Inquiry Into Learner Profiles: Communicator

This is part of a series of inquiry-based provocations for essential elements of the PYP and the Learner Profile. For more, click here.

It’s funny, really, how we sometimes altogether remove our own voice from our communication. We water it down in the attempt to look like everyone else. We apologize needlessly. We shy away from owning our strengths and what makes us unique. So if you use this provocation into what it means to be a communicator, I challenge you to bring voice front and center into the conversation with your students!

Resource #1: Obvious to you. Amazing to others. by Derek Sivers

Resource #2: Ballet Rotoscope

Resource #3: Citius, Altius, Fortius by Felix Deimann (similar to above, but equally thought-provoking!)

Resource #4: Barcode Band by W88N

Resource #5: The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan (lots of fun, but pay attention to the way this savvy girl makes her case)

Provocation Questions:

  • What is the role of voice in being a communicator? Why is your unique voice important as you communicate?
  • What does it mean to be a communicator? What are the different ways in which we communicate?
  • What is the role of communication in our society? How does it impact your family? Community? World?
  • What is our responsibility to be communicators? What is our responsibility to own our voices as communicators?
  • What is difficult about being a communicator? How do we overcome?
  • How is perspective important as we communicate? What is the role of listening?

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Inquiry Into Attitudes: Appreciation

This is part of a series of inquiry-based provocations for essential elements of the PYP and the Learner Profile. For more, click here.

As is often the case with these PYP elements, appreciation is another attitude that can be so easy for us to take for granted in our students (and ourselves). We might find ourselves shaking our heads about “kids these days” when the truth is that many kids may not have had the clear exposure, or opportunity to investigate these valued qualities for themselves. So this week’s provocation is designed to give them that very opportunity. Enjoy “Appreciation!”

Resource #1: Noticing the Soundscapes of Yosemite National Park via The Kid Should See This (a bit long, but even just the first minute or two will be sufficient for this provocation!)

Resource #2: “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

“She smiled and pointed to the sky. “Sometimes, when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.””

Resource #3: “Windows” by Julia Denos and E.B. Goodale

“Then you arrive home again, and you look at your window from the outside. Someone you love is waving at you, and you can’t wait to go inside.”

Resource #4: How to Write Your Life Story by Ralph Fletcher (a chapter book, but the first couple chapters are a great dose of self-appreciation about our potential to contribute as writers).

“Lies about writing your life story: Lie #1: You have to be a famous celebrity.”

Provocation Questions:

  • What does an appreciation attitude or mindset look like?
  • How does appreciation impact an individual’s life?
  • How does appreciation impact society?
  • What are ways/environments in which you can best feel appreciation?
  • What is our responsibility to appreciate people? Nature? Ideas?

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Inquiry Into Learner Profiles: Inquirer

This is part of a series of inquiry-based provocations for essential elements of the PYP and the Learner Profile. For more, click here.

This week’s provocation centers around what it means to be an inquirer.

Resource #1: A Mini, Magnetic, All-Terrain Robot via The Kid Should See This

Resource #2: SOAR by Alyce Tzue

Resource #3: Going Fishing Stop Motion by Guldies via The Kid Should See This

Resource #4: Claymates by Dev Petty 

Resource #5: Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler 

Provocation Questions:

  • What is the connection between being an inquirer and asking questions?
  • What are some of the obstacles we face in being inquirers?
  • What is the connection between being an inquirer and creativity?
  • Why is being an inquirer important for our individual lives and careers?
  • Why is being an inquirer important for our societies?
  • What does it mean to be an inquirer?
  • What is our responsibility to be inquirers?
  • How can you know you are being an inquirer through the learning process?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

Inquiry into Attitudes: Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm comes so naturally for so many kids (especially before they get old enough that it becomes uncool), it can be easy to overlook having a real discussion about it. But I’m pretty sure we could all use more of its rich, sunny, creative goodness in our lives. Enjoy this week’s provocation!

Resource #1: Me and My Cello – Happy Together Cello Cover by The Piano Guys

Another fun video from these guys packed with enthusiasm:

Resource #2: A Pep Talk from Kid President to You by Soul Pancake

Resource #3: Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor & Robin Preiss Glasser

Provocation Questions: 

  • What is the connection between enthusiasm and individualism?
  • What are some of the obstacles to enthusiasm? How can we overcome?
  • How does enthusiasm change over a person’s lifetime?
  • What is the connection between enthusiasm and creativity?
  • How does enthusiasm impact our world?
  • How does enthusiasm impact an individual’s work?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

Inquiry Into Learner Profile: Open-Minded

This is part of a series of inquiry-based provocations for essential elements of the PYP & the Learner Profile. For more, click here.

