Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Value of a Focused Plan

We spent a lot of time in 4L on the value of a focused plan. It seemed to be a common thread throughout our learning this week, as we reached some points of frustration with tasks that weren't going as we had hoped. We spent time discussing the importance of zooming out or taking a step back sometimes to think logically about what's not working and why. We also realised that when our initial plan was unclear, the best solution was to re-focus and find our purpose. 

This week in Unit, we started by sharing our learning from all of the workshops. We chose our own methods for this. 

Putting all the learning together

We then began to delve into independent inquiry. We first looked back at our board of inquiry to clarify our purpose for the unit. 

We took time to look back through our notes and questions from last week. The task was to find 'evidence from early civilisations that is still present today' in connection with line of inquiry two. 

Once we chose our evidence, we began to get curious and inquire into this evidence in order to become knowledgeable about it. In the past weeks, we spent time digging into how exactly we 'get curious' and what it means to truly inquire, so this was our chance to practice and apply our strategies. 

Antanas, Nora, Domantas and Steven begin their independent inquiries
Krista, Yigit and Basel research online

What we realised was that to become knowledgeable, we needed to let go of the product and instead, emphasise the process by investigating the evidence from as many articles, videos, and photos as we could find. Some of us realised quite early how valuable a clear focus was to successful research.

Shourya and Migle conduct research through reading

We will continue to work with our research and begin to make connections between our findings and the characteristics that make up a civilisation. We will also push our thinking beyond the past to connect these artefacts to their significance and impact on life in the present day. 

We also enjoyed transdisciplinary learning this week as we created Ancient Egyptian masks in Art. We have been sketching our ideas for the past week and we finally got to begin making the moulds!

In math this week, we spent time self-assessing and then taking initiative to seek help and extra practice in areas where we needed support. We made a clear plan of what we needed to improve and then took steps to achieve success. Some of us played games online, some of us completed pages in our journals, while others took on challenges to extend our mathematical thinking. 

Yelyzaveta and Veronika play math games online

After identifying areas of need, students engage in games to practice specific skills
On Thursday, we completed the Unit 4 assessment and spent time on Friday inspecting and correcting our mistakes. We continue to work on keeping a growth mindset by not letting our mistakes define us, but rather to learn and grow from them. We are also focusing on using tools and reference materials around the room- including our peers- to help ourselves.

Steven checks his measurement for accuracy 

Basel reworks a problem to find his mistake

Benas and Elena turn to their Student Reference Books for guidance

In language arts, we revisited our prompt using our six-trait rubric. We completed a self-assessment and then compared our scores with the teacher's. Next, we reflected on any trait scores with discrepancies to determine the reason for these differences. From there, we thought about who we are as writers right now. We used our Friday Letter time to communicate our thinking to our parents and to set new goals for ourselves in this area. 

Krista and Elena revisit their prompt writing and rate each trait using the rubric

Student self-assessment using the 6-Trait Rubric

We began our study of Digital Citizenship on Wednesday. We first investigated critical thinking by looking at this image: 

and watching a couple of short videos: 

followed by a discussion of a couple of questions:

  • How do you know if a picture, video or information you read online is true/real?
  • How can you find out if you're unsure?

We are quite savvy internet users and the discussion from day one was very rich. 

4L shares how they could find out whether or not information they find online is true

On day 2, we watched this video:

and discussed our thoughts in small groups to the following questions:
  • What's happening in the video?
  • How do you think people are feeling?
  • Have you ever felt this way?
  • What does it mean to be balanced?
  • What can you do? What changes can you make? 
Again, a very interesting and heartfelt conversation ensued when we joined back together to share our thoughts. 

Nora, Eva and Benas listen as Domantas shares his thinking

Rojus, Yigit, Steven, Gerda, Yelyzaveta and Veronika discuss the purpose of the video

Shourya, Elena, Sofia and Aleksandras engage in conversation regarding how people feel in the video

Krista, Migle, Antanas and Basel discuss their thoughts

 A glimpse into our conversation following the 'Disconnect to Connect' video prompt.

Finally, on day 3, we watched this short video about internet safety. 

Though we are aware of the importance of being safe, we realised that we must be vigilant and pay attention to our privacy settings. We set about googling one another (as well as some of our parents) and there were definitely some surprising results! 

We look forward to continuing our study of what it means to be a good digital citizen next week, as well. 

On Tuesday, we participated in Global School Play Day. We valued the time with friends, the opportunity to learn new games and to collaborate with other students across PYP. 

In honour of Play Day, we also visited the park on Tuesday. It was a chilly afternoon, but that didn't stop us from engaging in meaningful, creative play. We built structures from sticks, continued to chip away at the ice blocking the stream, investigated bubbles in freezing temperatures and found ways to slide down hills without sleds. 

Genius Hour Passion Projects have posed some difficulties as some of us have found ourselves stuck, but we were delighted to celebrate with another classmate who finished a project from last cycle. 

Steven shares his new football trick video.
We are excited to see how our projects take our learning deeper and beyond our classroom walls this cycle as we strive to achieve 3 or more of the 21st century goals. 

Nora leads her after school Save Cats Club. Here she organises students from grades 3, 4 and 5 as they seek to build play houses and collect cat food donations for animal shelters in Vilnius. 

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