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Away from the “Me, the Teacher”

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Success

How do we measure educational success? This is a question that we must ponder again and again, to make sure that the goals are not simply to satisfy the needs of grown-ups or determined with only certain children in mind. We must consider goals that are truly necessary for children and the future. We must keep in mind the holistic nature of all goals, so that each child is equipped according to his or her capacity and is able to lead a life of value and contentment.

In the past, our human thirst for knowledge has pushed us to study and understand so many things both concrete and abstract, to the point of creating a belief among many people that education means an accumulation of knowledge. This belief has led us to value knowledge teaching, evaluating knowledge and counting success by knowledge. However, deep down, we know that we want people to be good and kind, to live together in peace and mutual support, and to lead lives of value and contentment.

I believe most of us know what the challenges are and what we should do to improve education. But we are not putting in our best efforts. To surrender to the problem is easier, because it is a way of adapting and enabling us to achieve balance once again. A lower balance is degenerative adaptation. Most people choose this option because it is easier and justifiable in so many reasonable ways. Deep down, however, human nature has progressed so far because we have adapted in a different way – charging through obstacles. All throughout the history of human evolution, we have constantly pushed ourselves to overcome our limitations.

We are surrounded by rapid and violent changes. How should today’s education respond to these transformations? We must look beyond the shallow goals of knowledge, university entrance examinations, employment, etc. Education is a constant with so many hidden variables. It is gruelingly difficult to control the end result. Education as is may help us to remember that we must brush our teeth daily, that we must beware of falling from high places, that we can extract benefits from various things. But, as is, education has not achieved clear results in helping us realize how short life is.

All of us are involved in education, directly and indirectly. We must therefore do our best, like the gardener who tends to every tree and every aspect in the orchard, be it watering, fertilizing, pruning or getting rid of pests. The gardener’s hope is that these efforts will enhance and complete the natural capacity of the trees to bear fruit. Once everything has been done, the gardener can only watch and wait.

Lamplaimat Pattana School, an Outside the Box School, views our goal as developing learners in a holistic manner, enabling people to live together in peace, mutual support, with value and happiness. This kind of learning will enable learners to reach wisdom. There is outer wisdom, which is an understanding of the world and its phenomena, a set of knowledge and skills applicable to employment or maintenance of a quality livelihood. There is also inner wisdom, which is an understanding of oneself, an ability to perceive the emotions of oneself and others, to the point that one is able to manage those emotions. It is also recognizing the value in oneself and other people and things, to live with meaning, with awareness of the connectedness between oneself and the things around us,  with humility toward all beings which mutually support one another, with the ability to coexist with fraternity and acceptance of differences, with respect toward others, with moderation and the ability to be satisfied, with constant awareness of oneself and one’s emotions, with the ability to distinguish when to stop and when to go on, with focus and persistence to complete tasks, and with a heart full of love and kindness.

Cultivating wisdom is more intricate than cultivating knowledge. The mature teacher will toil endlessly to help students reach this goal. The teacher’s maturity will help uphold such a grand goal and overcome any obstacles.

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Teaching SOLE….

Check out this TED talk on the new Self Organized Learning Experience project from Sugata Mitra

http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud.html

Ive never been impressed by Mitra’s “hole in the wall computer” for a variety of reasons but SOLE looks like a real educational framework around some of the core ideas that came out of that experiment and others.

Im also attaching the SOLE toolkit mentioned in the video for others to duplicate the experience.  SOLEToolkit

This looks like a very interesting and practical experiment.

– Bryan Forst

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Student Centered Learning-Science Right Outside

 

Lesson planning that involves everyone as learners using the immediate environment

 

Student Centered Learning—Science Right Outside

By Stan Chu, Bank Street College of Education, New York City.

schu@bankstreet.edu

 

Young children are curious about the natural world around them.  Teachers can facilitate their explorations of what is immediately available to them just footsteps away from their classrooms.

Collaboration

Here is a description of an exploration of animals found within the grounds of the Rato Bangala School (RBS) in Kathmandu, Nepal and done by 28 teachers of grades one through five as part of a two-week intensive in-service teacher training program I led August 6-15, 2012.  This was a continuation of a  20 year collaboration between the RBS and the Bank Street College of Education, New York City.

