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

This is the wisdom a dying professor shares in his last lectureRandy Pausch's moving book ,"The Last Lecture", will inspire you to live each day with purpose and joy. Buy it here: http://amzn.to/2gDpWjO

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?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

 

Inquiry Into Learner Profiles: Caring

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

For a culture of kindness to truly grow in our school, we need to constantly nourish and discuss it. After all, if we limit the discussion to the occasional anti-bullying assembly we can’t really expect students to thoroughly catch the vision of what it really looks like, and to feel comfortable speaking up for kindness. If your class is in need of a recharge, please use any or all of these resources to inquire into what it means to be caring!

Resource #1: “Give a Little Love, Get A Little Love” Kritovatka

Resource #2: Kind is…Radical Hospitality by Soul Pancake

Resource #3: The Gnomist: A Great Big Beautiful Act of Kindness by Great Big Story (this is a longer video at 17 minutes, but if you happen to be able to make the time, I promise it’s worthwhile. Here’s the trailer, too!)

Resource #4: “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Z. Jones

Provocation Questions: 

  • What does it mean to be caring?
  • What is people’s responsibility to be caring?
  • What are the different perspectives in a community when it comes to public acts of kindness?
  • What are some obstacles that sometimes stand in the way of expressing caring?
  • What can we do to overcome obstacles that sometimes stand in the way of being caring?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

Inquiry Into Learner Profiles: Knowledgeable

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

I wrote a post as recently as just a few weeks ago about the need to prioritize relationships over content. But, of course, that does not mean that content does not have its own essential place. This week’s provocation is about being knowledgeable, and why that matters.

Resource #1: How The Animal Kingdom Sleeps by The Atlantic, via The Kid Should See This

How The Animal Kingdom Sleeps

Sleep is universal in the animal kingdom, but each species slumbers in a different — and often mysterious — way. Some animals snooze with half their brain, while others only sleep for two hours a day (without even suffering sleep deprivation!). Ed Yong guides us through the latest research on how creatures catch their z’s.

Posted by Animalism on Monday, November 13, 2017

Resource #2: Lisa Winter Robot Builder, via The Kid Should See This

Resource #3: Google Engine Timelapse Page

“Timelapse is an example that illustrates the power of Earth Engine’s cloud-computing model, which enables users such as scientists, researchers, and journalists to detect changes, map trends, and quantify differences on the Earth’s surface using Google’s computational infrastructure and the multi-petabyte Earth Engine data catalog.”

Resource #4: If Picasso Painted A Snowman, by Amy and Greg Newbold

Provocation Questions: 

  • How does knowledge impact our actions?
  • How does knowledge impact our ability to relate to people and events around us?
  • What is the relationship between knowledge and curiosity?
  • What is our responsibility to be knowledgeable, especially if we have Google to help us answer so many questions?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

Inquiry Into Attitudes: Empathy

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

We understand the power of empathy. It can help us find a sense of belonging. It can help us cross boundaries in reaching those around us. It can help us process our past pain and understand the struggles of others.

Surely, such a powerful attitude should never be taken for granted where our students are concerned. Here are resources to help them investigate it.

Resource #1: Scarlett, by the STUDIO NYC

Resource #2: The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Resource #3: If We Could See Inside Others’ Hearts

Resource #4: Empathy by Brene Brown

Provocation Questions:

  • What is empathy like?
  • What is empathy not like?
  • What is the relationship between empathy and connection?
  • What are the different perspectives on a empathy?
  • How does a person’s ability to feel empathy change?
  • How does empathy impact our communities?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

Inquiry Into the 5 Essential Elements of the PYP

I remember receiving a box of laminated cut-outs to display in my classroom which were intended to help remind us about our goals as teachers and learners using the International Baccalaureate (IB) PYP Programme — specifically, the 5 Essential Elements of the PYP.

via TIGS Illawara Grammar School

Use of these cutouts went about as well as my feeble attempts to use Key Concepts questions (read that story here — fortunately, it does have happy ending).

In retrospect, I realize that my mind was in such a frenzy trying to “get it together” as a new teacher, I never had the quiet time necessary to sit and process in its entirety this more subtle approach to teaching and learning.

As I’ve continued to reflect on my experiences at a PYP school, and on inquiry in general, I’ve come to better glimpse how and why all five of these elements truly are essential. This week’s provocation is intended as an investigation on where they come into play for learners. (I will also plan on designing additional provocations based on individual essential elements in the future!)

Resource #1: The Potter, video by Josh Burton

Resource #2: Soar by Alyce Tzue via The CGBros

Provocation Questions:

  • What is the connection between a growth mindset and these essential elements?
  • Why are concepts, skills, knowledge, attitudes, and action necessary for learning? What would happen if one element was missing?
  • How do the different elements support each other?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto