Grade 3 at Southbank are inquiring into…

In Grade 3 at Southbank we are also doing an inquiry into Who We Are, but with quite a different spin on it to ISM.  We are looking at the choices people make that affect our health and well being.

First of all, we need to discover the choices we are responsible for.  Why do we make those choices and why can’t we make all of them?  What would we do differently, and if we did make different choices what effect would that have on our lives???

We have spent this last week looking at the Learner Profile, and from that deciding what we want our classroom to look like, sound like and feel like as we write our essential agreements.  Instead of me giving the children a definition of the learner profile traits, instead I have asked them to brainstorm together what each of them means.  This has mostly been amazing, as it meant the children get a better understanding and take more ownership of their learning and behaviour as we reflect on the learner profile.  The problem I am finding is that it can take so long to go through the process of brainstorming that the kids get bored and then it is counter-productive.  I really want to continue with this as we establish class routines and expectations, but I feel like I need a better way to get there.

Any thoughts???

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12 Comments

Filed under Grade 3, Learner Profile, Unit of Inquiry, Who we are

12 responses to “Grade 3 at Southbank are inquiring into…

  1. Jessica

    Your post shows clearly how the units in Who We Are still connect, even if the central ideas are very different. Looking at our responsibilities, Grade 3 at ISM are starting with the responsibilities they have to themselves. Just like Grade 3 at Southbank.

    The transdisciplinary theme “Who We Are” is defined as:
    An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and
    spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights
    and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

    The unit at ISM is looking at rights and responsibilities, but this also really links to personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health. In fact, Chiara probably would have some interesting comments about the PSPE aspect of it all.

    I like the way you are using the learner profile authentically to create your classroom atmosphere and environment. During the next week, this will also become part of our discussions around the essential agreements. ISM has also identified core values, which link in to that, and a school bill of rights. The thing I feel I have to be careful about now is not to overdo it.
    As you said, the kids could become bored.

    As for strategies around the learner profile. Instead of all students brainstorming the same attribute, you could do a jig-saw brainstorm.
    You could also have the class diamond-rank them in order of importance to them at the moment and then prioritize. You could use the essential agreements as a basis for class routines.

    Interesting to see what will happen next week. First full week is always amazing! It will fly by, probably.
    How many kids are in Grade 3 at Southbank? Is there more than one Grade 3?
    At ISM we have 12 kids in Grade 3, we are the only Grade 3. Grade 4 is collaborating with us, we inquire into the same central idea.

    • Hi Jessica
      In your comment, you mentioned;
      “You could also have the class diamond-rank them in order of importance to them at the moment and then prioritize.”
      I was wondering what diamond-ranking looked like- we are attempting to make our students’ learning more visible using thinking skills and techniques.
      Cheers, Ian

      • Jessica

        Hi Ian!

        They noted the responsibilities on post-it notes. Of course any separate pieces of paper would work.
        Diamond ranking is thinking of:
        – The most important
        – The second most important 2
        – The third most important 3
        – The fourth most important 2
        – The fifth most important.

        One example. Looks like a diamond when sorted:

        x
        x x
        x x x
        x x
        x

        Hope this works. Does it make sense?

  2. Jessica

    Inspired by you, Nic, Grade 3 at ISM brainstormed the learner profile today as well. The result was surprising, because some of them were very unfamiliar with the different attributes. It is good to know the level of understanding, and it will help me plan in the future. I feel we won’t be able to use the LP too much for our essential agreements though.

  3. nicpenny

    I have had exactly the same experience. Some of the children were quite familiar with traits such as Caring and Balanced, but are very confused about things like Knowledgeable and Open-minded. We were able to get a fairly good essential agreement based on their understanding so far, but though-out the year I can see we will have to expand on the children’s understanding of some aspects of the learner profile.

  4. Chiara

    I do agree with you that the attribute of the LP should become part of our everyday teaching and learning and of our life outside from school. Unfortunately-or may be fortunatley- I don’t translate into Italian the attribute of the LP, but I use the word in English. And, what I do, I try to use them as often and naturally as possible. This way, I believe, they are no longer words on the wall, but part of ourself. You need to be caring in life, as well as inquirer. Children get used to them and gradually deepener their understanding. What I do quite often it’s to ask the children to discribe the characters of the books they are reading in terms of the LP. And I often get comments like “I really like him because he is really principled. I want to be like him.”

  5. Jessica

    I agree, Chiara, the words need to become part of the school and everyday life. But not only do we need to use the words, we need to model the attributes. I sometimes wonder if the words are actually significant. We need to live the learner profile. The older the children get, the more explicit this could become though.
    How do we authentically model the Learner Profile and make it explicit without it becoming “superficial”?

  6. nicpenny

    Totally agree with you! Thanks Chiara and Jess. My partner and I welcomed the parents tonight to Grade 3 at the back to school night. One of the points we put across to the parents is that we aim to make clear links between the real world and the classroom, and hope that they will reinforce that. So, we talk about the PYP attitude of being committed, and the parents take note and reinforce their child’s hard work and commitment.

  7. Chiara

    The reinforcement at home is essential. If parents don’t co-operate, our effort is not useful but….you know what I mean. To involve the parents more I see PYP parents workshops efficent, but may be it could also be useful to send them some links with videos they could watch at home. The thing is the ones that you hope will watch it NEVER WILL. The Sir K.R. video link you sent today should absolutly be watched by parents. What do you thing, Jess? Shall we forward this suggestion?

    • Jessica

      Just in time for Back to School night here, I will also stress the importance to the parents in my class.

      Chiara, definitely, parents should be involved just as we are. Who is the PTA teacher rep? We might be able to use the PTA for this? Lets forward the idea, definitely.
      And now, if you don’t mind… I will get ready for the back to school night 😉

  8. chiara

    obs…an ‘s is missing in my previous messagge. Sorry

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