Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Art of Taking Risks

This week, a common theme for us in 4L was risk taking! We began our week with whole school dance performances as a culminating project from our Cultural Movement unit in PE. Many of us were extremely nervous with such large audiences, but our support for one another and enthusiasm soon took over, ensuring that we had a wonderful time! 

Krista, Veronika and Elena tell a story through dance

Steven, Domantas, Benas and Yigit begin their performance

Aleksandras, Basel, Migle, Eva, Sofija and Yelyzaveta mid-performance

Sofia, Gerda, Shourya, Rojus, Nora and Antanas wind down their dance in the gym

In unit, we finished our group research on the basics of six major world religions. When posed the question, "Now What?" we decided to reflect using our next step slips. We were so reflective and thoughtful in our responses, that it was almost impossible to choose which step to take next. So, we took all the slips in our research groups of 3, and sorted them. What we found was that we were still very curious, but we had many different ideas about how to complete further research. 

Krista, Eva, and Liza explain their sort

Aleksandras, Steven and Domantas share their sort

Nora, Gerda and Veronika explain how they sorted

Basel shares how he, Benas and Rojus derived such a simple sort

Sofia, Shourya, and Migle share their thinking

Antanas, Yigit and Elena's sort

The next thing we needed to establish was what we wanted to inquire into. We still hadn't answered many of our big 'puzzles' from the beginning of the unit, and we had, through research, generated many new questions to be answered. So we spent time independently looking through all of our notes from research in school and through church visits to develop some of our independent inquiries. We then shared our inquiries with one another. 

In order to keep our inquiries open, some of us took very closed questions and made them broader so we could seek input from any religious group and still move towards answering our inquiry. 

See our inquiries HERE

We used a modified version of our Genius Hour contracts to help us communicate exactly what our focus would be for our inquiry time each day. 

Aleksandras refers to his contract as he reflects on what he'd like to accomplish today during research time

We then spent time generating questions we could use when interviewing or visiting places that might yield the types of responses we were hoping for. We also took the time to organise and set up pages where we could collect information and thinking. 

Steven and Elena visit the Learning Wall to further ponder independent inquiries

Gerda and Krista look through their notes to determine personal inquiries

Veronika organises her thinking and sets up her page for further trip notes

Then came the risk-taking part... we had to begin to search for primary sources. We researched places we might visit, people who might come to speak to us and of course, did a bit of research in our books and online. Sofia R. became particularly curious about Judaism, so she called and arranged a trip to the Vilnius Choral Synagogue for our whole class. It was the first trip students arranged on their own, so it was a bit intimidating, but this inspired more of us to try. 

Benas is inspired by a world map of religions as Eva sorts out thinking

Aleksandras and Steven pursuing independent inquries

Several of us grew very curious after Basel shared his prayer rug and came up with the idea that we could interview Yigit's mother about Islam. We were fortunate enough to have her visit us on Thursday. She shared about her religion and answered many of our burning questions. We realised how tricky it can be to listen carefully to a speaker to catch important information that might lead to deeper understanding, while also jotting notes about things we'd like to remember. 

Ms.Yasemin explains Islam to grade 4

In honour of Lithuania's regained independence on March 11th, our Lithuanian department organised a visit from a university professor. She spoke to us on the topic of 'Multicultural Lithuania'. It was a fabulous opportunity to hear about world religions and their ties to and presence in Lithuania. We connected much of what was presented to our current unit of study and had an interesting discussion following all of our learning on Thursday. 

Grades 3, 4 and 5 learning about Multicultural Lithuania

In between our research, guest speakers and church visits, we spent time processing our learning independently and in small groups each day. We have made wonderful connections and drawn many thoughtful conclusions. Some of the feedback we gave was that 'talking to real people' and 'visiting places where we can see things in action' helps us remember our learning better, so we have planned a trip to Kaunas next week to visit a mosque, synagogue and Russian Orthodox church. Thank you to Nora for being a risk-taker and organising our visit to the Russian Orthodox church. 

Sofia and Sofija process their thinking after concluding some of their research

In language arts this week, we continued our work with poetry. We very much enjoyed exploring 'Found Poetry' and the new elements it brought to our writing. We investigated several examples and then decided to be risk takers as we jumped in and experimented with making some of our own. Some of us chose to use text from books we were reading, others of us chose to cut words that inspired us from magazines, while still, others chose to use longer text found in magazines to alter. Our results were amazing and we were delighted that even our shiest writers were eager to share their compositions this week! 

Shourya shares his Moon poem

Migle shares her Rainy Day poem

Basel shares his Summer poem

Working on a piece of blackout poetry utilising one of our favourite books

Gerda's found poem in progress

Krista and Veronika in their creative process
A found poem 

In math, we wrapped up our work in Unit 5. We practiced rounding large numbers by breaking down the steps to find a high and low estimate. We also reviewed the base-ten system by finding the value of digits in different places. To get more practice with large numbers, we compared data from the World Tour section of our math books. In order to prepare for our upcoming unit assessment, we completed a self-assessment and then spent time working in our journals or playing games from our class blog to help improve the skills we felt were still challenging for us. 

Another risk-taking opportunity presented itself this week when grade 3 students were struggling to recall their subtraction strategies. Two of our classmates agreed to go to grade 3 and present a Subtraction Number Talk on their own! Way to go Sofia and Nora! 

As always, we ended our week with Genius Hour Passion Projects. We celebrated with our friend, Rojus, who finished his project on Diseases that Changed the World. 

Rojus shares his poster

We also got to support our friend, Veronika, as she took the risk to share her mid-project dance routine with us. 

Veronika performs her dance for feedback

With our new contracts and progress tracking each week, we are becoming more successful and independent in maintaining focus and reaching our learning goals. We continue to inspire and encourage one another to take the risks needed to achieve all of the great things we put our minds to! 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Lezlie and children, you are doing truly amazing things:)!!! I wish i could go with you to see all the churches:).