Friday, October 3, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
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!
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
My students have been closely monitoring the Israel-Palestine conflict. They decided to use their knowledge of social media and Yang Liu's style of communication to propagate the idea of peace based on similarities between Jews and Muslims. Here's what they came up with. (Notice how they use colour to distinguish the two religions).
Jews and Muslims pray in the same manner.
This one could be a little hard to guess. But that's the whole point. Keeps you thinking!
(Answer: Men and women are required to pray separately.)
In both cultures, they avoid eating pig.
:) Reminds me of Minchin's song:
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Every year when school starts, I have observed how quickly some classes put up the learner profile attributes, attitudes and concepts on the classroom walls. Up they go, pat pat pat, on the wall followed by a relieved tick against their "things to do" list. Then the "real" learning begins.
As a tuning-in activity for our unit of inquiry on media, I thought of introducing Yang Liu's representations of two cultures. Liu's use of media to stereotype cultures will naturally generate dichotomy of thought and emotions among many. I felt it was the perfect provocation which would pave the way for deeper, conceptual learning. The use of symbols would create enough intrigue among the students in order to generate curiosity and hopefully, higher order thinking skills.
The students loved the lesson. Every slide of Yang Liu's "East Meets West" stirred hearts. We spoke of perspective and bias, racism and the unfairness of over-simplifying communities. They realised the power of symbols, (in this case, dots, lines and simple geometric shapes) to convey messages so powerful as to entice exciting discussions about issues related to everyday life.
After immersing ourselves in Liu's work, I wanted to see how far the students could use their learning to construct meaning and create learner profile representations using symbols and simple colours.
|Introducing the work of Liu. Mystery element.|
Take a look at what the students came up with.
As I walked around watching them brainstorm and draft their ideas, it was encouraging to hear them use words such as "stereotype: and "bias" amongst themselves.
|Path of person not clearly visible, but a powerful representation of Courage.|
|Draft visible in this shot|
|I was quite surprised with this one. Yang Liu's representation of the "Boss" is so similar!!! I had not shown them this slide.|
|Absolutely great way to show this LP attribute!|
|The group changed their background after the mess "the black crayon" made. They resolved the problem on their own. A more presentable final work.|
I thought the lesson was very transdisciplinary in nature. Students had to think about colour, patterns and symmetry. They used various skills which involved listening, speaking, sharing resources, editing, and collaborating. One of those exciting lessons which inspired me to blog.
Monday, June 9, 2014
What about our students? Do we know what's going on in their lives? Are they being bullied, abused, neglected, disrespected? Could they be lonely? Do you have the time to find out? Does the school timetable breath down your neck?
As a teacher, I realize I cannot solve all their problems. But I can most certainly give them hope.
And so when I came across Oliver Jeffers' story the other day, I felt it was the perfect way to address these issues.
I like to think I am aware of what goes on in my students' lives. Every morning when I chat with them, I get a feel of their mood. I can make out which day is not going to be a fruitful day for a particular child.
This beautiful, heart wrenching story is about a little girl who was very, very curious. Her father was always around encouraging her until...
|The saddest, saddest moment in the story.|
|There is poetry in this illustration.|
I photocopied this page before I read the story out to my students. Earlier in the year, the students had learnt about warm and cool colours and how they reflect our moods. So I asked them to think about the mood in the picture. Why did they think the chair was empty? Were there any clues in the picture to help them come up with an answer? Thinking back now, I could also have used the 10 X 2 strategy (Reference: Artful Thinking) with this activity and seen if the students could have come up with more ideas.
It took them over 20 minutes to discuss and jot down their predictions. I let it unravel. It didn't matter if one lesson flew into the next. The children were arguing, laughing, engaged and motivated.
So when I started reading the story, I slyly glanced at them as I turned the pages. I couldn't help but grin at their wide-eyed impatience. They were hooked!
As I read on, I came to the page where the little girl puts her heart in the bottle so that she could keep it safe from harm. (Feelings of loss, despair, heart-break). I then asked the students who would like to keep their heart in a bottle.
The reaction I got from them was an affirmation of what I knew all along. Almost half my students had their hands up. A chin-wobbly moment.
|My students initially had trouble making this abstract connection.|
"Why won't a glass bottle break if thrown from such a height?!"
"Maybe it's made of plastic!" retorts another.
At this point, I needed to stop and let them try and figure out what was actually happening. As an educator, we may be quick to give them the answers. But sooner or later, if given time, they will figure it out themselves. I am glad I did the right thing at this juncture. Hopefully, they have begun to understand the power of metaphors.
|Adults need to find the child in them!|
|All characters change in great stories. I asked the kids to compared this picture with the previous one.|
|Time heals. The chair is reclaimed.|
|What an apt picture representing the attitude "Curiosity" or Being Alive!|
|An empty bottle, the metaphorical representation of healing and hope.|
When I turned the last page, there was laughter at first.
Then silence. The loud kind.
In order to engage the students in conversation, I used the PYP Concepts to generate the following questions.
Form Why do we think of the heart when we talk about our feelings?
Function What was the purpose of the bottle in the story?
Connection Have you ever lost someone? Why is it hard to talk about it?
Causation Why did the protagonist want to take her heart out when she met the little girl?
Change What kind of changes happened to the character of the protagonist?
Reflection Why do you think Oliver Jeffers wrote the story?
Responsibility Why do we need to look after and nourish ourselves?
Perspective What would have happened if the protagonist had not met the little girl on the beach?
Students sat in a circle. We used a string to monitor who was talking. All the students wanted to participate.
It was an emotionally packed time. Many students cried. Many listened.
Everyone was engaged for over 90 minutes!
Today, the students have gone home to reflect on the story. Let's see what transpires.
Tomorrow, they will look at the pictures and use Slow Writing techniques to come up with a rich paragraph to describe one of their favourite illustrations.