First off, this was a HARD unit to plan. This had been a mapping unit I did last year for How We Organize Ourselves theme. When I first looked at the unit plan, i saw that the central idea and lines of inquiry had nothing to connect it to the trandisciplinary theme. I did know that it had to stay a mapping unit....my solution was to really focus on how Maths came into play with mapping, since Maths is a system we use to make sense of our world. I had never done such a Maths focused UOI before, I was a bit nervous but it turned out alright
Finding Out was pretty teacher centred here. It was often an "I teach it, you practice it, I give you feedback" kind of thing. I did continuously try to link it back to the Maths aspect if this unit. I wanted them to see the connection between MATH and MAPPING. I found that they couldn't see the connection unless I showed them the Math in the textbooky, worksheety kind of way that they were used to. Then, I would say something like " You are doing THIS Mathy kind of thing so you can apply it to THIS Mappy kind of thing." Okay...I may not have worded exactly like that but that is the basic idea!
Eventually, we connected the Math and Map skills together in a T-Chart. I am still thinking about how to do this step of the cycle in a more student centred way....but then again, I suppose these methods still have a place as long as the purpose is clear to the teachers and students. It wasn't just busy work....I tried to make the objective and possible applications clear.
We thought we would Go Further by making sure we "got it" by working together to make a class map. The good old "taping the floor" trick came back again. It's fun to nudge the students with the right questions to make them think some things are their idea!
I didn't make a Sorting Out page.....I thought we were nailing that in both the Finding Out and Going Further. Also, we kept crossing off the Components of Maps list we made during Tuning in as we mastered various mapping skills. I could be wrong but I'm starting to think the Inquiry Cycle is just a guideline, not something that we have to chain ourselves to!
After we finished Going Further, the class was ready to make their own maps. They had been making their own at home and bringing them in...and also they always were practicing in their sketch books. It was great extra formative assessment, providing great chances to give feedback and tips. But now was the REAL DEAL! They had practiced all that needed to be practiced, found out all that they could! Now it was time to apply what they knew in Making Conclusions.
Before we could begin, we created our own assessment. It made sense to look at the Components of Maps list from Tuning In to base our rubric on. Also, dividing the descriptors by lines of inquiry really made sure we were hitting what we needed to hit. It led to a lot of lively debate. Think-Pair-Share was a great way to make sure everyone got to share their opinions.
I shared these questions below with the class before they began. They needed to be able to answer them in their websites once their map was complete. So, they needed to consider the answers before they got started. It helped to focus them. Also, questions such as "Why would you make a map of your bedroom? Don't you already know your way around it? Who needs that?" really made them think about the true purpose of maps.
I had the students look at all the pages I have posted here to answer these questions below. Action did happen throughout this unit. It was small but still showed that students were interested in this unit and were taking it home. Action included students:
I really wish I had included more GPS applications in this unit. Then again...this is Grade 2 and it was hard to find iPad apps that were age appropriate. I will look into it further. If you know of any kid-friendly GPS software or iPad apps, do let me know!
Altogether, I liked how this unit combined Math and Social Studies in a practical way. Also, combining Math into my UOI gave me loads of time to focus on reading and writing. When you integrate subjects, it really opens up your timetable! I got to do so much stuff in language that I normally wouldn't have time to do. It really sold me on the value of integrating subjects, it goes a long way towards that never-ending teacher woe of not having enough time to cover what we need to cover. A long way..but never all the way! If any of you have completely solved that problem, let me know how!
Leigh Ann Fitch
Thank you for visiting! I am a Canadian who teaches and lives in Oman. My goal for this blog is to improve my teaching by learning from fellow colleagues all over the world and sharing my reflections!