Building Bridges through Chinese

Doris King is a Chinese teacher at #sisrocks. She specifically teaches students from grades one to five who come from a household where Chinese is the first language. Typically, the traditional approach to learning the Chinese language is to memorize characters. This is especially true when it comes to learning how to write each character stroke correctly. Doris realized that there was a disconnect between how students were learning in their English-speaking homerooms and how she had been teaching Chinese to her native speaking students.

Doris wanted to transform her Chinese heritage class to make the language more accessible by creating more personal and deeper connections within the class, at home, and far away from her classroom. For Chinese heritage students, the goals are to instill the value of learning Chinese and also to illustrate progression. With that in mind, Doris began by encouraging her students to write and share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences through their personal blogs. Their first blogging task was to write about a time they experienced a challenge with a positive mindset. Once these pieces were posted to their blogs, students were asked to send their URL to a parent and a friend to receive feedback. The responses from their parents and peers were astounding. Parents told their children that they never knew they could express themselves that way. They were so proud of their child’s writing and were excited for them to share more.

Doris was pleased with the results but wanted her students to dig deeper. She took inspiration from colleagues at SIS, Ceci Gomez-Galvez and Nathan Lill. Doris used the mentor text that both Ceci and Nathan used for their Big DEAL event that has happened for four years now, based on “This I Believe,” from CBS’s Radio Network program, journalist Edward R. Murrow. In this instance, students had to scribe their works all in Chinese then use their speaking skills to showcase their deeper inner thoughts about what they believe.

The Chinese language program is still striving to have students digging deeper in their understanding and use of the Chinese language. Cross-campus connections, such as the “This I Believe” podcasts, are a great way for colleagues to encourage and challenge one another to try new strategies in their classrooms, often with incredible results.

For all resources check out the links below:

Doris King’s Chinese Heritage Students Links
http://share.sis.org.cn/dorisking/chinese-this-i-believe-2017/

Ceci Gomez-Galvez & Nathan Lill’s Podcasts
share.sis.org.cn/podcasts
http://thisibelieve.org/
http://www.npr.org/series/4538138/this-i-believe

Understanding STEAM

What is STEAM?

 
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) has been a transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning dating back as far as 1749, Benjamin Franklin’s time, according to some. From there it has taken on many shapes and forms in the education world. But, it wasn’t a curricular movement until Judith A. Ramaley the assistant director for education and human resources at the National Science Foundation from 2001 to 2004 coined the term, STEM. This interdisciplinary approach has been around long before but recently started taking off in the mid-2000’s. Today we have additional variations, to STEM, one current branch is STEAM. Many scholars, in this case, Peter Hennigar and Jacob Scott, feel that the “A,” really needs to be lumped into the equation. We want to be aesthetically pleased, we want to communicate with a clear intention, and we want objects to have a purposeful function. So by applying principles of design to science class, makes complete sense for applying aesthetics, design, and communication. Peter and Jacob aren’t the first to use arts into science, and they certainly won’t be the last.
 
The focus of the course is to expose students to real world problems that need to be addressed to find a solution while also being conscientious of the importance of design.
 
 

How is this transdisciplinary?

 
Both Peter and Jacob have their students go through the Dartmouth Project for Teaching Engineering Problem Solving model. This model gives students a platform that they can work from and move forward with a given challenge. One particular design problem was having students create a motion controller that would hold a digital capturing device.
 
So, you may ask…what makes this particular project, a STEAM project. Below are how all the disciplines are cover STEAM.
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Model Credited to Peter Hennigar
 

S-Science

The entire developing process, students, will be going through 2 processes, design thinking, and scientific inquiry while gathering evidence and documenting their learning progress.
 
 

T- Technology

Students were given the EV3 Lego Mindstorms to program the control of motion for their digital time lapse device. The students will also have a 3D printer available for rapid prototyping and printing fixtures. Students will also use their computers to research, document through their blog sites on the progression of their learning and thinking along the way. Before this challenge, Peter ran through basic programming skills needed to operate the EV3 Lego Mindstorm so students could access their prior knowledge while applying their understanding to the camera motion controller challenge.
 
