I'm working with my colleague Helen to teach a unit on Living Spaces to her Grade 9/10 ESOL students. Today we started off the unit by doing a simple activity where students categorized and sorted out different labels. The labels were all different words relating to the house, including everything from parts of the building, through to appliances. I printed out around 35 different words, enough for each pair of students.
Round One: Students could sort out the labels however they wanted.
This was great, because we could walk around and hear the students justifying their choices, negotiating and compromising and we could both hear and see their thinking easily. It was interesting the different ways students organized the labels in round one, for example some did it room by room, (bedroom, kitchen, etc) and others did it by use, (entertainment, cooking). One group put 'clocks' and 'books' together, and said 'clocks help you read the time, but books help you travel in time'. After teach round students shared their ideas. and told the class how they made their decisions.
Round Two: Essential to non-essential
Students were told they needed to re-organize, picking the most essential items, right down to the least needed. I did not give them any further instructions, so some organize it as one long list and others pushed some to the 'trash corner' and others put them into, 'things everyone needs, things I need, things no one needs'. It was really interesting to hear the conversations and debates in this group. Most selected thinking of the needs of people in America, themselves or their families. After teach round students shared their ideas. and told the class how they made their decisions.
Round Three: Cutting it down
Students were then told that they had to cut it down to only ten essential items. Some students even chose items they had previously disqualified, and put them back on the list, after hearing their peers thoughts at end of round two, (for example, someone through 'security' was not important, then after a discussion on why, and different types of security', he put it to the top of his list).
I showed students this video, which shows a new material 'concrete canvas', which allows you to build a sturdy, secure structure out of a canvas material, which hardens like concrete. We had a brief discussion about different housing needs across the world, including in developing countries and in relief housing.
Then we entered the final round:
Round Four: Final Countdown
Students had to narrow down their list to five items only. We then compared and contrast and still had not reached a consensus between the groups. Finally the pairs had to narrow down to three items, with everyone picking a bed, a lamp and a sink!
This was a really interesting activity, and the students were all engaged throughout. For ESOL students this was a great way of learning new vocabulary (there were a few words some had not heard before) and will definitely stay with them. As we are doing a Design Thinking project next, this also got them to think about people's needs!
LASTLY - I talked briefly about library classification, and how books are organized by subject. I told them about the Dewey Decimal System, and how it has pretty much organized everything into ten different categories. If I get a chance soon, I will show them this video I made a few years back, about the Dewey Decimal Classification System:
This activity could easily be done for any subject, topic and age range. If you do something similar, I would love to hear about it! Thanks
I recently posted an entry about an activity I put together using the Understanding Map to look deeply at one photo (of elephants demolishing a hut). Yesterday I had the opportunity to do this again, this time with a small ESOL class.
Here are some of their responses from the initial See, Think, Wonder and then the Circle of Viewpoints Activity.
The ESOL teacher asked me to share some interesting technology photos - I sent her some - and she put it straight into her own version of the Understanding Map activity! I am so excited and can't wait to see if this works just as well with the different photograph. I hope to use this activity often, as it really helps student dive deep and to make their thinking visible.
Check out Helen Shayne's Understanding Map about New Technologies!
My Grade 10s have a soft deadline for their product/outcome set for this Friday. This is because next Tuesday they will have a session all about writing the report, and it will be much easier for them to do if their product/outcome is complete. I know this is not always the reality, but I am setting that expectation to encourage them to complete it by this time. In advisory today students will be thinking about the evidence they will submit - Five photographs or 30 seconds video. Here is the presentation they will use for this:
Feel free to make a copy of the presentation and use it for your own school.
Twitter has been a great teaching tool for me. It is a place to answer questions, find resources, talk with other educators and more. I have often found Twitter chats very useful - these are often an hour long, with a different question popping out every ten minutes - and people sharing their answers and using a # to connect. Organizing a Twitter chat between international educators can be difficult, because we are all on different time zones. However, it is very important to get different perspectives and to connect with people from all over the world... so...we use Slow Chat!
In November Stephen Taylor started the conversation with this Slow #MYPChat with this:
This was fantastic, and I definitely bookmarked and downloaded a great amount of useful resources! I mostly shared links to various posts in this blog.
I decided to kick off the first of 2018 with a Slow #MYPChat about books! People can respond with the books they are reading for professional development or those they are reading with their students. Join Twitter and join in our the conversation!
This morning I ran a TOK training session with two of my magical colleagues, Rob Dale and Tim MacMahon. This was aimed at teachers who were new to TOK or only taught MYP, to demystify the subject. It also gave them activities and ideas for bringing TOK into their classes, (including their MYP classes).
We started off by showing teachers five objects and having them guess what they were:
The teachers put their guesses on pieces of paper and placed them in a bowl. We read out the guesses, then explained what the objects were.
1. An object to cut segments of a grapefruit
2. A grole - an object for sharing coffee.
3. Opium weights from Myanmar
4. A ceramic object for cooking bacon! ("The Baconator")
5. A Victorian mourning ring (this was my object!)
After this, we introduced the different ways of knowing: Faith, Reason, Imagination, Emotion, Sense Perception, Memory, Intuition and Language and discussed how we used this in guessing what the objects were. We also talked about the ways which stopped us from guessing what the objects were, and we discussed the difference between shared and personal memory.
(I also shared the History of the World in 100 Objects - and had people think about who selected these objects and would they select the same).
He then revealed the truth! This objects were bought for a few dollars each at thrift stores - they then had writers create fake stories for each object - and they put them on eBay. On eBay it clearly said that the stories were fictional, and that it was part of the Significant Objects project. Even with knowing they were fake, people paid a hue amount for the objects! The average cost of each object was $1.50, but one of them even sold for over $500! We then discussed why the value increases. Other questions that came up were 'what is worth more - my iPhone or the people who make them?' an 'is this the same sensation as buying designer clothes? Does the limited number of items available make it more exclusive and does this increase the value?' Again we reflected on the different ways of knowing that we used and those that were at odds with each other.
Finally we had teachers do this map activity. They had to divide the country, using the outline map, with the knowledge of the different religious, mountains and volcanoes and languages. This also led to a great conversation with people showing the different ways of knowing they were using - for example personal knowledge and memory (an example, one of our teachers is from Switzerland, so didn't even think about diving up the country by language!)
We ran out of time then, but shared with them these 'What if?' prompts:
and lastly we shared that the rest of the presentation described TOK's relationship with the Learner Profile, and then gave them a serious of prompts related to each subject group (aimed at getting MYP teachers to bring a little TOK into their classroom).
Here's the full presentation! Enjoy!