The next step was to continue the discussion with the girls. So Gail suggested I share the story of my two Jack Russell puppies. I put together a presentation, and the next day, I told the first graders my story. I told the girls it began when my children decided they really wanted a puppy. As I investigated the best way to get a Jack Russell puppy (my family is partial to these dogs), I discovered the Jack Russell Rescue organization. I explained to the girls we decided that rather than buy a puppy from a breeder, we would rescue a dog in need of a home. As it turned out, at the time of our search, there was a litter of pups that had been dropped at a shelter. While explaining the adoption process to the students, we discussed how that seemingly small choice on the part of my family made a huge difference in the lives of those dogs (we ended up adopting two!). Now my little dogs have a loving home with all they need to keep them healthy and safe. Through the discussion, the girls helped Gail and I brainstorm a list of ingredients essential to caring for animals: shelter, food, water, a yard in which to run, medicine if they are sick, and most of all, attention and love. Throughout the discussion, the girls were amazing. One student even made the association between my adoption story and one of their summer reading books, A Home for Dixie. Gail and I couldn't have been more pleased with the observations and comments the girls made. They shared stories of their own pets, some of which were also adopted. We talked about how important it is to support shelters and how keeping homeless animals safe and healthy requires money and support from the community, which is all of us.
The next steps this project takes should be quite exciting!
- Engineers - Responsible for sharing well designs and ways to keep well clean.
- Global Corespondents- Responsible for direct communication with the Cambodian students.
- Health Workers - Responsible for teaching us what happens when people drink contaminated water.
- Ambassadors - Responsible for teaching us about Cambodia and its people, with attention to the governments efforts to bring clean water to Cambodian villages.
- Aid Workers - Responsible for reviewing the different Aid Organizations and making a recommendation to our group: Which organization best fits our plans to "Make a Difference?"
Each Team created a Google Doc for their team and shared it with me.
Lindsay and I created a Google Doc with links to a variety of resources. Students will have two weeks to complete their research.
I feel things are going well, except that I only see my 5th graders once-a-week for about 40 minutes. It's hard to maintain momentum.
Lindsay (6th grade) and I (5th grade) are working together on our Inquiry-based learning project. Under the umbrella of Making a Difference, we decided to take advantage of a unique opportunity. One of our teachers took a year sabbatical to work with different classrooms around the world. Here is a link to her blog. Her interest and objective is to help these students share stories about themselves with the rest of the world. Our students have been "following" her and listening to the stories of the young people she meets. We've also participated in two Skype sessions.
Using this video as a prompt, our students first responded in KWL fashion using Moodle Forums to two questions:
1) What did you learn from watching and listening to this video?
2) What questions were not answered in the video? What questions do you still have?
The video is narrated by a Cambodian HS student who, with his team, created a video about the dwindling number of wells and clean water in his village.
In addition, I had them answer a survey question: Does your family get their water from a well?
Lindsay and I will take their questions and after sorting and coming up with themes, we will create a Google Doc for different questions. Then the students will do research to answer the questions. Based on what they come up with, we'll move to the next step in deciding what action to take in order to make a different.
Lindsay has located a local professor who is a member of Engineers Without Borders. We're hoping to get him in to speak with our students.
That's what we're doing.
AIDS in South Africa
Cross-posted with Ruekmusings.blogspot.com
The Candy Bomber
How do we design a unit that meets the needs of a K-12 student audience? How do we guide their thinking without stifling the inquiry process? Don't we want students asking the big questions?
After much discussion, we decided that we'll begin by identifying this driving question: How can I make a difference? Broad? Yes. But, we're going to use student voices to help us refine our goals for the unit. Each teacher will go back to her students and hold a brainstorming session, asking them to provide input about what this question means to them. By doing so, we believe students themselves will be responsible for shaping the PBL unit, to make it as passion-driven and powerful for students as it can be.
Teachers will be commenting on this post to share the results of their student brainstorming sessions, and we'll begin to see our project come to life!