The Island of Ablai (pt.12)

Pt. 1 Planning

Pt. 2 Creating the Environment

Pt. 3 Money Matters
Pt. 4 Negotiating the World
Pt. 5 Natural Resources and Manufacturing
Pt. 6 Profits and Expenses
Pt. 7 Setting the Price
Pt. 8 Profits and Growth
Pt. 9 Supply and Demand
Pt. 10 - The Role of the Buyer
Pt. 11 - Personal Inquiries - How does google make money?

Pt. 12 Tying it all Together

This week was about bringing ideas together and seeing where we are, and where we have come from.

A River Ran Wild
This is one of my favorite books by one of favorite authors. Lynne Cherry has written a ton of amazing books on ecology and the environment.  They are all picture books for kids.  This one is about environmental destruction and rebirth.  I didn't mention why I read it, just as a way to get us thinking, wondering if anybody would connect to it in the following activities.

Phrase Dissection
I have done this before with individual words, or two word phrases, but never with an entire sentence.  It was incredibly powerful.  The basic idea is this; take a sentence (in this case it was our Central Idea) and break it down piece by piece.  See what the individual elements mean on their own, and then how does that micro understanding make up the whole.

Once they brainstormed all the pieces, they started making connections between the different elements. They were very independent  I just walked around the room, strumming my guitar and occasionally saying interesting, or really?  It was interesting to see how they started making arrows from different words and connecting them together, bundling words into phrases and finding the entailments for the phrase.

Once we finished brainstorming, I asked each group to rewrite the central idea in a way that made sense to them.  Here is what they came up with:

- The business that we choose change how the society makes problems and solutions
- The choices we can can change our environment
- The business we choose changes how people interact, think, feel, do, imagine, and live

This zooming in and zooming out is a great metaphor for studying in general.  You can't understand a forest by studying a single tree, and you can't understand the forest without studying a tree.  We had a great discussion about this, and how this strategy helped them to understand the big picture.  One of our schools five stars is Responsibility, and as one boy said, "it all boils down to being responsible."

Very true.  But who should be responsible?

Sustainability Compass
This is the second time we have used this in this unit.  It is a nice way to get multiple perspectives, thinking about the concept of responsibility through the lens of Nature, Economy, Society, and Well-Being.  We did multiple layers on this.  First, the responsibility of companies.  Next, the responsibilities of consumers.

Some of these were hard for them.  Nature was easy, they get that.  But the other three are tangled up in each other.  It is hard, even for me, to tell the difference between something that is good for society and something that is good for individual well-being.  Health seemed to be one area we agree on.

Mission Statement/Pledge
A couple of weeks ago we group wrote a pledge to help the younger kids at recess.  We call it peace-builders.  Once I introduced the idea of writing a pledge for companies and consumers, they immediately connected it back to that and were off and running.

They really enjoyed doing these pledges aloud in front of the class.  Some flair involved!  It was a nice summation of the days activities.  The mission statements may seem basic and standard, but there was a lot of work that went into them.  A lot of thinking that ended at this point.

Hand it over to them
I had no idea where to take this.  My summative assessment (as always) will be a simple writing and reflecting activity.  

Before that, I will put it out to them to do something with this.  


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