Inquiry, PYP

PYP Exhibition – Video Inspiration to take Action Six Different Ways

The following information is a direct cut and paste from my classroom blog.  The blog is used as a communication tool between home and school.  I also post homework, ideas, polls, and all things related to life in 4D. Over the course of the year, we have gone from “What is a blog?” to “Can you please put it on the blog?” and now “I wrote my first blog post last night!” as we start our own journey into blogging in our Exhibition groups.

In the process of unpacking our Central Idea, I shared a number of videos that opened up amazing discussions. Some were oldies but goodies, some were hot off the internet, all of them were inspiring. If you are looking for a longer list than the five I am sharing below, take a look at the playlists created by Terri Eichholz of Engage Their Minds.  They are for students and teachers via Pinterest (which, thankfully is unblocked at my school now!) and I plan on sharing the link with my students to peruse the library of inspiration!

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“Taking Action” is a big part of the PYP and also a big part in our Exhibition.  Before we even began, I was hearing the deafening roar of, “We are going to hold a sale…”.  In reading the idea behind action as a key component of the PYP, I wasn’t getting the connection to the selling of stuff. I reached out to my friend Marina who put me in touch with the work of Richard Black, whom I had visited (virtually) before. He had a great way of explaining a much more fleshed out picture of what action was. I turned his words into cute cards, but they are all his thinking. We have them up as a permanent visual that in reality, we are taking action at all times which I actually think is freeing the kids up from the ‘bake sale’ idea and potentially (I will keep you posted) opening them up to a more diverse path of action.

What inspires your kids?

How do you encourage authentic action?

On to the class blog post….

Today we looked at the central idea for our Exhibition unit:

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We discussed as a class what this meant:

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We then watched some videos to support our understanding of the central idea and the Exhibition process:

Follow the Frog – This video is all about what the Exhibition is NOT about.  It is not about going over the top with wild, crazy expectations.  It is about inquiring into topics that you are passionate about and finding out what action you can take to make an impact.  Take a BIG issue and think about taking action on a SMALL scale. It doesn’t have to stop there, however it is often the smallest of actions that can make the biggest impact. 

Kindness Boomerang – This video highlights how one small action can make an impact that can grow exponentially.  You might not ever know the impact of your actions and one action is never too small in the eyes of the person it impacts. 

Emily’s Hair – Some people say “but I’m just a kid, what can I do to make an impact?”…those people need to hear 3 year old Emily’s story.  She shows that through the simple action of cutting her hair, she is making an impact.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, it matters how much you care. 

The Race – The Exhibition is like this race.  We have been ‘training’ for it all through our years in the Junior School.  We are prepared.  We can do it!  BUT….we might fall.  It doesn’t matter when, where, why, or how hard we fall, what matters is what we do AFTER we fall.  That will be a determining factor in the success of our Exhibition journey. 

Sarah’s Softball Story – This is one of my favorite stories.  To me, it highlights what life is all about – helping others to achieve greatness, doing the right thing, paying it forward, and always choosing kind. The students who helps Sarah, Mallory and Liz embody what it means to a PYP student and to be an inspirational human. 

Tomorrow we will be digging deeper into what it means to take action.  Today we looked briefly at six different ways of taking action (with thanks to Richard Black, PYP teacher in Canberra, Australia – his words, my layout):

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Creativity, Inspiration

At Least I Tried….

I love GapingVoid. Always, it seems to me that Hugh writes his cartoons specifically for me.  Here is what was in my mailbox this morning:

At least I tried

 

It was accompanied by this text…

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My kids are one week into two week Passion Projects.  We are doing this ‘extended Genius Hour’ as a precursor to Exhibition.  It is fascinating for me as a watcher of tiny humans to see who does what, how inquiry looks to different children, who is flourishing, who is going under – or thinks they are.

Make a decent go of it. 

I like that.  Maybe you will be rubbish but you’ll never know unless you try and you can’t just try – you have to make a decent go of it.

Can’t ask for more than that.

Creativity, Design, Inspiration, Internet

Become an Enabler….of Creativity!

I have read a couple of articles recently which advocate for the development of creativity in children.

Tinkerers Unite! How Parents Enable Kids’ Creativity

This WSJ article is in favor of kids making and creating without the use of directions.  Trial and error are favored over “getting it right” and parents who support their child developing their tinkering skills, are doing them a huge favor.  One parent interviewed describes mistakes as “part of the learning process”.  Awesome. Tinkering is encouraged as it develops spatial and mental rotation abilities which are integral to geometry and engineering.  One particularly interesting piece of information:

Jim Danielson, of Arlington Heights, Ill., fell into tinkering after his mother said he couldn’t have a TV set in his bedroom. “If I build my own TV, can I have it in my room?” he asked. “They probably didn’t think I could do it, so they said yes,” he recalls.

