Here's a fun activity that could be done at anytime of the year to introduce or review the PYP concepts with your class. My co-teacher, the awesome Audrey Pagoli shared it in our collaborative planning meeting and I fell in love! It's a great way for the students to look at one thing through the different lenses that the PYP Concepts provide. It can also be used with just about anything across the curriculum. Here, I used it as a whole-class activity to look at our class stuffy, Domo...it's a bit messy and my whiteboard marker stopped working...but you get the idea!
This was a great activity to kick off our Who We Are unit and as an "introduce yourself" task at the beginning of the school year. I am also feeling this as the cover page for student portfolios:
My other Grade 4 partner in crime, Kristi Wheeldon, took this activity and used it to explore materials and matter in our current unit, How the World Works. I really appreciate activities that can be used across curriculum areas and can be easily pulled out of the PYP toolbox.
Attached is a very generic copy of Exploring the Key Concepts. However, it is a very simple thing to whip up a 3X3 table and tweak it to suit what you are doing. Happy exploring!
I also found another handy resources that most of my class love to use. It is called SuperSpeedMath2.0
by Chris Biffle. It is great for those students who enjoy such practice and it is based on self-challenge. It includes more than multiplication with addition facts, subtraction facts, division facts and fraction facts. You can download an explanation pack too. This helps you understand how to use it, but once you get your head around it, its two minutes of practice and fun for each child per day.
Generating Questions and Sorting Questions are Student Keys to Driving an Inquiry. I am always trying to find effective ways to include student voice in planning an inquiry. These two simple but effective resources help me to hand over the keys to the inquiry vehicle so students can drive their own inquiries.
Students can write the central idea in the middle, and begin formulating questions for each concept.
For students to identify their most powerful questions that could guide their inquiry and deepen their understanding, they can sort their questions. The Generative-Genuine double continuum is a great tool to sort questions. Inquiries need questions that are both generative (that take us somewhere) and genuine (that we care about) and this does the trick just nicely. I named each quadrant in order of value to inquiry as:
Although students pursue one DRIVING question, the thinking involved in generating questions and the insight it provides is valuable information about student learning.
When asked to explain inquiry, this is how I make sense of the different inquiry cycles available.
I have made a table with the cycles or processes I use and aligned them with Kath Murdoch’s model. We use the cycle that best supports the student's inquiry and leads to ACTION.
Many cycles or processes have elements that are key to a quality inquiry, such as, the traits for writing, or, the elements of music for composition. I find these equally useful.
As inquiry is an active present verb, it is also important to plan for inquiry where students are actively connecting and thinking within the discipline(s). For example, students should not only study scientists and their discoveries, but also experience BEING a scientist to make his or her own discoveries.
In addition there are skills and key questions, even attitudes, that can be used at different stages to support the inquiry. For example, you can use the questions within Problem Solving Talk and Problem Solving Steps for the Math Problem Solving Process. Alternatively, you can use the Question Frames for the Reading Comprehension Cycle.
These individual posters printed large and displayed, assist students in the problem solving process in Math. Specific questions are selected to support each stage. I reworked them from my original post Math Is How We Organise Ourselves to use in my classroom during problem solving situations mainly in Math but I can see their potential to be useful beyond Math, possibly in social interactions in the playground.
The skills and attitudes of students are equally important to planning and assessment as their knowledge.
I really like the PYP Transdiciplinary Skills and look for ways to explicitly integrate them into my instruction. It is a touchstone in helping me make student learning more "split screen", a term that I picked up from the fabulous, amazing and incredible Kath Murdoch in one of her workshops. Not only do I want students to learn content, but I also want them to learn how to learn. Here is a picture that hopefully shows what I want to be going on in the minds of my students:
Anyway....one Transdiciplinary Skill I find not only important for students to learn but also a skill I feel increasingly confident in making explicit is analysis which is:
taking knowledge or ideas apart; separating into component parts; seeing relationships; finding unique characteristics.
One way my class does this is when they analyse a piece of art. One of my aims for this year was to integrate art into my instruction more regularly. The class worked together to analyse a Piet Mondrian painting....you can see below pretty clearly how we went about it:
Students really liked analysing other works of art. This has been a great activity to start art lessons and as the students learn more Elements of Art, they can expand their analysis.
I am explicitly teaching analysis when we look at writing too, just substitute the Elements of Art with the 6+1 Traits of Writing!
Altogether, this was the most fun I had teaching punctuation and conventions! I know this topic will still need review and revision with the class but it was certainly a great way to look at it deeply in a student centred, authentic way.
ProDivas is a simple sharing approach, teacher to teacher, for our professional development. We collect and share bite-sized practical ideas. Once you take a bite, you may be self-motivated to eat the whole meal! We aim to find ideas supported by research to then apply for “best practice” but some ideas are too good to miss and are just simple “teacher tips”.