sunday, November 13, 2016

Time for Change

It was another fabulous week in 4L. As the students have decided that they'd like to begin documenting their learning on their own individual blogs, I will now be the sole contributor to this one. We will begin setting up their blogs next week. Hooray for student independence! 

In language arts, we began to investigate how RAFT writing plays a role in what we read and how we write. 

To explore this idea and get some practice with it, we read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. This helped us understand how telling a story from a different perspective might change the way it's told as well as how it's understood or perceived. 
Nora adds characteristics to our RAFT brainstorm/plan
Aleksandras and Rojus; Nora and Elena draft letters to Mack from Julia from "The One and Only Ivan"

We investigated Line of Inquiry 1: Different types of adaptations as we completed some simple research to find and label animal adaptations. 

We then went to the book we've been reading together as a class called The One and Only Ivan. This story is told from a Gorilla's point of view in the form of diary entries of sort. Since we are well acquainted with each character, we completed a shared writing and a pair writing where we changed the Role, Audience, Format and Topic to see how the writing changes. This will tie in with our writing when we begin to write about our imaginary creatures in their imaginary habitats. 
Polar bear adaptations research 
Platypus adaptation research
We then began to dig a little deeper and realized we needed to move toward Line 2, which is Adaptations support survival. We understood that we can't fully understand why animals need their adaptations unless we get the big picture or understand the "story" of our animal. Therefore, we zoomed out a bit and began to gather information on our animal's diet, habitat and predators and make connections between adaptations and each of these factors. 

We then connect these adaptations to other parts of our research to get the bigger picture

Zooming out- we seek to tell the whole animal story by digging deeper into diet, predators and habitat

Finally, we synthesise this information and create one graphic/mind map showing what we've learned

All of our research will support us as we move on to build our animal habitats in art and write about different interactions and survival of our imaginary creatures. 

In math, we continued to work with data handling finding landmarks in our data. We then began to analyze how we use this information and why it might be helpful considering a certain set of data. The students also moved from mental subtraction to completing subtraction problems on paper. We concluded our work with number talks on subtraction, however that does not mean they cannot still work on these with you at home. If you've never had a number talk with your child, I encourage you to ask them to complete one with you. They are pretty amazing problem solvers! 
Shourya celebrates that he has discovered a new strategy for subtraction that pushes him to think more deeply

Basel demonstrates his favorite strategy for subtraction that he has found works in both Number Talks and on paper!

Number talks have expanded to include two problems so we can challenge ourselves accordingly

Students organize themselves by head size so we may begin to analyse the data we have collected

We also got to spend time in the park with 4A this week. This week we discovered a great climbing hill! We also enjoyed throwing rocks to crack the ice and puzzled over many of the strange effects our actions had on the ice layer and the water below. Several of the students spent time observing the ducks and applied their newly acquired knowledge from research as they analysed different adaptations and behaviours that have changed since the pond has frozen over. 
Shourya, Yigit and Rafael show off the big hunk of snow they found!

Migle and Eva make their way up the big hill so they can turn around and slide back down again through the leaves

Sofija chips away at ice on the pond as she explores the changes in our environment as seasons have changed. Many students felt compelled to break up the ice to create more opportunities for the ducks to search for food

Finally, on Friday, we had our creativity time. We presented some of the creative projects we've been working on at home. 
Migle's newspaper basket- she was inspired by a clip we watched together before break

Krista shows off her passion for fashion as she displays the many fashions she's sewed and created for Barbie (with a little help from Grandma)

Gerda shows how her passion for Harry Potter shines through in an artistic cup she has decorated to look like Harry himself! 
Elena mixes two of her passions: art and gaming, to create a mask of one of her favorite characters

As we continue to seek inspiration and develop our 21st skills, we have changed the way we will carry out this time in class. We began by watching Kid President's "Pep Talk". We summarised the big ideas we took away from his message.

We then referred back to the Adaptable Mind video we watched a couple of weeks back to see if what we were working on at home truly covered those 5 skills we deemed important: 
  • creativity
  • multi-disciplinary thinking
  • empathy
  • curiosity
  • initiative
We asked ourselves whether what we were creating could tick off all the boxes here. We decided that although following a DIY project plan is fun, it does not really show much... other than the fact that we know how to follow directions! 

Therefore, we will move our Friday homeroom time over to something similar to a model that Google uses called Genius Hour.  We will follow these three guidelines: 
  • You must begin with a DRIVING QUESTION
  • You must complete RESEARCH and share the resources you used
  • You must SHARE your project with the class (or the world, no big deal!)

We realised that we needed to find a good place to begin. Therefore, we looked inward and began to think about our own passions in life. These are the things we LOVE learning about. These are the things we'd do all day if we didn't have other obligations and duties. I told the students they could have the weekend to think about their passions, but several of them did not need another minute. They posted their ideas on our board. 

Next week we will begin formulating "thick" questions that will drive our research and project building. The students will have 7 weeks to complete this project and will plan to present it before we leave for Christmas Break in December. They will be encouraged to seek advice and participation from parents as this is a wonderful activity that families can do together! 

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