Direct Experience

This work with classroom teachers having direct experiences with real materials is in keeping with the belief that teachers need to experience learning in the same ways children raise questions and gather evidence from first hand encounters with the physical world.  In addition, learners must create ways to represent their understandings in order to form mental models.

Using the immediate environment to explore and teach

For this session, I collaborated with Basante Yadav, an experienced Nepali science teacher at the RBS in facilitating an exploration of animals found along the edges of the school’s grassy football field.  Teachers were given small trays and hand tools to dig into the soil.  The goal was to find any animals, living or dead, that caught the interests of teachers, and that raised questions that could be answered in the context of available time, materials, and previous understandings.

Teachers formed themselves into groups of four, and walked to the school football field a few minutes away.  They spent about 15 minutes overturning fallen branches and rocks, and digging in the soil.  The teachers were helped to take particular notice of physical settings where they found their animals.  Was the soil moist or dry?  Was the area in the shade or direct sunlight?  Were the animals on leaves, soil, or underground?

Experiential learning

The animals were taken back to the workshop classroom.  Each group had magnifying glasses to help them notice details of the body of their animal.  They then created an enlarged drawing on clear plastic with a fine tipped black marker.

Participatory learning

Group then took turns projecting their drawings using an overhead projector.  Each group member said something about the animal or the conditions in which it was found.  This reporting-out included sharing questions group members had about their animal, and what they might do to try to answer these questions.

Small environments were then created similar to the physical conditions from which the live animals were found along the football field.  This close duplication of living conditions maximized chances for the animals to remain alive, and fostered the idea that living organisms need to be respected and cared for by learners.

During the following days, teachers devised ways to try to answer questions they had about the animals.  Could the animal see?  Could it hear?  What does it eat?  Should the soil be moist or dry?  Does it like shade or direct sun?

The teacher’s role in student centered learning

An aspect of student-centered learning involves questions learners themselves generate from direct experiences.  The teacher has a number of roles, including scaffolding questions of students when needed in order to make the initial questions more accessible to answering, and anticipating sufficient time and tools that help learners pursue their own questions.

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Student-Centered Learning Thailand

Welcome to Student-Centered Learning Thailand

Long Live the Memory of his Majesty King Rama IX !

Long Live Democracy!

Our Mission:

To provide a center of discussion , information and planning for 21st Century education reform in Thailand that will lead to a unity of purpose and action among  Thai and international educators to realize the goals set forth in the National Education Act of  B.E. 2542 (1999).

At the heart of this National Education Act B.E. 2542 (1999) is a move toward student-centered learning and a student-centered  classroom.  Specifically, Section 24 of the Education Act outlines what must be done   to improve  education  performance : 1. arranging learning in line with the students’ interests , aptitudes and individual differences ;2. training students in thinking abilities, especially critical thinking; 3.organizing learning activities that draw from authentic experiences; and 4. promoting situations where learners and teachers learn together.  

In addition to addressing these key issues of education reform in Thailand , indeed in international education, we also focus our attention and resources on the goal of promoting Thai teachers to reach their potential as skilled teachers using teaching methods that engage their students with the result that students love to learn through self discovery.

