Showing posts from September, 2014

The seed of a unit

This is not clear in my head, something I am working with. Help me out here....

I really like Sam Sherratt's idea of summing up the unit in one word. It is challenging, fun, and it forces us to focus on the underlying conceptual purpose of the unit. In a concept based curriculum, that is what we should be focusing on, correct? The concepts.

I have been wondering recently as I stare at our schools POI (I really want to look at it and understand it before we change it all) about where some of these units came from. From what egg did they hatch? Some of the units seem very conceptual in their wording, but others feel like a topic based unit that was turned into a conceptual unit. Some of them are not conceptual. I wonder what was the conversation history that led to the development of these units. The turns in the roads. The needs and wants. The personalities behind it and the philosophies that lay underneath. You can tell a lot about a POI by just really looking at it.

The seed of a…

Stretching out ideas for thinking

The idea was simple. Give the kids a map, tell them they are part of a tribe of neolithic nomads, and choose the best place to settle. Parameters were set. A story was hatched.

It could have been a nice afternoon. It could have resulted in a good debate, maybe a list of pros and cons. Instead, I stretched it out, made the thinking more explicit. We went slowly, reflecting at each step, asking what we know and what we still need to know.

We teased apart the thinking, stretched it out, and ended up with the following progression of lessons, and a nice artefact to share with our parents and the learning community demonstrating how we inquire:

Things to wonder about... our perception of time spent on tasks

- the process was largely emergent, and was unplanned from step to step. As a teacher I just listened and looked for gaps in understanding, and then tried to fill them. By the end, they were doing it themselves, saying they weren't ready to make a decision. The extra time spend beca…