This unit planner is a mash-up of what is currently proposed for a new unit for fourth grade, the math curriculum and current unit of work on data handling, and my desire to work with our fixed IT schedule (45 minutes, once a week per class) to make the time spent with me connect more closely with classroom learning. I am in the process of negotiating a flexible schedule with all teachers as IT teachers and me pushing into classes to further support teaching and learning with technology. Until this type of schedule is enacted, I have used this assignment to better plan out my ‘one off’ lessons so that they lead towards students being independent in their use of technology and aware of how they can use technology to document, share, and reflect on their learning. As much as possible, I want to use what they are currently learning about to introduce new technologies and then have them revisit these technologies in the context of their unit which will begin in January. Is this ideal? I don’t know. But I do know it is better than what is currently happening which I don’t think connects all that well to current classroom teaching and learning.
We are currently in the process of planning a new unit under the transdisciplinary theme Sharing the Planet. The current thought is that it will be about accessibility and who has access. I will be involved in the planning of this unit but it is largely driven by the PYP Coordinator and the fourth grade homeroom teachers. As part of German class, students will be taking a field trip into Munich. It has been proposed that they take a wheeled suitcase or stroller with them on the trip to simulate the issues faced by those who rely on accessible access in order to participate.
At the same time, students are working on data handling in math. I would like to see these skills be transferred into a context that asks the students to use what they know to convey a message and support their opinions. This is something we ask of them in the Exhibition (in our school, Exhibition is done at the end of fourth grade). In addition, students have to present weekly on the book they are reading and I will have them do this through the creation of a book trailer in iMovie so that they can become familiar with how this works. Their next unit of inquiry focuses on Migration and this will be the context with which I will introduce Tour Builder for students to map their own migration stories and the migration stories of people they research.
The assessment for all of this will be in the form of the one point rubric. This is something that is new to me but that really resonates and something I really want to try out. I posted about this rubric on my own blog a few weeks ago. I would focus only on the NETS standards at this point (not the curriculum standards). This is partly due to how the teaching of IT is structured at my school and partly to draw attention to the NETS standards as discrete, important learning goals in their own right.
In the embedded planner (below) I have included a potential outline of the next eight weeks of IT classes. It does seem quite ambitious but I think unless you ask kids to push themselves beyond what comes easily, you are not enabling them to grow as learners. Learning occurs when it all gets a bit uncomfortable – and that goes for us as teachers, too.
As is implied by the intentionally mis-quoted graphic at the top of this post, my hope is in planning, sharing, and being willing to open this unit up to other teachers to collaborate and modify, we will start to develop a more holistic and integrated approach to teaching and learning with technology.