The first unit of inquiry for the Y4s is Who We Are with the central idea being that by exploring different cultures, students can develop an appreciation of diversity. Specifically, they will be examining:
To make the books for this unit more meaningful and individualised, students picked out a book from a library that they connected to this UOI. Students then had their photo taken with the book and they had to briefly state why they chose the book to represent the theme of diversity. All the Y4s with their books and their respective explanations were collected on a virtual wall display via Padlet, that as seen on the each Y4 Class websites.
The Y2s are 2 weeks into their current unit of inquiry on landforms. They've moved from identifying and defining landforms to now understanding how these affect our daily lives.
To make this connection I used a book from a Y3 unit of inquiry on structure, "If you lived here: houses of the world" by Giles Laroche.
I photocopied an illustration of a home from a specific part of the world. Then I read the short text related to this picture to the class describing the home and its environment. Students then had 3 minutes to discuss with a partner how the landform affected how the home was built.
Video by Elaine Fong
Working in pairs students were able to make connection with the landforms and how it affected the way people lived, ate, transported themselves and goods, as well as the materials and designs of their home. I did read them the short description of each home before to check for listening and understanding. Since many students developed their answer beyond the short text I which I had read and paraphrased the information, they had a better understanding which was reflected on their answers.
I've carried out this this lesson where students answer individually, but the responses were repetitive and similar. When working in pairs, students came up with much more original answers and unique perspectives, but some pairs did collaborate more successfully than others.
The Y9s have just finished reading Animal Farm. To help them understand the power of words and propaganda, we had a short lesson on how to write effective slogans.
To get them settled as they entered the classroom , we did a quiz from page 51 of Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know.
I also showed some famous slogans so that students could see the common elements that made them powerful, effective and memorable.
Based on these examples, students worked in groups and came up with the following conclusions about how to make effective slogans.
Last week students were given a handout on different strategies to form commandments to support their slogans from the Institute of Propaganda Analysis in 1937. Students had to employ 4 different strategies to support their own slogan, much like the characters in Animal Farm. But first I gave them an example of my own slogan of how to end world hunger, that was actually inspired by the this book. By using the Frayer model, they had to guess which commandment strategies I had used in each quadrant.
Students guessed the correct commandment strategies I employed and also justified how other strategies could have been used from their perspectives. Here's the other teacher's example using Animal Farm.
Students then embarked on creating their own slogans and supporting commandments, also using a Frayer model.
As teachers, we want students to be active learners.
As one of my passions is cooking, for fun and healthy eating, I want students to be active in their own diet and nutrition, to know what balanced eating is, and to enjoy making, as well as eating their own food. It is my goal that through my CCA that they become confident in experimenting, improvising and budgeting with food.
A group of Year 12 students are running the CCA for their CAS (Creative Action Service) hours. This involves leading the session for the younger students, who are mostly Year 7 boys. In the first session, the Y12s created an essential agreement in the first session, came up with a schedule of what the menu would be for the first semester of the CCA, and took attendance, managed a budget and shopping list of ingredients for each session. Since some students could not eat meat due to religious/healthy reasons or because they were vegetarians, as a group to only include vegetarian dishes in the meal plan.
In our second session, students made their own food - tacos!
I had recently finished reading Alec Baldwin's Nevertheless and genuinely enjoyed it. I was surprised at how funny, generous and humble he was, and strongly suspected a ghost writer. However after watching several interviews where he promoted his book, it was obvious that the narrative voice was his own, that in fact, the book did not do justice as to how intelligent, humorous and articulate Baldwin is in person. Chapter 9 specifically dealt with how Baldwin was mentally and physically challenged by the role of Stanley Kowalski, how he felt the spectre of Marlon Brandon looming over him. Streetcar aside, it was a low point for the actor, both professionally in movies, and personally, with his first marriage falling apart and leaving his long time manager and friend. For Baldwin, Streetcar was his Mount Everest to conquer, his challenge that could redeem him professionally and personally if he could rise above the spectre of Brando's Stanley.
I knew the Y12s were studying Streetcar as they had borrowed it as a class only weeks before so mentioned how much I enjoyed Nevertheless. I mentioned theTheatre teacher how Chapter 9 might be relevant for their study of Streetcar. After she gave me the task sheet, I could see it as an example of a primary source for their task. For their summative task for this course, the Y12 had to research and integrate primary and secondary sources into their work. Specifically they were required to research and explain the theoretical and/or cultural context(s) from which the play originates. Students had to explain the ideas addressed by the play text and explain how these are presented by the playwright.
I had already borrowed the book from the library, but then I also downloaded the audiobook from the library via Overdrive. I made copies of selected texts from Nevertheless for the students to highlight, annotate and make notes as we listened to Baldwin read the the text. But before we read the text together (with Baldwin), I asked them to look for the following:
The student and the teacher expressed that this was a useful primary source and definitely would integrate into the task where possible.
Video by Elaine Fong