ยินดีต้อนรับสู่ Student-Centered Learning ประเทศไทย

ทรงพระเจริญ

พันธกิจ: เพื่อสร้างศูนย์ข้อมูล การแลกเปลี่ยนข้อคิดเห็นและวางแผนสำหรับการปฏิรูปการศึกษาของประเทศไทยในศตวรรษที่ 21 อันจะนำไปสู่การปฏิบัติอันเป็นไปในทิศทางเดียวกันของนักการศึกษาไทยและต่างประเทศเพื่อให้บรรลุเป้าหมายที่กำหนดไว้ในพระราชบัญญัติการศึกษาแห่งชาติ พ.ศ. 2542 (1999) ใจความสำคัญของพระราชบัญญัตินี้คือการมุ่งไปสู่การเรียนรู้และการเรียนการสอนในห้องเรียนโดยมีนักเรียนเป็นศูนย์กลาง โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งมาตรา 24 ที่กำหนดถึงสิ่งที่ต้องทำเพื่อพัฒนาประสิทธิภาพของการศึกษาไทยคือ : 1. จัดการศึกษาให้สอดคล้องกับความสนใจ, ความถนัดที่แตกต่างกันของนักเรียนแต่ละคน; 2. อบรมนักเรียนให้มีความสามารถในการคิดวิเคราะห์ด้วยตนเอง; 3. จัดกิจกรรมการเรียนรู้จากประสบการณ์จริง; และ 4. ส่งเสริมการเรียนการสอนที่ครูและนักเรียนได้เรียนรู้ร่วมกัน นอกจากประเด็นหลักเพื่อการปฏิรูปการศึกษาในประเทศไทยเหล่านี้ แน่นอนว่าในระดับโลกเรายังมุ่งเป้าไปยังการส่งเสริมศักยภาพอาจารย์ชาวไทยในด้านทักษะการสอนโดยอาศัยเทคนิคการสอนที่ให้นักเรียนมีส่วนร่วมในชั้นเรียนเพื่อให้นักเรียนมีความรักที่จะเรียนรู้ด้วยตัวเขาเอง

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PISA Results

We thought our readers might be interested in this extract from the PISA web site

Performance Indicators of Student Achievement [PISA]

Are boys and girls ready for the digital age?

 PISA IN FOCUS 2012/01 (January) – © OECD 2012

• More than 17% of students in Australia, Korea and New Zealand are top performers in digital reading, while fewer than 3% of students in Austria, Chile and Poland are.

• On average, girls outperform boys in digital reading; however, the gender gap is narrower than it is in print-reading proficiency.

• Among boys and girls with similar levels of proficiency in print reading, boys tend to have stronger digital navigation skills and therefore score higher in digital reading.

Information and communication technologies revolutionize not only the speed at which information can be transmitted, but also how information is conveyed and received. Technological innovations have a profound effect on the types of skills that are demanded in today’s labour markets and the types of jobs that have the greatest potential for growth.

Most of these jobs now require some familiarity with, if not mastery of, navigating through digital material where readers determine the structure of what they read rather than follow the pre-established order of text as presented in a book.

PISA 2009 evaluated not only how proficient 15-year-olds are in gathering and processing information that they acquire when reading printed texts, but also how proficient they are in reading digital material.

PISA found that some countries have been far more successful than others in helping students to equip themselves to participate fully in the digital age. For example, more than 17% of students in Australia, Korea and New Zealand are top performers in digital reading, while fewer than 3% of students in Austria, Chile and Poland achieve that level of performance.

Korea recently developed a “Smart Education” policy that includes digitalizing all textbooks and assessments by 2015, building or improving school infrastructure so that it accommodates new technologies, and training teachers in the use of these technologies.

Although, on average, student performance in digital reading is closely related to performance in print reading, in some countries, such as Australia and Korea, students score significantly higher in digital reading than in print reading, while in other countries, notably Hungary, Poland and the partner country Colombia, students are better in print reading than in digital reading.

For full research data go to: http://www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/29/22/49442737.pdf

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Thailand and the United States face a common problem: the relatively low status of its teachers relative to other professions.

The following article published  in the New York Times on December 12th, 2011  explains Finland’s success in education in terms of  raising the status of its teachers.

Why can’t Thailand and the USA do what Finland has done for its teachers?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/education/from-finland-an-intriguing-school-reform-model.html?_r=1&nl=nyregion&emc=ura2

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Looks Like, Sounds Like, Feels Like

A teacher directed child centred classroom;

 

 

 

Whole Class Teaching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Individual Work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like

 

  • The teacher ‘Tuning in’ and sharing ideas and resources with the whole class. This may include using various graphic organisers e.g. what I know, what I would like to know etc.
  • Opportunities for students to take risks in sharing their learning with their teacher and class.

 

  • Work spaces arranged so that students can be in close proximity to their teacher.

• The teacher giving time and encouragement to students in order to demonstrate their learning across curriculum areas.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Adequate work spaces for students.
  • Curriculum relevant to student needs and interests.

 

Small Groups

 

 

  • Classroom program arranged to allow students to find space and resources.

 

  •  Relevant and up to date resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Individual Work

  • Learning program developed so that students can enter at their level and be extended and challenged.

 

  • Teacher and student created rubrics for assessment.

