What are we learning? Why are we learning it?
This was an engaging activity that took the better part of an entire day. There were several layers to the organization of this;
- first, a short class discussion about what each of the Key Concepts means
- second, brainstorming how this concept applies to the PYP Exhibition in small groups
- and third, collecting our ideas into a large class mind-map (made using bubbl.us)
I wanted to see what their perceptions of the Exhibitions of the exhibition were. I was also curious as to how much they understood the Key Concepts (I admit I don't do a great job of including them regularly in the class eco-system). I also wanted them thinking about the exhibition itself, as its own entity, before we just into out topics and research and all the other fun stuff that follows.
Why are we doing this? What is the purpose?
Before doing this I had no idea what it would be like. I was expecting to sit back, listen, and ride whatever trains of thought emerged. This is after all Tuning in (or diagnostic assessment or whatever teacher word you want to use here).
I was surprised (when do grade five students not surprise you) by the following observations:
- The Key Concepts themselves are very loose, and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. I often found myself saying things like 'I think we already covered that point under Form' or 'that is very true but completely different from what we are talking about'. It led to many great discussions about the meaning of these words, and how they apply to something. We even discussed how they applied to past UOI's and how that interpretation was now different.
- They had quite a good understanding of many of the concepts, and did not need prompting or support. They came up with their own basis and went with it.
- They wanted to focus on the form and function and time and time again came back to this concept. This is not really surprising since this is the focus of many Units of Inquiry, inquiring into how something works and what it looks like. Perhaps we need to spend more time on other aspects, specifically connection and causation.
- They get the point that this is about the process and the skills, and not just the topic specific knowledge. This is good and lets us move forward with those skills and focus on them.