Making Thinking Visible, ‘Chalk Talk’

Yesterday, the boys engaged in a ’Making Thinking Visible’ routine called a ‘Chalk Talk’ during their library session.

The boys were presented with a series of images and worked in groups, rotating around the images. In a ‘Chalk Talk,’ students note what they can see, think and wonder about each image. The task is done non-verbally. When they rotate to the next image, they can choose to write something new that the previous group had not written, or respond to a point already written by a previous group.

This activity was linked to Line of Inquiry 2 (Roles people play within an organisation- Function) of the boys’ current Unit of Inquiry on organisations. The organisation in question was the Royal Flying Doctors Service which was revealed after some discussion. The boys explored images of the various staff- doctors, nurses, paramedics, maintenance workers etc. The boys discussed how each of the roles within the organisation was integral to helping the organisation function and serve it’s purpose- to provide medical help to people in remote locations around Australia.

More information on a ‘Chalk Talk’ can be found here: http://www.rcsthinkfromthemiddle.com/chalk-talk.html

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Know, Wonder, Learnt

The boys spent some time exploring the ‘Making Thinking Visible’ strategy ‘Know, Wonder, Learnt’ (KWL) this week, as they began to learn more about organisations as part of their new Unit of Inquiry. After doing a pre-assessment involving sorting the logos of various well known organisations according to what the boys thought they did, it became apparent that not many of the boys were familiar with either the UN or UNICEF. Therefore, we decided to explore UNICEF further.

As the title of the KWL suggests, the boys worked in groups to initially record what they already knew, they then posed some questions about what they wondered. Finally they watched a video on UNICEF and then recorded what they had learnt. Here are some of their responses…

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Association of Independent Schools, STEM Conference 2016

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I was lucky enough to have spent the previous 2 days at the third AIS STEM Conference at UTS, an event that I also attended last year. The event is aimed at bringing together leading professionals, teachers and facilitators in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM). Having applied for a grant last year which we were given for 2016, myself and three other teachers also presented a workshop on how we used the grant to implement the ‘Design Thinking’ process across the school this year, ‘upskilling’ both teachers and students through professional development and teaching and learning activities linked to the curriculum. This is something that we want to take further next year and the conference was a great opportunity to network with like minded professionals.

I took a lot away from the conference but one of the most significant was watching Dr Jordan Nguyen present his keynote speech on the opening day. I was familiar with his work through his television work and I was inspired by his selfless drive to help those less fortunate than himself through the integration of technology into peoples’ lives. More information can be found here: http://www.drjordannguyen.com/

Miss Peterson has also explained more about the conference here in her latest Prep Talk post:

http://newsletter.newington.nsw.edu.au/preptalk/article/stem-symposium-2016/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=161028%20-%20Prep%20Talk%20-%20Friday%2028%20October%202016&utm_content=161028%20-%20Prep%20Talk%20-%20Friday%2028%20October%202016+CID_1297f6fb18ecb3d326979eb864b76697&utm_source=EDM&utm_term=stem-header-cropped

 

Success Criteria

When you pose the question, ‘How do you know you have been successful?’ to some of the boys with regards to their work, it can be hard for them to know what that looks like. A basic interpretation may be a smiley face on their work from a teacher, or perhaps a comment, but how often do the boys read or understand the comments on their work? (Despite our encouragement for them to read them!)

One thing that we have been doing more of in class this year is including ‘I can…’ statements that are often the skills that we are looking for in a piece of work e.g. ‘I can use full stops and capital letters’, and also including Success Criteria, shared with the boys before a task. This way they have something to measure their success against, but the expectation for each child is different, so it is not necessarily the case that every box will have to be ticked in order to be successful.

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Jolly Bops Science Show

The boys were able to experience a range of science experiments when the Jolly Bops Science Show team visited school yesterday. The boys learnt about a range of topics including some linked to their current Unit of Inquiry, but also had the opportunity to learn about various gases, states of matter, magnetism and more. Some of the boys were lucky enough to be chosen as volunteers and quite literally blew things up (with safety goggles on of course!) as they experimented with hydrogen balloons and fire, the changing states of dry ice and how magnets work.

It was brilliant to watch the boys so engaged by the Professor and Rusty the Robot, who delivered the experiments in a slapstick style that drew many a laugh from the excited crowd of boys…!

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Time

The boys have started to explore time, starting with a look at calendars and the role of important dates in the year. These include culturally important dates such as Christmas, Diwali and Greek Independence Day, as well as other special dates such as birthdays. The boys will be moving on to looking at a clock face and the mechanics of time this week and next.

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Fractions

Year 1 have started to explore fractions, looking at the role of the numerator and denominator. They have also started to explore the role of fractions in the world around them, as maths is obviously not limited to the classroom. The boys indicated that fractions are important when measuring ingredients in cooking, telling the time and knowing when the car is about to run out of petrol!

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2016 Paralympics

Following on from the success of the Australian Special Olympians last visit to the school and with the boys’ recent engagement with the Rio Olympics, the boys have started to prepare for the Paralympics. I absolutely love sport, but what I like about the Olympics and even more so with the Paralympics, is the fact that the games are about so much more than just sport. The boys have watched both of these brilliant adverts for the Paralympic Games (London 2012) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY7Zp96jYZM and (Rio 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IocLkk3aYlk, both with the tagline, ‘Meet the Superhumans’. These adverts and the games themselves can be appreciated on many levels, but it was great to see the positive reception from the boys, many of whom, like me, can’t begin to imagine the difficulties that some Paralympians face in their everyday lives, but are inspired by their amazing feats.

In the coming weeks we will be following the games and doing some work around these inspirational humans. Some of the activities can be found here: http://auspost.com.au/education/letterwriting/2016-paralympics.html

Thank you.

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Student Led Conferences

Last week saw the first of two Student Led Conferences, with the second happening this Tuesday.  Student Led Conferences are a growing trend in schools and are ultimately aimed at empowering students by allowing them to be more accountable for their learning and taking the lead in their education. Although conferences are done differently from school to school, this is a great article explaining some of the thinking behind them:

http://www.edutopia.org/practice/student-led-conferences-empowerment-and-ownership

It was great to see the boys interacting with parents and grandparents on Tuesday, explaining why they had chosen certain pieces of work to reflect on and taking parents through some of the activities. The boys in Year 1 have grown immensely this year, they have come a long way and it was lovely to see some of that growth and engagement reflected in their conferences.

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