So embedded are our own culture’s idiosyncrasies that we generally take them for granted. This is particularly true when it comes to our idioms. That’s why, when I came across this list of 40 idioms that don’t translate on TED-Ed, I just knew it would make an intriguing provocation.
Other resources for students inquiring into language might include this animated map of “how Indo-European languages may have evolved:”
Or this video, also from TED-Ed on how our languages evolve (might be a little complex for younger students, but you never know…):
Why do humans use figurative language?
How do you think idioms from certain countries are related to the way of life in that country?
How does language diversity affect our world?
How are human beings connected through language even when we speak different words?
How does becoming more fluent (readers and writers) in our own language help us? How does studying other languages help us?
Last week, I shared an inquiry into tech use provocation that teachers can use with their students to consider its effects on them as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a world.
I also spent part of last Monday running some PD sessions at my old school (one on inquiry, and two on tech use).
The most rewarding moment during my tech sessions was when teacher told me as she left, “You made me think differently about Twitter!” Mission accomplished!
Of course, Twitter is just one piece in the puzzle of effective and innovative edtech, but there really is something special about it when it comes to becoming global citizens as teachers and students! So this week’s provocation is going to consist of examples of how Twitter can impact student learning, a worthwhile possible investigation for both teachers and students…
Example 1: These 3rd graders found this animal skeleton on their campus. Study “Approach C” for their Twitter use example.
Example 2: 7th grade teacher, Pernille Ripp, searching for refugees to Skype with her students. See the breathtaking results of that Tweet here.
I am looking for people who are willing to share their experiences as refugees or working with refugees in a skype call with my students
“We tend to panic too much about technological change. Maybe this time the technology is, in fact, going to have all these disastrous effects that everyone’s worried about. But children have always been the first adopters of new technologies, and the previous generation has always been terrified when the new technology was introduced…
But school-age children have been gossiping and interacting with one another and trying to figure out peer relationships for as long as we’ve been human. And the way that they’ve done that might have been just whispering and talking in that hunter-gatherer culture, or passing notes in the culture that I grew up in, or texting in the culture that children are growing up in now. I don’t think there’s any particular reason to believe that the technology is going to make that worse or more problematic than it was before.”
So, this week’s provocation is to let those children consider both sides of this tech issue themselves. The first resource is a photo series by Eric Pickersgill entitled “Removed.”
The second is a video I’ve shared before, but that I think would pair well with the above resource for this provocation.
Why do people have different perspectives about technology use?
How does tech use impact your life?
How does tech use impact your family’s life?
How does tech use impact your school/community function?
In the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), teachers organize their curriculum into six units of inquiry with broad titles. One of them is designated as the “Who We Are” unit, and it’s always a pleasure to watch my students investigate the central idea within this framework. A powerful resource to help provoke their thinking is a photo series by Tom Hussey called, “Reflections” (see his site for more).
What does reflection look like for you?
How does reflection help us figure out who we are?
How does looking back help us move forward?
Why is reflection sometimes difficult for people?
How does the process of reflection change for people over time?
What causes people to become more interested in reflecting?
I want to start this week’s provocation article by re-sharing a quote from Paul Solarz that was included in Adam Hill’s post on launching Genius Hour with his students:
“Too many children today go to school only to bide their time until they get home and do something that truly interests them.”
Paul Solarz, Learn like a PIRATE
The more I think about this, the more it makes sense that those same children grow up to continue to spend large blocks of their lives–even careers–“biding their time until they get…to do something that truly interests them.”
Meanwhile, they might never truly learn what their own passions are, let alone practice them.
To me, it all comes down to assumptions. How we should spend our time, our money, our relationships, our energy, our intelligence–it’s all dictated based on preconceived notions from, well, almost everyone around us.
Today, I want to share two resources that rock that idea to the core. The first is a beautiful autobiographical comic from Bill Watterson–a man who turned down millions of dollars to authentically pursue his passion and craft.
The second is a video entitled “The Millennial Rebuttal.”
You might take a look at these provocation resources and think, “Yeah, but tomorrow, I need to teach fractions, phonics, and the anatomy of an apple. What place does this have in my instruction?”
The answer is, the highest place. Untraining students from the dependency on others’ assumptions will help them better familiarize themselves with their passions, develop their critical thinking, unlock their ability to problem-solve creatively, and own their learning process. We have trained our students to sit passively and wait to be told what the priority is long enough. It’s time to help them look at the big picture, and to discover what matters most.
Why are cultural messages (“they say”) often at odds with reality? Where do they come from?
What are other cultural messages you’ve heard that don’t line up with your experience/values?
What does it mean to “invent your own life’s meaning?”
To assume means to act like you know something about a person or how something should look based on your experiences. How do assumptions impact individuals and societies?
Many of us have a love/hate relationship with math. And depending on your students’ ages, they may have thoroughly convinced themselves that they hate it or are no good at it. If that’s the case, we have all the more responsibility to help our students see the bigger picture and the true beauty behind the numbers, starting with our own attitude.
This is easily the most phenomenal mathematics video I’ve ever watched. Share it with your students to provoke inquiry and appreciation for math–and at only 1:41 minutes, don’t be afraid to play it again and again as the conversation deepens and understanding sinks in.