About Me

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Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2nd Grade Teacher at a school in Melbourne, Australia. My job: push kids to think. My passion: helping kids to tackle the life-long skill of searching for meaning, skills, answers and more questions.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Why 10yr old kids take authentic ACTION? Ask them!


Do your students, or own children for that matter, take authentic action about what they have learned at school?  I'm guessing if they do, then they're considered pretty special.  I'm also guessing they are at a PYP school which doesn't make enough of a song & dance about each moment because they're so busy.

Wow... there ARE decent images in the Creative Commons of Flickr.  Nice one!


Teaching at a PYP school is pretty rad... but also pretty challenging.  I think I've mentioned this previously. 

A recent challenge I've been wrestling has been how to make authentic opportunities for my kids to 'Take Action' within our Units of Inquiry.  Today, we wrestled that bear again in a staff meeting.  The bear is still winning, but I see an angle that might help me to prevail in the final reckoning!

Taking ACTION in Canberra used to mean this... Action buses.  Funky picture from God-Knows-How-Long-Ago!

So... in year 4 we've been exploring the 6 types of verbs.  We can:


1) DO   notable examples include run, jump, kiss, vomit and tackle

2) SAY   notable examples include say, talk, yell, argue and swear

3) THINK  notable examples include think, wonder, question, understand and consider

4) FEEL   notable examples include hope, trust, fear, love and hate

5) HAVE   notable examples include have, own, possess, obtain and aquire
and 
6) BE  notable examples include is, was, has been, being and be


It has occurred to me that taking action might not always take the form of a DOING verb!
Perhaps what a kid SAYS or FEELS or THINKS is just as valid!  Surely it must be! 
Perhaps a kid BEING more caring for others or BEING less selfish in their thoughts is just as valid!
Perhaps a kid HAVING more patience, HAVING more empathy or HAVING less anger is just as valid! 

Zombie to do lists aren't all  DO! Zombies tell, complain and think too!




Perhaps action might not happen when we want or expect it to!  Perhaps ACTION requires an ongoing process of revisiting our reasons for what we say, think, feel, have or even ARE!

Great... now I have verbs I can't even measure happening at any time, day or night, now or in 5 years time.

IMPOSSIBLE TO MEASURE!


These verbs are HEAPS less measurable!  How do you make a note of how a kid feels?  Particularly a young kid in year 1?  The answer to this could lie in community communication.  We could make either a local community or online community BANK of actions that fit each of these categories when we see them happen. Consider how we could make a bank of responses to the following situations:

You might see a kid hold open a door for someone, or turn off a dripping tap.
Ask, "Why did you DO that?"  

You might hear a kid say, "Leave him alone!" or "We shouldn't hunt rhinos."
Ask, "Why did you SAY that?"  

You might see a kid sitting still and calmly, listening intently to a guest speaker.
Ask, "Why are you BEING like that?"

You might see a kid really chewing over a non-fiction book about machines.
Ask, "Why do you THINK that's important?"

You might not SEE feelings unless you are looking closely.  Perhaps you might even ask about feelings openly... scary idea!  Is FEELING differently about people, cultures or the environment ACTION?!

Imagine asking what kids FEEL about Australia's Indigenous people now that we know more about their history...     I tried that recently...    My next blog will contain some of the responses.


Action Cycle
The action element of the PYP Essential Elements should look like this... or a thumb... or something........

I've learned (from official looking PYP folk) that ACTION should be cyclical... That we should be acting, reflecting, choosing future paths and acting (not necessarily starting with acting) as one big cycle of awareness / enlightenment.

So as part of this process of enlightenment, I intend to just start ASKING my students... 
"WHY?"... 
a lot!
 
If we collected the stories, the responses, the ideas and the actions of our students, publicly displayed them  and maybe shared them with each other in an online community, what amazingness could come of it?

19 comments:

Bruce Ferrington said...

Like the idea of using verbs to describe different ways to take action.
Love the bus stop.

Michelle said...
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Michelle said...

I have really found so much to think about in so many of your blog posts that I could probably (and maybe eventually) will comment on most of them! Just blogged about this post - hope it's okay that I borrowed (and referenced) your poster and posts here: http://smwhreinbetween.wordpress.com/
I really appreciated your thoughts on Taking Action and am going to try to make this a more visible part of our learning process in my classroom with a similar wall. As a teacher new to the PYP programme, thanks for helping me to re-define and shift my understanding in what Taking Action can look like...

Richard Black said...

Thanks very much, Michelle. I'm only 20 months into my PYP journey, so anything we can do to help each other along the way is great by me. Everything I share openly, so go for it. Thanks for the encouragement to share more. I hope you see the twileshare of my display. Thanks again.

E. Lundie said...

Love your post!
I'm teaching an action cycle mini-lesson and plan found your posts about action to be a great resource and echo my own thought :)

E. Lundie said...

Love your post!
I'm teaching an action cycle mini-lesson and plan found your posts about action to be a great resource and echo my own thought :)

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