Sunday, November 30, 2014

Learning environment and inquiry workshop in Hongkong

November. I had the privilege of conducting a workshop at  PIPS, Hong kong.
Here are a few photographs to remind me of the wonderful learning that took place. Caveat:  be prepared for an explosion of colours which may play havoc with your senses.

 Hopes, Fears and Wonders

Chalk Talk 

The participants felt good about sharing their work. 

Some great texture and ideas in the ART room.

Fishing nets in the classroom. Great idea for displays.

A focus area in the classroom. The use of color to inspire students... the green calmed the kids a lot.

Plenty of children's work on display throughout the school.

The Principle, Mary.  Katie, the PYP Coordinator

I love the child-friendly atmosphere.

Teachers creating a before and after the presentation. They analyzed each and every slide so thoroughly. It was fun listening to their conversation. They referred to the 7 principles of design so fluidly in their conversations.

The red classroom, which gave angst to everyone!

The teachers were trying to use their understanding of classroom design and bring about changes... one step at a time.

A cute and enticing focus area: science investigations.

Trying to de-clutter

A transformed art room area.

Playing with the lighting.

Products from Ikea on display to create an ambience.

Loved this idea to make a tree!

Can you see the effect of the lighting. A warm glow pervades the classroom.

Garbage bags hang in the center of the class, creating a display area. Great idea!

Ending with even more questions!

The whole community was eager and bustling to get started.  I feel that the workshop excited and helped teachers realize they were already on the right path. The videos and articles simply helped them consolidate their understanding and give them focus.

I am eager to work on my own classroom!

See below: 7 principles of designs in the classroom.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Creating an atmosphere in the classroom

Students will be creating captions and making labels for each exhibit in order to transform their class into a veritable museum. Some of the old coins you see below actually belong to a student. They found it when the workers were digging up the foundation for their house in Gujerat. They look really old. According to this website, they can range from 150 to 700 years old. Another website with similar coins says they might belong to 80 AD -105 AD!

With intention, I have selected artifacts from the ancient Chinese civilization. Students will analyze the artifacts and slowly start building their own interpretation of ancient China. They will subsequently start referring to secondary resources in order to verify their findings. I hope that they come to the conclusion that history is but someone's interpretation of the past.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Handing over reins to my students

We have just started our unit on Ancient Civilisations. My students had been complaining about their summative task for the last unit. They were experts on the human body systems and we had a "Hot Seat" session where they were asked a few questions. They found it boring after a while. Frankly, so did I.

And so I decided to relinquish control of the IB planner to least stages 3 and 4. I have never tried this before. I will be working on the " reflection stage" with them later on.

What can I say! The past two days have been exciting, eventful, noisy and very, very fruitful.
As they looked at the central idea and the lines of inquiry, the whole class brainstormed tuning-in activities in groups. As they spoke, I updated my planner (stage 4 - learning engagements) This is what they came up with:

  • Play "Chinese Whispers" to see how messages from the past can change as they filter down to us.
  • Watch” Night at the Museum”
  • Interview grandparents about the past
  • Watch pictures /artefacts brought by them  and discuss. (Maybe use visible thinking tools such as See think Wonder or 10 X 2)
  • Make a cave and cave paintings somewhere in the classroom.
  • Write on leaves and sand as the early human "writers" did (during a mental maths session
  • Games played in the olden days.( I asked them how they knew the games were played in the past; they said they were, like stories, handed down from generation to generation). Will discuss this further of course.
  • KWL charts
  • Wonder wall ...after they have poured over the unit related books from the library
  • Bus stop Activity ( They asked me to come up with pictures and prompts)

I was impressed by the list.

I don't know where the unit will take us. However, as a modern educator in today's changing world, I feel I owe it to them. 

I am really excited to see what they come up during the Finding Out stage of our inquiry. I will be looking forward to finding out what they do about assessing themselves. They will need to design their own checklists, rubrics and continuums.

As a facilitator , I will be keeping a hawk's eye and tweaking things wherever necessary.

Stay tuned!

Designing our learning environment

Friday, October 3, 2014

Media message from one of my students

This was a summative task. The class rubric helped this child create a powerful message.

The moment I usually look forward to!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Being "Creative" with the PYP Attitudes

We had great fun doing this! I asked the students to think of ways they could convey the meaning of each attitude using their hands only. We are still thinking of how to show a few (empathy, commitment, etc.) but here are a few of them. Take a guess!







This one is too literal...So we need to come up with something else!