He built a projector system for his room during his high school sophomore year, and he and his friends used it to play Nintendo 64 games. His mother didn’t let him take the creation to college, though, concerned it might be dangerous in a small dorm room.

No matter. Mr. Danielson, now 21, dropped out of college last year to accept a Thiel Fellowship—an unusual program started by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal—which pays young innovators $100,000 to stay out of college and spend two years tinkering instead.

Our first unit next year is about Solar Energy.  Based on this information, I want to make sure I have lots of tools and materials that will lend themselves to tinkering with less emphasis on ‘package’ solar energy kits and more on guided discoveries through tinkering. This made me think back to developmental time in New Zealand schools where children are given the option to tinker to their hearts content.  In light of the recent visit of Sal Khan to Boise, I would like to see our school move toward science/math oriented guided tinkering sessions that cross grade levels.  This could also be extended into Family Math and Science nights where teachers, parents, kids all gather together to tinker.  Sound fun to me!

Encouraging passionate learners … even when it’s not your thing

This post was written by Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute.  The premise of the article is that passion and creativity should be encouraged and supported even when the same passion is not matched by the parent or teacher.  Kids who love worms, toads, dirt….whatever, should be encouraged in the following ways in order to promote self-directed, engaged learning – the opposite of which may be educational apathy:

  • give attention: listen to your child or find someone (aunty, grandpa, friend) who will
  • give supplies: buckets, magnifying glasses, collection containers, art supplies…anything that supports their passion
  • give space: an area for writing, collections, wiggly ‘friends’ or art works

When I think back to our recent Exhibition unit, and I think about how engaged our students were when they were paired with mentors or found community members that shared their passion, I know this to be true.  Seeing first-hand how kids respond when they have someone who really is genuinely interested in what they are passionate about is integral to the learning process.

I then found this website that would support the sharing of the creative process:

DIY – A Website to Share Your Creative Tinkering! 

DIY is an online community for kids. We give kids tools to collect everything they make as they grow up and a place to share it.

We’ve all seen how kids can be like little MacGyvers. They’re able to take anything apart, recycle what you’ve thrown away — or if they’re Caine, build their own cardboard arcade. This is play, but it’s also creativity and it’s a valuable skill.

Our idea is to encourage it by giving kids a place online to show it off, so family, friends and grandparents can see it and easily respond. Recognition makes a kid feel great, and motivates them to keep going. We want them to keep making, and by doing so learn new skills, use technology constructively, begin a lifelong adventure of curiosity, and hopefully spend time offline, too.

– DIY Blog

This looks like a very cool place for kids to share ideas with kids and be inspired by each other. Again, despite the somewhat ‘childish’ looking forum, I would really like to use this as a forum for my little solar tinkerers to share their work, get feedback and be inspired to create more.  What do you think? Take a look at the user interface and the feedback the site has already received:

Innovation, Inspiration

Must….Keep….Moving….

I have a child in my class who must keep moving.  He has more energy than you can imagine, snacks and wanders whiles he works and is the very definition of ‘if I had half of his energy….’

We are currently in the throws of our PYP Exhibition – the culminating project for fifth graders in IB PYP Schools.  It is awesome.  The basis of our inquiry is an inquiry into how our passions inspire us as learners, spark our creativity and help us contribute to our community.  This child’s passion is being physically active. (No? Really!?)  As part of the exhibition, we set each child up with a mentor – another member of faculty from all over the school – art teacher, head master, 2nd grade teacher, physics teacher – they are all in.  The mentor for this boy is the Director of Outdoor Education.  Perfect fit.

We are a few weeks into our project and most kids have had a couple of meetings.  Yesterday, I was told that this boy wasn’t having mentor meetings anymore.  Before I got too shocked and I was quickly told “I am having Mentor Miles.

I was informed that Mentor Miles are mentor meetings that occur whilst walking the Greenbelt that runs right out the front of our school and beyond.  A safe, shared path for walkers and bikers to enjoy the outdoors off the main roads.  It clearly didn’t take long for the mentor and the student to put two and two together and come up with a perfect plan for keeping engagement high, on-task behavior high and spark off a huge burst of enthusiasm in this student.  And how easy!

We talk a lot about programs that could be implemented to help children learn.  How about thinking of the individuals first?  None of this was my doing and yet as soon as I heard it, I knew how perfect it was and how much I wished it had been my idea! What about the rest of my kids?  What is their ‘thing’ and how can we work collaboratively to make sure all our kids really are all our responsibility when it comes to doing best by them?