 

  • Students displaying their learning in a number of ways, e.g talking, writing, art, drama etc.

 

Sounds like

 

  • Students being able to discuss their understandings and to make connections

 

 

  • Students explaining, discussing their learning with peers, teacher and parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Students discussing and helping each other.
  • The teacher interacting with groups.

 

  • Students sharing their learning with the class through speaking, writing, drama, music, art.

 

  • Teacher making learning objectives clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •  The sound of discussion between students and between students and teacher.

 

  •  Students sharing their learning with peers, parents and teacher.

 

  • The teacher interacting with individuals.

 

 

Feels like

 

  • Warm and safe to share

 

  • To ask questions and give opinions.

 

  • Inviting and feeling part of the group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Warm and safe to share.
  • To ask questions and give opinions.
  • Inviting and feeling part of the group.
  • Students feeling encouraged  to share their understandings with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Supportive environment so students feel comfortable to give thoughts and opinions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Planning a Unit of Work (Learning Sequences)

Ellen Cornish and Don Jordon at work
“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.”  Roger Lewin
PLANNING A UNIT OF WORK (LEARNING SEQUENCES)
by Ellen Cornish and Don Jordon, Ph.D.

TOPIC

Feel good, feel great.

The human body.

SHARED VALUES

Self, family and others. Maintaining wellbeing, a healthy lifestyle, nutrition, fitness.

PRINCIPLES

Identity and culture.

Inclusivity, preparing for life (through change), relevance.

KEY COMPETENCIES

Thinking and creativity. Relating to people. Making meaning. Living a healthy life. Learning sustainable practices. Using technology and media.

Goals for Learning

 

  • Helping students to develop an understanding that behaviours, attitudes and choices affect identity and relationships.
  • Students will be able to use these understandings to make good/informed choices about their health.
  • Students will consider how these choices affect themselves and others.

 

Overarching Goals.

 

  • What factors contribute to physical health and well-being?
  • In what ways can we make positive and informed choices about our wellbeing?
  • How do these choices impact on others?

 

Students will understand that:

 

  • Key features about their physical body and how it works, grows and develops and ways of caring for it.
  • How to make informed choices about the nutrition we need in order to keep our bodies healthy.
  • That our choices impact on well-being.

 

Learning Experiences that lead to Understanding

 

  • Creating a positive learning environment.
  • Connecting to prior learning.
  • Making learning meaningful – references to what the students know, what they want to find out, how, rubrics:

teachers’ and students’.

  • Recognising individual differences.

 

Demonstrations of Successful Learning

 

Measure learning across all dimensions; multiple methods; use feedback; reflect on learning; express thought

through writing, concept maps, rubrics, pictorial representations, oral presentations.

 

 


Tuning In

Brainstorm with the class the following question:

 

What do you know about wellbeing and good health?

 

  • Conduct an activity in groups of three to assess the students’ knowledge of their wellbeing and good health.
  • Have three students simultaneously write individually in three different colours on a large sheet of paper about their understanding of well-being.
  • Students share their answers with other members of their group. Ask the listeners to decide the most important piece on information given.
  • Students report to the class three of the most important pieces of information from their group.
  • Working as a whole class have students sort the information into categories of food and drink, drugs, hygiene/ keeping clean, germs/ diseases and feelings.

 

Read Dr Dog story as Tuning In activity (Author Babette Cole. 1996)

 

Brainstorm with class what messages they think the author is giving in relation to well-being.

 

Ongoing Assessment

 

  • Record students’ thoughts as written notes.
  • Keep students’ written work as a record of current understanding to compare with their understanding after the unit.

 

Focus on students’ ability to:

 

  • Express and generalise information about implied health issues.
  • Express thoughts in written form.

 

Ask the students to try not to just re-tell the story of Dr Dog

 

Finding Out, Sorting Out

How can we find out about how our bodies work?

 

Guiding questions:

 

  • What do we already know?
  • What do we need to find out?
  • What happens when…..?
  • What does the ……do?
  • Why?
  • How do we find out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is inside my body?

 

Teacher directed: Lead a discussion on ways to look after our bodies related to what is inside our body and how it works.

