Background on this G5 ‘Action’ Project
This project started late October 2012. This blog post journeys our progress with the Grade 5 students…month by month.
As part of our former UOI: How we Organize Ourselves myself and another homeroom teacher made contact with a local orphanage run by a Danish woman named Ingrid. We visited her tiny orphanage and took video and photos with an iPhone to share the experience with 30 eager students.
Here is a link to the orphanage’s website: Yayasan Lestari Sayang Anak
We returned to the students and shared the images from our visit. Students were very curious about the orphanage and our first step to finding out more was to call an interview with the owner, Ingrid. This was an excellent opportunity to link English Language learning into the UOI studies. We built our How We Organize Ourselves unit around the Writing purpose “Writing to Inquire”. Students engaged in inquiry-based activities that developed questioning skills and they had opportunities to interview a variety of people at school before extending to the greater community.
Students playing a game where they toss the ball and ask an open question (10 points) or closed question (5 points).
Literacy links for EAL students: (November 2012)
To further involve my foundation level students, I created an eBook activity that encouraged them to learn the vocabulary for the project and get involved in understanding more about the orphanage.
Sample eBook created by Foundation-level EAL student
Students gathered images I took on the iPhone and developed interview questions to ask Ms. Ingrid when she came to visit. Before her visit we discussed ‘open’ vs ‘closed’ questions and came up with a bank for Foundation level students to draw from. Students were paired with another native speaker so they could gain a stronger understanding of her answers.
Holiday Mini-Action: Consumables Drive (Dec 2012)
Students organized themselves to shop and collect consumables that were needed at the orphanage. Many students had never shopped for themselves before and we asked that they take a photo of themselves purchasing the product. This was an excellent way to ensure the students took responsibility rather than ask a nanny or driver to do the task!
By the end, we had over 10 kg worth of consumables which included anything from pampers, to instant coffee (for the workers) to hand soap. It was a very rewarding experience for the students and the orphanage greatly appreciated the early holiday present!
SMART Goals: Action plan process today…(Jan 2013)
Our school’s CAS (Community and Service) Coordinator is working with Grade 5’s to map out their action plan for a visit to the orphanage. Due to the small space, the students will visit in groups no bigger than 3 over the next 5 months and prepare an activity for the toddlers.
We used google docs to coordinate a calendar with the CAS coordinator and to keep track of what activities students were interested in. Students will also access googledocs to communicate with each other (using the monitored ‘chat’ option) and also to collaborate and add to their ideas.
To prepare for our action plan students are using the acronym SMART to flesh out their ideas:
S = Specific
What action do you want to do?
Where will the action take place?
Who will your actions benefit?
M = Measurable Method
Is your goal too big?
What steps will you need to take to reach your goal? (See Action Table)
How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
A = Achievable
Do you have the resources needed to successfully complete your goal?
Who will help you take action and complete this goal?
How will you communicate with the people helping you?
What challenges could you or your group face?
R = Relevant
Why do you want to achieve this goal?
How will your action benefit the community?
T = Time-Bound
How long will it take to achieve the goal?
What are the starting and finishing dates?
When will you provide feedback and updates?
What steps will you need to take?
1) Further defining student action plans
2) Confirming and coordinating possible visits (with parents and with Ingrid)
3) Documenting each visit and reflecting on it