We met this week for collaborative planning of a new unit of inquiry for the start of the new school year…
Times have changed. We have changed.
Planning is not coming up with a range of activities or developing a series of lesson plans. It’s a time to consider the rationale behind the unit and discuss conceptual ideas. A time to create a range of possible provocations which engage learners in the big ideas. A time to plan opportunities in which authentic student-directed learning can occur.
Pre thinking includes…
- The direction we’d like the unit to take – Setting the tone for the year, building a learning community conducive to learning.
- The PYP trans-disciplinary theme -Sharing the planet … ‘relationships within and between communities’
- The key concepts that will drive the inquiry – Connection and Responsibility
- The requirements of the Australian curriculum–
- History: The role that people of diverse backgrounds have played in the development and character of the local community. (ACHHK062)
- Citizenship: Being part of a group carries with it a sense of belonging or identity which includes rights and responsibilities, duties and privileges. These are guided by the agreed values and mutual obligations required for active participation in the group.
Brainstorm the big ideas – respect, diversity, belonging, co-existence, contribution, community, relationships, interactions, culture, rights, citizenship, values, cooperation.
Decide collaboratively on the desired conceptual understandings –
- A community is made up of people who have common purpose or shared values.
- Diversity within a community enriches the community.
- Being part of a community comes with rights and responsibilities, duties and privileges.
Come up with one conceptual word that defines the essence of the unit – Community
Write the central idea – This needs to be a broad conceptual understanding, globally significant, relevant and engaging, which invites inquiry. We take some quiet time to write it individually, then discuss, adjust and adapt until we have consensus.
Central idea – Communities are enriched by the contributions of individuals and groups.
Is it perfect? We’re not sure. Nor are we sure of the paths the learning might take, what the learners might discover and uncover along the way, where exactly the inquiry might lead for different individuals and classes…
We are sure that…
- Our desired conceptual understandings are achievable and worthwhile.
- The unit will help build a community of learners to set the tone for the entire year’s learning.
- It will help cement the relationships between two groups of learners coming together for the first time from different campuses of our school and create an awareness that each group brings something to the whole.
- It will expose learners to the necessary focus of the Australian curriculum to support the development of their knowledge and understandings, without teachers resorting to mere ‘covering’ of facts.
- It will foster the passions, interests and talents of individuals and raise awareness of the fact that they each have something valuable to contribute.
- There will be opportunities to develop a huge range of trans-disciplinary skills and attitudes, and promote creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.
In a way, our collaborative planning session has been an embodiment of our central idea: The Year 3 teachers, teaching and learning facilitators, teacher librarian and the ICT facilitator have spent several hours working and thinking together. The music and PE teachers have dropped in for a while too to share their ideas. We have built a sense of community within the group and been enriched by the contributions of every member…