As I try to get all of the IBMYP (reminder...that means International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program) stuff straight in my head, I am really continuing to ponder and mull over the importance of making things visible for kids. This is something I have been working on for the last few years in my instructional practice...I mean, really, on the Tiger Team, we were known as the poster makers around the school. We were all obsessed with our word walls and "anchor charts" and managed to fill every available space by the end of the school year.
But I digress...or do I?
There is so much thinking that goes into the planning of a unit. There are a lot more parameters to plan around than I have been used to. For example, at CBMS, I looked at the content I was required to teach and I developed my units (with backwards design) around that content. But in the MYP, there are about a million (or at least it feels like it) considerations to make. For example, not only do I have to plan around a unit question, and a well-planned assessment, now I also have to think about my Area of Interaction as a lens for the unit, but also what the "significant concept" is that can link to any content area, and what "approaches to learning" I am also going to embed and use as a lens for the unit. See how complicated it is? It is a very muddy and muddled process but I am getting lots of practice.
Oh look, I digressed (is that the past of digress or is there some other form of the word that I am forgetting) again...but I'm coming back to my original point, I swear...
So my point is this...if we want kids to understand all this (and ourselves), I think that making it visual for them is absolutely critical. They are expected to be able to speak about their experiences with the Areas of Interactions in depth by the time they finish the MYP program in 10th grade. But, how can this happen if it is all muddled up in their teachers' heads, let alone in their own? So, for the last few weeks, I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to un-muddle for all involved parties. And, guess what I came up with? POSTERS!!! (You could probably guess, I love them!) We are not talking about the kind of posters you can buy in a teacher store or at Target, but those that I work really hard to make myself.
And, I have been thinking a lot about how to arrange things in the best way to make it clearer for kids. I spent a few hours the other day getting things put up, and then today, had a different idea that was precipitated by a bunch of ideas kids were having, and I had to unstaple and redo things.
Here's my current thinking...as of today....
|The more we learn, the more questions we have! And then, in the midst of our study of the earth, specifically regarding earthquakes, there was a 4.4 earthquake in Düsseldorf the other night! The kids came to school extremely excited about it!|
I also now realize that I cannot have a classroom that doesn't know the language of the "Thinking Strategies." They have become such a big part of my daily instruction that even though I was worried that they would be just "ONE MORE THING" for the kids to know (in MYP we have lots of lists that the kids have to be aware of!), I realized that I cannot teach without them. I am not necessarily teaching them specifically for a whole unit, but when a kid uses one, I name it for them and I walk over to the posters and we look at how their thinking fit with one of the thinking words. I think this is the best intro I can have so far...merely naming it for them.
|What can I say? They have just become part of who I am as a teacher.|
"Words" Podcast from RadioLab
On a fun note!
I have been on two field trips in the last two weeks with the 8th grade...bowling and canoeing. Bowling was pretty standard but canoeing was a definite adventure!
|The weather held until we were getting on the bus to go home! Lucky us!|
|Yes, the kids are perpendicular to the river! They had some steering issues! It was pretty hilarious but nobody flipped their canoe- shocking for 8th graders!|
Next weekend I am heading to Holland with my friend Rhonda. We're going to Rotterdam and Amsterdam just for a quick trip. I have been working out as much as I can so I don't feel guilty about eating delicious bitterballen (fried deliciousness eaten with beer!).
This was a longun'! Sorry! I haven't written in awhile...mostly just lazy to be perfectly honest! I have been watching Netflix ever since I got my American IP address so my computer is generally occupied doing that!