 

  • Working in groups, have students draw a life size body for the group.
  • Have students create the inside of the body. They may do this in any form they wish, eg draw, paint, collage etc.
  • Ask them to label the parts they have identified.
  • Have the class undertake group research tasks on body systems.

 

Teacher directed: Explain the complex nature of how all the body parts work together. Tell students that to help us understand this complexity, we can look at ‘systems’ in the body.

 

Examples of body systems:

 

  • Path of food through the body relates to the digestive system.
  • Parts related to breathing form the respiratory system.
  • Continue to make a list of major systems of the body giving a brief description of their functions.
  • Advise the groups to list the information already known and to list questions to direct their inquiry.
  • Discuss the use of internet sites, reference books and asking an expert.
  • More able students can seek extra information.
  • Have students design a rubric to assess each group’s as well as their own presentations with reference to the criteria discussed. (see sample rubric)

Ongoing Assessment

·         Display the students’ ‘bodies’ and use these representations as references for ongoing reflection.

·         Encourage oral presentations, technology (models etc.), visual artwork, graphs, maps, collage.

·         Have each group present their information about their specific body system to the class in the form of an oral presentation supported by a life-sized labelled poster/diagram, Power Point.

·         Explain to the groups the criteria that will be used to assess each group’s oral presentation.  Suitable criteria include: using strong, clear voices, facing the audience, ensuring each person has equal turn to speak, agreeing on a time frame, making it interesting for the audience, referring to the poster/diagram to assist understanding, explaining how the system works.

·         Assess students’ oral presentations to the class of their research task, including their diagram/ body poster.

·         Assess how effectively the group explains the body system and how its parts work together.

·         Score 1-4 on each criterion. At the completion of each presentation, have the whole class assess the presentation using a rubric.

 

Investigate factors contributing to well being

Food

Do we need more of some foods than others?

 

Teacher directed, ask the students:

 

  • Are there some foods we should eat more of than others?
  • What are they?
  • Refer to the way certain foods are better for our bodies.
  • Discuss food groups and with the help of the students brainstorm to categorise individual foods into food groups.
  • Using a large class pyramid, have students sort pictures into a Healthy Diet Pyramid – Eat Most, Eat Least, Eat Moderately.
  • Clarify their choices through a class discussion and ask why they placed particular foods in particular places on the pyramid.
  • Using the computer program WORD, have students design a Healthy Diet Pyramid on the computer importing

Illustrative pictures.

Ongoing Assessment

 

Assess students’ ability to:

 

  • Categorise foods into the Eat Most, Eat least, Eat Moderately sections of the Healthy Diet Pyramid
  • Justify their choices.
  • Replicate their learning to a computerised format.

 

How do we know what is in particular foods?

 

Teacher directed: Ask and discuss with students questions such as:

 

  • How do we find out what ingredients are in food products?
  • What information is given on the packaging?
  • What claims do manufacturers make on the packaging to try to sell their product?

 

Investigate breakfast foods

 

  • Working in groups, ask students to compare different breakfast foods for sugar, fibre, fat, energy and salt content.
  • Have each group record information about four different breakfast foods.
  • Have each group produce a graph to depict the nutritional data collected on the foods.
  • Ask students to identify which food is the healthiest.

 

Ensure students justify their choices when showing their graph to the class.

Ongoing Assessment

Assess students’ ability to:

 

  • Analyse nutritional information,
  • Depict their data in graphical form.
  • Analyse their graphs.
  • Make conclusions.
  • Make considered choices.
  • Justify their choices.

 

Describe the components of a balanced diet.

 

  • Have students write down all the food they eat in two days.
  • Have students work with a partner to analyse each other’s diet and then to justify their decision as to whether it is balanced or not.

 

Teacher note: Ask students to refer to the Healthy Diet Pyramid and the information on the recommended number of serves per day in order to initiate a class discussion.

 

Pose these further questions:

 

  • What changes could you make to your diet?
  • What can we do to help put our understandings of what constitutes a balanced diet into practice?

 

Ongoing Assessment

Assess students’ ability to:

 

  • Assess their own diet.
  • Make considered choices about what they might change.
  • Devise a plan for adjusting their diet.
  • Incorporate elements of healthy, balanced diet into a breakfast menu.

Plan a healthy breakfast or lunch for the class.

