Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Why struggling is good for your brain!

“Everything stinks till it’s finished.”
Dr. Seuss.

In this post I begin with a video from the Project Zero website which touts the efficacy of using thinking routines to promote learning. However, in this lesson, I have not used any specific thinking routine apart from making use of the vast expanse of whiteboards which happen to be our classroom walls. The students love scribbling on them!

The students were given only one problem to solve. 

They had to find the area of a complex shape-with some sides unknown- in as many possible ways.  Some students came up with 6 ways to solve the same problem.

 The purpose of this lesson was to encourage maths fluency. In other words, to appreciate that they can arrive at the same answer in multiple ways.

The more you struggle, the more your brain grows according to Jo Boaler, Stanford Maths professor. In this thought-provoking video, she talks about the importance of struggle. She goes on to add that everyone can be good at maths; they just need to appreciate the importance of struggle.

Listen to the students talk about their struggle and challenges.

As you watch the video, you may spot the girls (above) still working on the problem!

Listen to David Wees talking about mistakes and challenges.
Here is his blog, if you are interested in learning more about his mathematical approach.

...So dear reader, how do you cope with struggle?

Friday, 9 December 2016

Grade Six Field Trip to the National Diet of Japan

Grade Six had a wonderful learning experience when they got to interview a member of the House of Councillors of the National Diet of Japan; Mrs. Hiroe Makiyama, about politics and Governance in Japan. Mrs. Makiyama's daughter was in Grade Six last year and she was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule to present to our current Grade Sixes who are inquiring into how Government Systems can influence the lives of citizens.

Following the tour Mrs. Makiyama took time to answer questions from the students. Here is a clip with some samples:

On returning to school the students reflected on the trip. We all agreed that it was a really worthwhile learning experience and it has helped to raise a lot of interesting questions to inquire into over the coming weeks. Feel free to add your own reflection in the comments below.

Made with Padlet

Thursday, 8 December 2016

How We Organise Ourselves - Government Systems

We have now finished the 'Getting Started' phase of our current unit of inquiry and will continue to investigate, make connections and go further after the Christmas holidays. You can click on the link, below, to see the evidence of student understanding we will be looking for at each stage of the unit of inquiry.
The Inquiry process students engage with at Seisen Elementary School during their units of inquiry

Click here for the Grade 6 - How We Organise Ourselves Learning Intentions (Central Idea - The way in which government systems function can influence the lives of citizens.)