Friday, April 24, 2015

our beautiful mess

We're starting our final unit of inquiry for the year: Communication Systems.

Before our April break, we were lucky enough to attend our PTA Cultural Show, which showcased a dozen countries with countless talented performers. To begin tuning in to the unit, we made a quick mind map based on what the noticed during the show:

I took a quick snap of the map and printed it out for the kids to categorize the ideas. We didn't even brainstorm the categories, but the kids did a phenomenal job of classifying terms using their own ideas and understandings:

We haven't done a lot, really, but set the stage for understanding when it's all done. The kids made sense of the commonality by choosing a sentence and putting it in their own words - and not just by replacing words with synonyms, but by finding the essence of the text and truly understanding. They've determined that our unit will be about the messages we share and the ways we communicate these messages.

From here, we pulled out some key vocabulary and ideas so that we could search our library for books related to Communication Systems. We checked them all out and spent some time browsing the many different books they found: everything from fables/folktales, the history of music, colours, and culture to symbols, signs, languages, and hieroglyphics. They came up with categories of personal interest and we taped sign-up sheets to the board so kids could decide what they're most interested in learning about. This was great because it gives me, as the teacher, a jumping off point with immediate engagement and sets us up for later independent inquiry. I'm sure these lists will be ever-changing!

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