My Grade 7s are five weeks into their First Lego League robotics unit. The theme this year is 'City Shaper' and students are looking for problems in their city that they can solve through design. We have laid a lot of the ground work, through watching different videos, including 'Sustainable Development City' and 'EPCOT' (from 10 minutes 20 seconds). We've also discussed if Stuttgart is stressful or not, as it was voted the least stressful city in the world. We also had an excellent guest speak, UX designer Elinor Samuelsson, who focusses on improving mental health through design. She worked on the Kokon, a relaxation pod for offices, and is now working on a happiness project, for Helsingborg, Sweden, which is part of the cities larger innovation project.
Today teams had to brainstorm lots of problems in our city, then finally each team selected the problem they are going to focus on. You can use this brainstorming technique for any scenario. I love it because they go big first, coming up with as man ideas as possible, then they find connections, then they narrow it down! It's also fun and get's students out of their seats!
1. CLASS DISCUSSION: As a class we discuss the theme first [Here was talked about city problems & Solutions - everything from e-bikes to the amount of people who smoke in public in Germany]
2. CARDS: Each table was given a stack of cards. Each individual student wrote as many problems as they could. One problem on each card.
3. SORTING, CONNECTING: When they had their cards filled, as a class, we worked on sorting them and making connections [themes that emerged including entertainment, art, green spaces and pollution]
4. ELABORATING: One student, who has been taking the lead on making the connections shared out with the class the themed that emerged and how the cards were organised. He also read out loud some of the cards
5. JUSTIFYING: Each student choose the one problem they cared most about, then answered some questions in their process journal.
6. SHARING: In their teams, each student had one minute to share out the problem they picked and why. Their team mates were encouraged to ask 'what makes you say that?" whenever their teammate could provide more details
7. SELECTING: The groups had time to focus on the problem they want to focus on.
8. HIGHLIGHTING: Students wrote a newspaper headline about their problem. They could write it either about the problem right now, or they could write a future headline!
Below you can see some of their ideas. I also added a picture of the hole puncher I use to make these.
This fits in with one of my favourite AtL skill indicators! Thinking - Creative Thinking - "Use brainstorming and visual diagrams to generate new ideas and inquiries"
I made some more posters on Canva - these ones are for the different ATL clusters, with their descriptors. Even though their are ten clusters, the IB has grouped media literacy skills and information literacy skills together when they give a definition... (If I am wrong, let me know, and I'll separate them out into two posters). Canva is free and easy to use...imagine if everyone was making and sharing IB posters... (on that note, check out the cool posters shared here). All the icons are free from FlatIcon - super easy to use, my students love this site!
Link to posters here.
I'm working on a project to make AtL Skills more visible across my school, (but will first work with the teachers to narrow down the list of AtLs covered, as the one I inherited is too long, covering almost 250 AtL skills in a year...). I realised I have lots of different posters saved on my drive, or in various Pinterest Folders, covering everything from MLA 8 Citations, to Growth Mindset.
I decided to put them together into a spreadsheet, organised by AtL. This is just a start and I would love for other teachers to share posters to add to the spreadsheet. Link to the spreadsheet is here.
Here's some samples of some of the posters in the folder:
I heard someone once say that when a poster has been on the wall for more than three months it becomes invisible! I decided to knock out some quick Global Context posters this morning (just made on Canva), to swap out with my current ones.
Feel free to use - Link here.
Don't forget I also have AtL posters, Global Context Posters, MYP Design Concepts Posters and Personal Project Posters!
The 10th of October is WHO's World Mental Health Day. The day before students will be doing activities about mental health in their advisories. This year I have my Grade 6s and 8s working on a very similar activity, with the AtL focus being: Self-Management - Affective Skills: Practise strategies to reduce stress and anxiety.
Students will start off by considering the similarities between mental and physical health, and that we all have both. Just like physical health, we have have moments of excellent and poor mental health, and some people have better health than others.
After watching the above video, students share out what they do when they are stressed or feeling down. (examples from the video include everything from exercising to playing with your pet!).
Students then watch the following videos and discuss the strategies that the primary school aged students share:
Students then reflect on current things which might be impacted their class' mental health, including transitioning from primary to grade 6, or from 7, to 8 (not being the middle school leaders) or into a new school. Students then also discuss what other issues impact their grade (this is an opportunity to focus on current issues, anything from social media to peer pressure to homework pressure).
Students then watch this BBC Brainsmart video about managing stress:
The conversation then leads to how they can support each other and how the school can support them
Below I've embedded the Grade 6 presentation. You can view, and make a copy of the Grade 6 presentation here and the Grade 8 presentation here.
At the end I also give the students some fun websites to use when they have moments of light-stress (this should end the session on a lighter note, as they may have been discussing heavy issues!)
Grade 8s will have their first session linked to LGBTQ activities in advisory this week. The main focus on the lesson is the difference between friendly teasing and bullying. The AtL focus is "Social Skills: “Manage and resolve conflict and work collaboratively in teams”.
Although not 100% focussed on LGBTQ issues, much of the lesson comes from GLSEN activity "I was just Kidding" and I've also incorporated the following "That is so gay" advert with Wanda Sykes:
Sometimes in international schools there can be some teasing related to language, ethnicity and race, so it is easy to draw parallels with those issues in this presentation too.
I also put in this video "Dove & Steven Universe | Teasing and Bullying Episode 1"
Below is the full presentation. GLSEN are one of the many great providers of LGBTQ resources for schools. I'll be showing our LGBTQ advisory/homeroom sessions throughout the year, but if you want more info before I post, check out their website, as this is one of the main resources I will be using, (along with Stonewall Education and Teaching Tolerance).