Last year Mrs. Kim focused on looking at each transdisciplinary theme from the different grade level perspectives, giving our community an insight as to how each of these themes are explored in different ways in each grade level. Throughout this year, we’ll continue to take a look at each of the the units, however, this year we’ll focus on how teachers and using the different stages of in inquiry cycle to drive their Unit of Inquiry in the classroom.
Kindergarten: Kindergarten is currently exploring the central idea, Games are unique to the time and place in which they are played, in their Where We Are in Place and Time unit. Through play-based inquiry, the students play and experience different games found around the world. Some examples of some games were hockey (from Canada), ga-ga ball (originating from Isreal), and Skippy Roo Kangaroo (commonly played in Austrailia). These learning experiences also gave the students an authentic opportunity to explore the transdisciplinary skills (thinking, communication, social, self-management, research). At the end of the session, the class spent time debriefing with one another about how the games were played and what transdisciplinary skills and Learner Profile Attributes were used to successfully play and enjoy the games.
First Grade: 1st graders also just launched their Where We Are in Place and Time unit about migration (Central Idea: Migration affects personal histories) with finding out about different migration stories from first hand family accounts. Over the next few weeks, students will listen to stories about reasons why individuals and families moved, or migrated, to different places around the world. The students are given an opportunity to ask questions to learn more about the experience. Afterwards, classes debrief and sort the information they learned, making connections to their central ideas and generating more questions about the concept.
Second Grade: Our second graders are beginning to wrap up their Sharing the Planet unit, exploring the central idea, Living things share natural resources. This week they simulated an oil spill in their classrooms asking students to work together with the given materials to “clean it up”. Students made predictions and wrote about their findings in their science notebooks. Later, students reflected on the process and extended their thinking about the responsibility that humans have with our environment.
Third Grade: To support the How the World Works unit (Central Idea: Inquiry changes our understanding of the world), the third grade students participated in a Nepris session (Going Further) with a scientist in Colorado who shared how he uses the scientific process to guide his experiments, keeps his scientific notebook throughout the process and how he uses different types of questioning in his profession.
Fourth Grade: The fourth graders are currently in their Where We Are in Place and Time unit. They will be taking a field trip to San Antonio to visit the San Jose Mission and Institute of Texan Cultures. Students will have multiple opportunities to visit exhibits of Texas history that support their central idea, Migration and exploration cause and exchange of ideas and cultures.
Fifth Grade: 5th Grade just launched their How We Organize Ourselves unit. To tune in to students prior knowledge of organizations and leadership, the students were asked to into into a line (no particular order was assigned) and then, without talking, they were instructed to get in order by birth month. You can imagine how Post activity, the class debriefed and shared out the reasons why the group faced so many challenges. A conversation topic was a of lack of organization, system and leadership.
Over the winter break, how can you add to your child’s learning in the classroom? What connections can you make? How can you extend and challenge your child’s thinking?
Here are a few quick tips you can use to support the learning that is happening in the classroom:
1. Ask you child about the theme and central idea their class is focusing on.
2. Encourage your child to “find out”, rather then telling them the answer. Help your child uncover the answers through questioning and research.
3. Think about ways you can extend the learning in the classroom by taking “field trips” and getting out into the community to experience some of the concepts being explored at school.
We’ll check back in with all of the classrooms after the holiday break to see how their units are progressing and what connections and questions students are generating!