The Shape of a Unit.

Each unit is different. Each unit has a different shape. 
Some of them are straight linear lines, start at point A, pass point B, end at Point C. 
Some of them are more root-like, branching off into many different directions.

Modelling and Language

I was modelling a math lesson the other day and the teacher who was observing took notes of everything I said. She typed it up and sent it back to me. I found it fascinating to see my own words reflected back to me. Great reflection. I highly recommend it.
I want you to show me eight circles (also demonstrate self) Vocalised how each person did it… rows, lines, groups If you were going to erase two, which two would you erase? Don't do it yet… just show me which ones you will erase. Ok now Erase. What made you do it that way? What made you choose those circles to erase? Was their an easier way to do that? Can you now draw ‘12’ crosses for me. Mine is organised like… how did you organise yours? Can you organise yours a bit more easily? How can you arrange 12 crosses differently? How many do we have here? 12. I'd like you to write 12 here. All students write the number 12. Then I'm going to write this little sign here -. 12 -. What does this sign mean? Now tell me how you're go…

The Meta Unit (pt 1)

The Meta Unit (pt 1) This is part 1 of a series of blog posts tracking a change in practice we are trying this year.
This idea came from our frustration with a very busy schedule where sequential Units of Inquiry left little breathing room on the calendar. In order to give ourselves a bit more room on the schedule, we have decided that each Primary class will designate one of their units of Inquiry as a META unit. 
After our initial planning session, two different types of Meta units emerged:
1) The Long Term Project Based Learning
Grade 5/6 will take a unit and do a year long project. On Friday afternoons every week, as a school we have a period dedicated to Community Time/Passion Projects. This class will take that time and apply it to a UOI once a week. The students will negotiate and decide what that will look like.

2) The Central Core
Grade 1 & 2 and Grade 3/4 are going with a different approach. They choose one unit that will act as a philosophical core for the year. It will be …

Playing with Models

We have been playing with a couple of models, looking for some feedback.

We are trying to make our planning visible for parents to follow the inquiry. We are using metaphors to help them follow along at home so they get how we plan and how an inquiry unfolds.

Would love some feedback.

Good Questions

(also posted at THE LEAD LEARNER, staff blog of Kyoto International School)

Before making a transition to snack, or outside play, or lunch, we gather the children on the mat. We ask them to ask us GOOD question about 'something' (usually the first thing that pops into our heads, clouds, alligators, mountains, etc). When they ask a GOOD question, they can go.

So, what is a GOOD question? And how does an 5 year old know what a GOOD question is?
To support this, we are using this visual metaphor:

A small fish question is a question that you already know the answer to (or one that doesn't really make sense)

A medium fish question is a question that you can probably figure out if you think about it

A big fish question is a question that you don't know the answer to, but you really want to

We have noticed in the several weeks we have started doing this quick little daily activity:

the questions are becoming progressively more BIG FISH orientedthe children are proud when they ask a…