 

  • In groups ask students to use their knowledge of a balanced diet to design a breakfast menu.
  • Have them consider cost, practical aspects of preparing food at school, individual tastes, health benefits etc.
  • Have students share their plans and reach a class consensus.
  • Have students assist in the preparation and serving of breakfast, with help of parents and or other adults.

 

Culmination

 

  • Ask students to organise their information and make choices about how best to present their research. e.g. flow chart, series of models, timeline depicting particular events etc.
  • Make a board game to play with their friends to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained.
  • Read all about it… (make a class newspaper.)
  • Make a book to share with younger children or for the school library.
  • Ask students to share and present their work between classes.

 

Glossary

Overarching Goals: Goals which overshadow the whole topic.

Tuning In: Finding out what the students already know about the topic, as well as what they would like to find out in order to stimulate their interest and enthusiasm for the topic.

Brainstorm: group discussion and sharing of ideas.

Guiding Questions: questions related to the topic which promote thought as well as refining the investigation to be undertaken.

Graphic Organiser: Charts which help visually organise information (there are many examples, including Y charts, T charts, fish bones, placemats, concept maps, flow charts etc. on the internet)

Rubrics: Teacher or student generated charts based on the topic being studied to assist with self-assessment.

Formative Assessment: Teacher assessment, as well as student self-assessment which can be demonstratedthrough drama, oral presentations, written material, information technology, art and craft etc.

Summative Assessment: System and school based testing.

Culmination: The final part of the topic where students demonstrate their understandings using a variety of methods including drama, information technology, oral presentations, written material, art and craft etc.

 

ELLEN CORNISH

Ellen Cornish has had 33 years’ experience teaching in Tasmanian schools. She has taught in both primary and district high schools during that time. She has spent time in senior management roles within the school setting. Ellen has also held the positions of treasurer and president of the Early Childhood Educators of Tasmania Association. She has led many professional learning sessions for her colleagues and is skilled in the mentoring and training of pre-qualification teacher trainees, newly qualified teachers and teachers who experience difficulties and those re-entering the profession. Teaching in Korea helped to enrich her experience as an educator.

In March 2011the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation invited her to evaluate the leadership, curriculum, resources and teacher training and experience, at the Mechai Pattana Secondary School in north eastern Thailand. She was also asked to make recommendations for improvements to help bring the school up to the standard required to support the development of a teacher training institute.

 

She is skilled in providing a creative and challenging program where her students are encouraged to develop their own strengths as well as to take on board responsibility for their own learning and behaviour. She strongly believes that all children can reach their full potential by being given the appropriate guidance within an environment that is non-threatening and one which fosters self-belief.

She has expertise in the education of children with disabilities as well as those with challenging behaviour and their ability to function within the mainstream school.

One of her passions is to foster creativity in children. In order to facilitate this successfully she has regularly updated her skills by enrolling in professional learning courses. An example of this was a drawing course with the Art School, University of Tasmania.

Ellen has a Bachelor of Education, a Diploma of Teaching and is currently  registered with the Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania, Australia.


Don W Jordan

Dr Don Jordan, D.Sc.Ed, is an experienced educator, having taught in primary schools in Tasmania, Australia.His perspective has been enriched by his work with disaffected students in the United Kingdom and with Bachelor of Education students in the Gaza Strip and working with curriculum developers and teachers on behalf of UNICEF in the Maldives.

In March 2011, Don was invited by the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation, to evaluate the leadership, curriculum, resources and teacher training and experience, at the Mechai Pattana Secondary School in north eastern Thailand, in preparation for it to become a demonstration school for the a proposed Teacher Training Institute.

Don has a particular interest in the philosophical and theoretical place of computers in primary classrooms in Tasmania, and their effect on students’ learning, behaviour and social development.

 

 

 

 

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Planning a Unit of Work (Extinction)

 

PLANNING A UNIT OF WORK ON EXTINCTION

 

TOPIC

Extinction,

Animals, Birds, Fish etc.

SHARED VALUES

Caring for our environment including all living creatures.

Responsibility for the environment.

PRINCIPLES

Sustainability of land, sea and air.

Learning to create purposeful futures.

Learning to act ethically.

KEY COMPETENCIES

Thinking and creativity.