 

E- Engineering

All students will be using the EV3 Lego Mindstorms to engineer a structure to hold a digital documentation device. Groups that choose to 3D print will have to engineer models using a CAD program, specifically Tinkercad because of the simplicity of the tool.
 
 

A- Art

Taking capturing video and time-lapse photography students are to compile their footage into an art piece that captures life in Shenzhen while exhibiting mood that engulfs the viewer attention.
 
 

M- Math

Students must have a time-lapse piece in their film. The film cut needs to be a minimum of 1 minute long. Students need to show how many frames per second they captured to demonstrate an understanding of time, frame rate, and speed. Applying, all the disciplines together to into a great video in the end.
 
 

How do you assess each student’s performance?

Students must demonstrate their learning by gathering evidence and displaying their knowledge through a digital portfolio. Each group(3-4 students) had one log book to document their thinking and to demonstrate booking of experience every time they met during the STEAM class period. The record book supported their process of learning, however, some students documented in different ways, which for all intensive purposes students were given agency to showcase their knowledge. Many of groups as mention before, blogged about their experience, this was a must, but others not only blogged about their learning but video documented each contact day of their project development.
 
Their final product was to produce a video using their time-lapse motion controller to capture the life of the Shenzhen community.
 
 
 

Examples of students work:

 
 
 
 

Shark Tank Process:

Each group came up with a company name to present to “venture capitalists,” Just like the famous show in the US.  Teams were given 15 Minutes to showcase product and answer questions from the “venture capitalist,” panel.
 
In the end, the shark tank panel handed out checks to each company to show their interest investing for a better product to be released for sale.
 
 
 
Why not just do traditional science?
 
Traditional science predominate only pushes the traditional boundaries of hard skills to develop. With STEAM not only do student build hard skills but they also work on their soft skills, especially when it comes to showcasing their learning.
 
Problem Solving in Engineering
Communicators
Independent learners
collaborators
Complex Thinkers
Global Citizens
Using Models and Simulations
Elements and Principles of Design
Applications of Principles Design
 
 
 
 

Grade 1 Students Produce Audio Books for ECC Students and SIS Library

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Our SIS elementary library now has approximately 60 children’s books with audio narration thanks to our grade 1 students. As part of a reading unit on oral fluency, grade 1 teacher Ria Hennigar was interested in the idea of creating audio books but also wanted her students to have an authentic purpose and audience for their productions. Their ECC (Early Childhood Center) reading buddies provided them with an audience with limited reading abilities and, in some cases, developing English vocabulary. The audio books, which could be read/listened to at the library or at home, would give ECC students more opportunities to develop their reading and listening skills. The production of these audio books also tied in perfectly with grade 1’s social studies focus on community and being a helpful community member.

Preparation
To create these audio books our ES librarian, Gaylene Livingston helped pull a selection of library books that matched with grade 1 student reading levels so students could be successful in reading them aloud. Then students chose books based on their ‘just right book’ criteria and ‘tested’ them out reading to themselves and then with partners. To prepare for recording the books, students listened to audio books and noticed how to use clues from the text and images to inform dialogue and expression. For the ‘turn the page’ sounds, Mrs. Hennigar consulted with our ES music teacher, Kimberly Sheppard, to choose appropriate instruments to use such as bells and triangles. Partners then practiced reading their books, taking turns reading and using the instruments to indicated when it was time to turn the page.

Production
To produce the audio recording, students used Voice Record Pro app on their classroom iPads. After their first recording, students would listen and critique their work. Was it loud enough? Could I follow along? Did I use appropriate expression? Was my reading accurate? Many students wanted to record again to improve their recording and Mrs. Hennigar commented that many students do not usually pay such close attention to their oral fluency and were very motivated to say words correctly and to be understood.

Grade 1 Students produce their audio books

Grade 1 Students produce their audio books


Sharing

As student audios were produced, Mrs. Livingston and I developed the process to gather the audio files and add them to a new blog with each audio book as a post with the recording and an image of the book cover. From these posts, QR codes were generated and placed on ‘stickers’ inside the cover of each book to provide access to the recordings. (Mrs. Livingston also tagged the books in the library system so any books with audio can be easily found.)

