Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Setting ourselves up for success is a step by step process...

Making connections with the learning is the key to genuinely deepening understanding. By tapping into the knowledge gained across multiple learning areas we can encourage our learners to merge these various knowledge bites of independent information. Our task today was to do exactly that. Earlier in the year we explored the ways personification and the 5 senses can help us see things from a different perspective (-the original task link is on slide 2 of the teaching DLO below). This term our inquiry focus has been Olympic based. Over the last five weeks we have looked closely at how elements of Hauora, Diet and Training can affect an athlete's performance. By viewing the 2016 Olympic games through the eyes of an athlete standing on the medal dias, I hoped that my learner's would make stronger and deeper connections to our topic.

The images below show the process we went through to help us retell an event through someone else's eyes.


Merging images to make personal connections had everyone hooked. As a class that lives and breathes the ethos of collaboration, I noticed at least half of my learners chose to 'stand on the podium' with a buddy. Another interesting observation is that the colour of the medal was invisible. National and personal pride completely overshadowed the gold, silver, bronze hues.



With the imaginary eyes of the world on us we now needed to fill our knowledge 'ketes'. After all you can't describe something you have never seen if you don't have the tools to grow and foster an imagination. Our tool for this was 'Sketchnote'. I had read Karen Ferguson's post about her own experience of picking out the main ideas and focusing on them by 'sketchnoting', and decided to afford my learners the same opportunity. The image below reflects the way one of my learners added to her own 'kete' using this method. 


Sketchnoting allows us to record information using our own words or pictures. This learning tool is helping my learners make notes that make sense to them rather than simply copying what someone else has written in their own handwriting. Being able to retell their very personal 'sketchnote' stories to a friend underpinned the understanding and allowed those strong connections to be made.

Where did this information come from? The answer, multiple sources. I provided links to online newspaper articles and challenged my learners to use their smart searching skills to find supporting information that they read, watched and listened to. It is very rewarding to watch the seamless interchanging of their subject specific 'thinking hats' as knowledge gained during these lessons was synthesised and recalled to meet the learning needs of this lesson. 

Being given the choice of selecting the way they want to approach the 'create' aspect of this learning has both engaged and empowered my learners. Some chose to show their understanding through interviews or conversations using ifaketext.com; others have opted to write narratives; one learner has decided to write an email home to their family and two groups are in the beginning stages of storyboarding their movies. 

Were connections made today? The simple answer is yes!