We often associate open-mindedness as being important among places of great diversity. It may be even more important in more heterogeneous locations. Rather than assuming our kids have the general idea of its meaning and importance, it should be an ongoing conversation in which kids can make connections and come to conclusions for themselves. Which, of course, is the very purpose of this week’s provocation!

Resource #1: Often Do You Challenge Your Biases? by Soul PancakeGreat way to get kids thinking about biases. Could be interesting to conduct a similar experiment via a Mystery Skype-type approach with children from other classrooms?

Resource #2: The Things Kids Carried photo essay by Isabel FattalI wonder what would happen if we asked kids to draw what they think backpacks in different countries look like before showing them the photo essay?

via The Atlantic

Resource #: Perspective by Lauren PedrosaGreat conversation starter about what the word, perspective, means, and how it impacts our thinking.

Resource #4: This Is How We Do It by Matt LaMotheWhat I especially loved about this book was the emphasis that no one family can be representative of an entire country–I remember being very confused by a DK version of this book when I was young. This is a wonderful tool to help us better understand how children around the world are alike and different). 

Provocation Questions:

  • What does an open-minded mindset look like?
  • How can a person’s open-mindedness change over time?
  • What is our responsibility to be open-minded when we are surrounded by people who seem different? Who seem alike?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

Inquiry Into Learner Profiles: Principled

This is part of a series of provocations for essential elements of the PYP, including individual attitudes, learner profiles, etc. For more, click here.

What does it mean to be principled? This one can be so broad and abstract, that even my fifth graders struggled with it from time to time. Most know that it has some correlation to honesty, but beyond that can get a bit hazy. Here are some resources that might help your students identify some of the nuances to being and becoming more principled.

Resource #1: Randy Pausch — Live the Right Way (part of a talk given during the terminal stages of Randy’s cancer).

Randy Pausch – Live The Right Way

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Posted by Goalcast on Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Resource #2: “Dear Report Cards, You Suck” by 6th grade student, Lynton, who is a student in Abe Moore’s classroom where they strive to focus on the learning rather than the grades (click image to link to Lynton’s work).

Resource #3: Penny & Her Marble by Kevin Henkes

Resource #4: We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

What’s The Difference Between Skills & Mindsets?

A friend in my PLN recently responded to one of my tweets with some thought-provoking questions.

My initial response was to say the difference between a skill and a mindset is that mindsets are more of an innate part of us, whereas skills are not necessarily fundamental to our human experience. But let’s take a look, for instance, at the approaches to learning skills encouraged at in the PYP Programme:

  • Thinking skills:
    • Acquisition of knowledge
    • Comprehension
    • Application
    • Analysis
    • Synthesis
    • Evaluation
    • Dialectical thought
    • Metacognition
  • Communication skills: 
    • Listening
    • Speaking
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Viewing
    • Presenting
    • Non-verbal communication
  • Self-management skills:
    • Gross motor skills
    • Fine motor skills
    • Spatial awareness
    • Organization
    • Time management
    • Safety
    • Healthy lifestyle
    • Codes of behavior
    • Informed choices
  • Research skills
    • Formulating questions
    • Observing
    • Planning
    • Collecting data
    • Recording data
    • Organizing data
    • Interpreting data
    • Presenting research findings
  • Social skills:
    • Accepting responsibility
    • Respecting others
    • Cooperating
    • Resolving conflict
    • Group decision-making
    • Adopting a variety of group roles

Clearly, many of these skills are crucial parts of the human experience, that could well be thought of as a mindset, such as metacognition, listening, and respecting others. Meanwhile, the PYP Programme also includes attitudes we work to encourage, including:

  • Appreciation
  • Commitment
  • Confidence
  • Cooperation
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Empathy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Tolerance

These are certainly what I would consider fundamental mindsets, or ways of thinking, along with Agency. I think it’s clear that we are always working to cultivate all these skills and mindsets. It’s just that skills are the means by which we cultivate mindsets. 

All that said, because these mindsets are innate, fundamental parts of us all, I believe that if we make room for and honor student voice in our classrooms, they will show us additional, unanticipated means by which we can create a culture of agency, empathy, enthusiasm, etc.

What are ways you seek to cultivate mindsets in your classroom?

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