In addition to Mrs. Hennigar’s classroom, students from Ritu Bohara and Michele Hussey’s grade 1 classrooms also contributed audio books to the collection. With the creation audio books completed grade 1 students have been testing them out and also visiting ECC classrooms to share their audio books and to teach the younger student how to access and use the audio recordings.

Results
Mrs. Hennigar was happy with the increased motivation her students had with improving their oral fluency and creating a product for our beginning readers. This project also provided opportunities for collaborative partner work and service learning for our SIS community. Next year, grade 1 and the ES library will continue to promote the audio books and they plan to produce even more!

Explain Like I’m Five (ELI5) An exchange between 1st and 8th graders

It’s safe to say that making learning experience for children is what drives teachers to teach kids every day. The “teachable moment,” is something that no lesson plan can prescribe, no box program can have in place. Teachers are willing to work out-side their means to make learning experiences authentic for their students. What better way for students to learn a theory is by actually practicing it first.
@petehennigar teamed up with #sisrocks 1st-grade team (@RiaHennigar@lkrebs1@MrsBohara, Michele Hussey) to give both 8th grade and 1st-grade students an experience to teach each other states of matter (phases of solid, liquid, gas)
The organizing of this first began with grouped grade 8 students crafting a lab report that could be read and followed by group of first-grade students. This was a matching alignment of curriculum, 8th-grade students just finished states of matter and first-grade students were learning the difference between solids and liquids.
One thing that always should be pointed out is…why? Why have older students to engage with younger students?
What learning is happening:
  • Illustrates comprehension of content when being broken down to its basic form.
  • Both students have to demonstrate critical thinking skills & collaboration.
  • Both students have to demonstrate global citizen skills in order for the exchange to happen successfully.
  • The older students are servicing the younger students learning experience.
We caught up with one 8th grade student and asked her 2 questions that would help make you think about doing this for your students.
Q what makes this experience unique?
A I think unique, I don’t have this type of interaction on a daily basis
Q – How did you know that learning was happening?
A-  The 1st-grade students had fun, they could identify what was happening in front of them by describing their lab experiment.
Here at #sisrocks, we have had several exchanges where younger students are mentored by older students. We look to make more connections in the future. We also look to make it common practice in some areas.

Variation of PBL

Peter Hennigar is a middle school science teacher. One of his approaches to have students learn the asked curriculum is to coach them through a variation of project-based learning. Students had to challenge themselves to showcase their learning by capturing it on camera and then edit their own raw video into a final video clip. For more on how he got his students to think outside the box and practice essential skills, click here.

Video Conferencing with Young Learners

12976210_1008812569185734_1677280597_nTechnology has given students and teachers amazing opportunities to make global connections to learn and share with each other. Video conferencing allows students to meet each other in real time – a powerful experience for all.

However, managing a live video conference call with our younger students can be challenging and chaotic without careful preparation and structure.

These guidelines were put together with teachers and students in Early Childhood and Primary classrooms in mind for planning and conducting meaningful & productive video conference calls but are applicable to all levels.

Video Conferencing with Young Learners Guidelines and Resources (PDF)

Guidelines created by…
Ann Lopez, ECC teacher
Marina Rabelo, Kindergarten teacher
Diana Beabout, Learning Innovation coach
at Shekou International School

***Inspired by involvement in The Traveling Teddy Bear Project (Pana Asavavatana & Joe Sergi)

Crafting your Own Manipulatives

 
The traditional approach to teaching molecular bonding has been through the ball and stick method. With any useful tool or object we use to learn and teach through, we should at least consider reimagining how it can be delivered in a more empathically way. Making learning through real life experiences will engage students, but it will allow for purpose in student academia.
 
Peter Hennigar saw this as an opportunity to have his student make their own 3D models using Tinkercad. The groups of 3 to 4 students needed to figure out how designing a model that would be 3D printed in class would be applicable to anyone wanting to learn molecular bonding. Once student finally printed their models, they have to craft simple direction for any end user to use and learn from the manipulative models. We caught up with Peter to find out more about the teaching and learning through a 3D printer in Chemistry class.
 
