The end of our unit with the Central Idea “Throughout history, Settlement has led to changes and challenges ” crept up on me as it always does. Kids were spread all over the classrooms and in the nooks and crannies around our rooms. They were chatting in pairs and groups; some sought quiet space and others were consulting with either me or my co-teacher (Liam).
Liam and I had stopped numerous times during the unit to think, talk, change pace and focus. Sometimes we worried about the direction that the unit had taken. We felt concerned that perhaps the children’s inquiry wouldn’t reflect the concepts and understanding of the central idea as we were hoping they would.
The inquiry took on numerous forms. Some children created surveys and then analysed it by creating a Wordle. One made a picture story book showing the perspective of the Aboriginal people when the First Fleet arrived and some interviewed their grandparents who had left Europe during World War II. As we hoped , there was a huge range in the presentations and the skills and understanding that children had acquired during the unit.
I was a bit surprised, when Chase brought his reflection to me and I saw the words “Central Idea”. Chase is a a natural inquirer and deep thinking child. Why was he regurgitating the CI? Then as we started chatting , I realised what he had done. Chase had created his own CI. “Settlement has different effects and it often changes people’s lives in a big way.” He decided that his concepts were “difference and opinion”. He chose to do Colour, Symbol, Image thinking routine to demonstrate his understanding of the unit and he chose black as his colour because, “There are always blocks in everyones’ lives forcing and providing changes and challenges.”
Looking at their connections and understandings, I think it went well! On Monday , we will get all four Year 4 classes together and ask them to share their presentations , one on one (in rotations) to gain others’ perspectives on their personal inquiries, and to give their feedback to their peers.