Making meaning.

Living a sustainable life. Learning sustainable practices. Using technology and media.

 

Goals for Learning

 

  • Helping students to develop an understanding that behaviours, attitudes and choices affect their environment.
  • Students will be able to use these understandings to make good/informed choices about their habits and the impact it has on living creatures.
  • Students will consider how these choices affect themselves and others.
  • Students will understand that all living things need a sustaining habitat. (What sustains a habitat)
  • Students will understand that ecosystems are fragile. When 1 species is at risk, others may also become at risk.
  • Students will understand that various factors contribute to a species becoming endangered, vulnerable, and extinct and how human factors have increased this.
  • Students will understand that there are ways that people can help bring about change.

 

Overarching Goals.

 

 Concepts: sustainability, extinction, eco-systems, biodiversity

  • What factors contribute to a sustainable environment and the welfare of all living creatures?
  • In what ways can we make positive and informed choices about caring for our environment?
  • How do these choices impact on others?

 

Students will understand about:

 

  • Key features about sustainability and how it impacts on animals, birds etc
  • How to make informed choices about how we protect our environment.
  • Sustainable land use and protecting the sea and air.
  • How our choices impact on our well-being.

 

Learning Experiences that lead to Understanding

 

  • Creating a positive learning environment.
  • Connecting to prior learning.
  • Making learning meaningful – references to what the students know, what they want to find out, how,

Rubrics: teachers’ and students’.

  • Recognising individual differences.

 

 

Demonstrations of Successful Learning

 

Measure learning across all dimensions; multiple methods; use feedback; reflect on learning; express thought

through writing, concept maps, rubrics, pictorial representations, oral presentations.

 

 

Tuning In

 

Find and write the dictionary definitions for extinct, endangered and vulnerable.

 

Brainstorm with the class the following question:

 

Does it matter if some animals become extinct?

*(within the animal category we are including animals, birds, reptiles and fish)

 

Conduct an activity in groups of three to assess the students’ knowledge about extinction and sustainability.

  • Have three students simultaneously write individually in three different colours on a large sheet of paper about their understanding of extinction and sustainability.
  • Students share their answers with other members of their group. Ask the listeners to decide the most important piece on information given.
  • Students report to the class three of the most important pieces of information from their group.
  • Working as a whole class have students sort the information into categories of threatened, endangered and extinct.
  • Many kinds of animals have become extinct. Choose one, and think up five questions that you would like to ask it if you had the opportunity.

 

Ongoing Assessment

 

  • Record students’ thoughts as written notes. (larger classes could allocate someone to scribe or a tape recorder could be used to tape thoughts)
  • Keep students’ written work as a record of current understanding to compare with their understanding after the unit.

 

       Focus on students’ ability to:

 

  • Express and generalise their understandings of threatened, endangered and extinct.
  • How to care for the land, the sea and the air. (Create and maintain a sustainable environment)
  • Express thoughts in written form.

 

 

 

Finding Out, Sorting Out

 

       How can we find out about the animals which are endangered of becoming extinct?

 

       Guiding questions:

 

  • What do we already know?
  • What do we need to find out?
  • What happens when…..?
  • What does the ……do?
  • Why?
  • How do we find out?

 

What do animals need to survive?

 

Teacher directed: Lead a discussion about what animals need to survive: (Whole class activity)

Individual and group activities.

  • Advise the groups to list the information already known and to list questions to direct their inquiry.
  • Discuss the use of internet sites, reference books and asking an expert.
  • More able students can seek extra information.
  • Working in groups, have students list all the animals they can find out about that are in danger of becoming extinct.
  • What do animals need to survive?
  • Develop a plan that would ensure that an endangered animal could survive.
  • Draw a flow chart of a food chain for an animal in your habitat.
  • Describe the animals that would be supported by your habitat?
  • What is an eco-system? What are some of the consequences of disturbing them?
  • Compare a bird and a fish. List all the ways that they are: alike, different.
  • Select an animal and make a list of its food and shelter. Students may do this in any form they wish, eg write, draw, paint, collage etc.

