Although my gymnastics/dance unit will not begin until after the holidays, I had my grade 3 students take part in a pre-unit activity in today's class. This 15-minute activity was invaluable as it was aimed at letting the students really think about what it was that they wanted to learn in the upcoming gymnastics/dance unit. To front load a bit, I showed the students a few dance clips and a Cirque Du Soleil video. I then explained the central idea and lines of inquiry:
Gymnastics and dance allows us to move our bodies in amazing and creative ways
An inquiry into:
-the many ways we can roll, jump, and balance
-how dance and gymnastics can be combined
-the importance of flexibility and strength in gymnastics and dance
At Nanjing International School, we were extremely fortunate to have a great presenter by the name of Kath Murdoch come to our school and give a workshop on the importance of inquiry and the way questions and big ideas can drive curriculum. As Kath states: Why inquiry? Because it......
Is a vehicle for integration of the curriculum
Fosters connected rather than episodic teaching and learning
Caters for a range of learning styles
Is a transferable process
Taps into students' curiosity
Kath stresses how critical it is to allow students ownership of their learning experiences. Bearing these important points in mind, before a unit kicks off, I try my best to introduce the central idea and lines of inquiry and show videos when possible. I will then let the students, in groups, brainstorm what it is they would like to learn during the unit. Once I get this information from them, I build the learning experiences, the best I can, around their suggestions. Please see slide show below of the pre-unit central idea sheets I had them record information on for me. They were completely captivated by Cirque Du Soleil. I will build the unit around elements from Cirque Du Soleil. Let's see where the unit takes us!!!