Sunday, October 6, 2019

Starting the Inquiry with Background Knowledge

Patrick Tomasso

I was listening to the Principal Center Podcast and the guest was talking about reading comprehension and how students need background knowledge.

Cool. I can give students more background knowledge, I thought.

Then today I was attending a PYP Workshop on assessment and the ATLs. We did an activity on the skill [ATL] of observation. We observed raisins moving up and down in a glass of 7-Up.

The words and concepts we were using (ie, surface tension, carbon dioxide, buoyancy, floating, sinking, absorbing, etc.) would be really challenging/impossible for an EAL student to come up with or describe.

This had me thinking about the next unit and how I could incorporate more background knowledge.

I thought back to a strategy I heard from a now-defunct podcast where you give all students an article and tell them to come up with one question. Then have the students make categories out of the questions.

From there the students do research.

My plan for the Tuning In phase of the next unit is to do the above in a few periods and present their findings. From there I will build on what they find and address any misunderstandings.

That's the plan until it changes.

This may be an obvious thing, and I used to do this, but somehow I got out of the practice. Somewhere along the line ...

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

"The Fall" a Small Moment Example

We are inquiring into small moment stories now in the writer's workshop, and it just so happens that something happened to me that is a small moment. So I wrote about it.

Click the above image to access the book.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Building Understanding of how it all Fits Together

On the top is the unit's central idea. 
On the left are the skills we are focusing on. 
On the right, the unit concepts.
In the middle are the activities we have done (at this point in the unit we have done three).
As we do activities, we have discussions about how the activities are or aren't related to the skills and concepts we are focusing on.