Saturday, May 31, 2014

Immersion Week

Our big theme this term is 'Dream It, Think It, Do It!' so KW and I designed a week of immersion which allowed our students to be involved in a range of ideas and topics to allow us to negotiate the learning path with our students.  In our school we work in pods - this year my pod of 4 classroom consists of 2 Year 2 classes, 1 Year 1 class and my own year 5/6 class.  KW and I planned a range of learning opportunities and also within our immersion week we held 4 sessions where each teacher from our pod took a different immersion session where we split our students up within the 4 groups.  Within this pod time we saw students take on game making, drama, modifying sports and hat creation challenges that saw them working within different aspects of creativity.

For the rest of the week KW and I planned immersion learning opportunities for our Year 2 and Year 5/6 students to be working alongside each other.  Each activity was carefully planned to allow students to work within 6 main dispositions to develop their understanding of 'Dream It, Think It, Do It!'  We identified 'flexibility, risk taking, creativity, thoughtfulness, thinking and challenge' as our key dispositions and these became our focus of conversations and reflections with the students throughout the week.

Our first challenge for the week was simple in spirit but provided a wealth of information for us, as teachers.  We collected as many boxes and bits that we could find.  Large, medium, small and more... we had them all!  From this we started with very little instructions... choose some boxes - create something!  This was to give us a range of information about our students! We were expecting some far our creations, but found we had very 'normal' creations - a house, a bus, a rocket ship.  It allowed us to see that risk-taking for our students is a key disposition.  So after a lot of discussion, we decided to set up a 'ninja cave' the next morning.  This was a huge hit for the students the next morning when they came in to find it - it ended up morphing throughout the weekend to become more and more challenging each morning.  It was through our 'ninja cave' that we were able to have an amazing conversation around risk-taking and what that entails.

We discussed what makes risk-taking harder and examined elements such as 'when people are watching' the risk level can go up.  Our principal arrived on the tail end of this conversation and was then invited to take the risk.  The kids were more than stoked to see their principal go through the 'Ninja cave' and supported him with a huge cheer and pakipaki at the end.

The biggest learning curve for most students was the concept of 'guerrilla knitting' or yarn bombing.  The idea being a semi-permanent form of street art that changes the street side from the drab into the colourful.  It's the concept of creativity for giving and thoughtfulness that we were working with through this learning experience.  So we headed out to our school fence with balls of wool and got to work to create our rather plain looking school fence into a work of art.  The students worked in pairs - 1 Year 5 or 6 student with 1 Year 2 student and began with small hearts.  However, students soon wanted to try different patterns and designs and got more enthusiastic as they saw the fence take shape.  We ended up with some diamonds, larger hearts, S and L shapes.  Unfortunately time and weather was a factor for us and we have both spoken about heading out with our classes to work on these again.  The concept of their own creativity for giving was one that was talked about over and over again during the week.

The coolest element of this was the reaction they saw from their peers, teachers and families.  On Friday we arrived back to class to an awesome letter.  This letter now has pride of place in both our classrooms on our door - so everyone entering can read it!

These are just a selection of the learning experiences we developed as part of our immersion week with our students.  We also designed playgrounds, made marble runs and more.  It allowed the students a wide range of experiences and allowed us to see where our students interests and passions lay for our next steps of the negotiated learning path.  I really enjoyed collaborating and planning with KW and it allowed us to each draw on our own experiences and strengths.  I learnt a lot from working more closely with her and it was great being able to sit down at the end of each day and reflect on what we saw for each of our kids.

At the end of the week we used the Kath Murdoch 'Learning Wheel' as a reflection tool for the week to help us decide where our next steps were and the guerilla knitting was a firm favourite.  From our Learning Wheel reflections and conversations my class have chosen to go down the path of investigating 'how my creativity can benefit others'.  I'm really looking forward to seeing where we go with this!


Pete said...

There are so many levels of greatness happening here. Love it. Such a fun way to get stuck into really important stuff. Nice work.

Miss Signal said...

Many thanks Pete, always an honour to have you comment! So many great things happened that week - almost impossible to share in a blog post.

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