 

 

Ongoing Assessment

 

  • Have students design a rubric to assess each group’s as well as their own presentations with reference to the criteria discussed. (see sample rubric)
  • Display the students’ work and use these as references for on-going reflection.
  • Encourage oral presentations, technology (models etc.), visual artwork, graphs, maps, collage.
  • Have each group present their information about their specific research topic to the class in the form of an oral presentation supported by a labelled poster/diagram, Power Point.
  • Explain to the groups the criteria that will be used to assess each group’s oral presentation.  Suitable criteria include: using strong, clear voices, facing the audience, ensuring each person has equal turn to speak, agreeing on a time frame, making it interesting for the audience, referring to the poster/diagram to assist understanding.
  • Assess students’ oral presentations to the class of their research task.
  • Assess how effectively the group explains the flow chart and ecosystem and how it works together.
  • Score 1-4 on each criterion. At the completion of each presentation, have the whole class assess the presentation using a rubric.

 

Assess students’ ability to:

 

  • Make conclusions.
  • Make considered choices.
  • Justify their choices.
  • Make conclusions.
  • Make considered choices about what they might change.
  • Have students share their plans and reach a class consensus.
  • Ask students to organise their information and make choices about how best to present their research. e.g. flow chart, series of models, timeline depicting particular events etc.

 

 

Culmination

 

  • Does it matter if some animals become extinct? Why? Give your reasons.
  • Select the environmental issue that interests you the most. Explain what it is and your suggestions for solving it.
  • Make a board game to play with their friends to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained.
  • Read all about it… (make a class newspaper.)
  • Make a book to share with younger children or for the school library.
  • Ask students to share and present their work between classes.

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

 

 

 

  • Overarching Goals:  Goals which overshadow the whole topic.
  • Tuning In: Finding out what the students already know about the topic, as well as what they would like to find out in order to stimulate their interest and enthusiasm for the topic.
  • Brainstorm: group discussion and sharing of ideas.
  • Guiding Questions: questions related to the topics which promote thought as well as refining the investigation to be undertaken.
  • Concept maps, flow charts: These are examples of graphic organisers.
  • Graphic Organiser: Charts which help visually to organise information.
  • Rubrics: Teacher or student generated charts based on the topic being studied to assist with self-assessment.
  • Culmination: The final part of the topic where students demonstrate their understandings using a variety of methods including drama, information technology, oral presentations, written material, art and craft etc.
  • Teacher Directed: the majority of classroom activities are directed by the teacher
  • Child Centred: teacher and students in a learning partnership
  • Multiple Intelligences (MI) Howard Gardner’s seven multiple Intelligences
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy: Blooms hierarchy of research skills
  • Whole Class Teaching: The classroom teacher working with the whole class on the same activity.
  • Small groups: Students organised in groups e.g. 4-6
  • Individual Work: students working alone on individual projects / contracts
  • Contract: A series of questions on a particular topic based on Bloom’s taxonomy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Assessment Rubric for Students

 

                  3

2

1

 

What have I learned

about extinction and habitats?

I enjoyed learning about extinction and habitats.

I would like to continue learning about extinction.

 

I sometimes liked learning about extinction and habitats and I think I have learned a little bit. I don’t think that I learned anything about extinction and habitats. I was bored and I didn’t like the topic.
 

How well did I participate in group work?

I participated well in group work. I always did my share of the work and participated in class discussions.

 

I worked well most of the time. I did some of the work in the group and I thought about what I could share in class discussions.

 

I wasted time in the groups and I did not help much. I didn’t concentrate or try to think of things to share with the class.
 

Was I able to answer the questions that were asked at the beginning of the unit?

I was able to answer most / all of the questions.  I thought about them during my work on the unit and answered them when I could.

 

I sometimes remembered the questions and answered one or two. The questions were difficult to answer. I forgot about the questions and did not think about them again.
 

Did I complete all the work of the unit?

 

 

I completed all the work for the unit as I was very interested in the topic I completed most of the work and I will continue to finish it off for homework or when I have finishing off time in class.

 

I did not complete all the work and I did not try very hard.
 

Have I used a number of ways to demonstrate my learning?

 

I have used a variety of art and craft materials to show what I now understand about extinction and habitats. I have given an oral presentation to the class about extinction and habitats. I have made a model of a sustainable habitat to show what I think is important to help prevent the extinction of animals. I drew a picture of a habitat.