Looking at the standard and benchmarks why did you feel this was currently the best way students could demonstate their knowledge of covalent and ionic bonding of elements?
 
Having students create their own models through the design process, pushes students to indirectly learn content and demonstrate their knowledge by applying that information to their design.
IMG_3359
 
Why have students CAD their molecular structures?
 
Because the focus was on the design process. This allows students to dive deeper into the key characteristics of molecular bonding. 
 
What types expect student learning results were achieved throughout this process?
 
Students develop a mastery level of understanding of molecular bonding. This would entail effective communication, critical thinking, visual representation, and large amounts of collaboration with their design teams. 
 
Why did you feel it was important to have students learn to use CAD demonstrate their learning?
 
Typically this process has been taught and learned through experiences that are 2D. By having the accessibility of a 3D printer, I was inspired to give myself and students a challenge to make their experience come to life. Thus creating an actual 3D model.
 
What science standards did you have the students meet?
 
Describe the build-up of electrons in ‘shells’ and understand the significance of the noble gas electronic structures and of valency electrons

 

Describe the formation of iconic bonds between elements from Groups I and VII
 
Describe the formation of ionic bonds between metallic and non-metallic elements

Describe the formation of single covalent bonds in H2, Cl2, H2O, CH4 and HCl as the sharing of pairs of electrons leading to the noble gas configuration.

 
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How does this tie into real world applications that society is exposed to everyday?
 
Development of a product that is related to content that gives students a purpose behind their learning of Chemistry.
 
What will you do differently next time?
 
Scaling of final product of their 3D molecular manipulative structures and set limitation.
 
How did you use the pedagogical approach to Understanding of Design?
 
The most important piece to this process is that it gives the students the excuse to indirectly learn the actual content that they then can turn around to apply to create a 3D model. 
 
A part of the journey of having your students create 3D models, you found the exact same educational product that was being funded to go into production. How did your students feel about this?
 
They were interested that professional were making and marketing the same type of tools that they were making.
How does this apply in other aspects of curriculum. Function verse Product
 
 
Creating 3D models for boards games that recreates pandemics. Mythology Talisman
 
Creating 3D models that represent a character of a story. This is how G.I. Joe was born.
 
Creating 3D model models to create tessellation and modular (Art, Math, Science).
 
Possibility are ends with the intent to focus on design through a 3D modeling.
 
City X design in Elementary School
 
Elementary School math manipulative for ratios or fractions
 
3D printed jewelry for art
 

On Risk & Resiliency: Where Language meets Illustration

Innovation can be defined as the process of translating an idea into something that creates value or satisfies a specific need. Framed in this way, innovation goes beyond technology and emphasizes underlying concepts such as risk and resiliency – two words that are often not associated with the acquisition of language.

With that said, Sophie Delaporte and her French language students just completed a project on idioms that embodies this spirit of innovation. From an instructional lens, this project was risky because it went beyond her students’ intermediate level, and the task was more than just a word for word translation project. Although idioms are interesting because they give us insight into cultures, add meaning and color to languages, they involve transposing cultural concepts into a new context. If you speak a second language or are in the process of learning one, you know how difficult this can be.

As educators, when we know more about our students we are able to make more informed decisions. Ms. Delaporte, in this case, not only knew her students were a highly visual group with great artist ability, she understood they had a good sense of analogy. When interviewing her, we talked about her students’ “grit” and how they would be up to the challenge because of their complex thinking skills. Interestingly, Ms. Delaporte and myself saw this first hand and learned alongside students because the task was so specific. We appealed to other language teachers and wider community to verify idioms and their accuracy. Others got involved and produced gems like your “rice cake is bigger than mine” (the grass is always greener on the other side) or this piece by Anna D – “Tomber de Charybde en Scylla” which translates to “Out of the frying pan and into the fire”. Her digital drawing below does an amazing job of illustrating where idiomatic expressions and art meet.

Anna image

Lastly, although presented as an option technology was not ignored. All students used Storehouse in one way or another to tell a story, reflect, present. Here are a few examples. Enjoy!

Story 1         Story 2          Story 3          Story 4

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