Curriculum: Week of May 19, 2013

What’s Happening:

  • Grade 8 English and Humanities Interdisciplinary Unit (IDU) Great things have been happening in eighth grade! A MYP IDU between English and Humanities classes focused on the concept of rules.

    Humanities Unit Question:“Why do we need authority? What happens when authority fails?”

    English Unit Question: “When is it okay to break the rules?”

    Humanities focused on the seven roles of government, and in English the focus was on persuasive writing techniques and reading a mix of nonfiction texts about real-life individuals who “broke” the rules in one form or another. Both classes examined the value of having rules within a society, and discussing what happens when those rules are not upheld or if they are broken.

    image from sean miller

    character-driven seminar conversation paths by sean miller

    Both classes participated in a “character-driven seminar” at the end of the unit. Students used the persuasive techniques learned in English class to construct a five-paragraph essay in response to the unit question. English teachers worked with Humanities teachers to share the persuasive techniques the students learned, and  students were also exposed to these techniques within the Humanities curriculum. In Humanities, students learned effective communication skills for the seminar.

    Ultimately, this was a great IDU for the students. They have gained new understandings of their personal beliefs, the transfer between the skills and subject areas was amazing, and the IDU has promoted best practice amongst the grade 8 English and Humanities teachers. Students were able to demonstrate strong, persuasive writing and speaking skills, which translate to the real world.

*Special thanks to Kim Kriege for sharing the details of this IDU!

  • Grade 10 Human Rights Exhibition was a great example of making student inquiry visible.

    Humanities AoI:  Community and Service

    Humanities Unit Question:  To what extent can conflict and human rights co-exist?


Grade 10 students asked, “Why?”

A display of a wide range of students’ reactions and interpretations to their unit of study surrounding human rights and conflict were presented. Students shared their learning through the medium of their choosing: video montages, music, artworks, Lego model. The HR exhibition was the result of a MYP IDU between grade 10 Humanities and Language A classes with an additional connection made in Language B: AFL classes. In Mona Katmah’s AFL class, students focused on racism and discrimination. “Students were excited as they connected it to incidents they have witnessed or experienced and managed to connect it to their Humanities class.” Students were very engaged as they made connections between what they had learned about human rights and how it made them feel. Students engaged visitors to the exhibition through verbal explanations of their multi-media creations and the emotions that the content evoked, thus exemplifying an in-depth understanding.

*Special thanks to Maren Lien, Mona Katmah, and Adam Pierce  for sharing the details of this IDU!

Do you have something you’d like to share that is happening in your classroom? How are you using iPads to extend learning in your classroom? How are you making curriculum come alive for your students? Please let me know so that I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

Video of the Week:

“We need to be gritty about getting our kids grittier.”

Blog of the Week:

Sean Thompson is always looking to improve his practice of ICT integration across the curriculum. He shares his learnings and practices on his blog, Technology Embedded: Living, Learning, Teaching. His blog posts range from the MYP Design Cycle to Digital Citizenship to Project Based Learning.

Infographic of the Week:

Content-Curation-101All rights reserved.

(FREE) Book of the Week:

You’ve heard the staggering numbers — they seem almost impossible to comprehend. People across the globe upload 48 hours of video to YouTube every minute, which translates to nearly eight years of content every day. And that’s not taking into account any other video-uploading site.


MindShift Teachers’ Guide to Using Videos  Find out how to leverage videos for maximum results with your students. Among all the millions of videos out there, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones are worthy to support content. How do you find the great videos? How do you evaluate the quality of a video? Who are the great content creators, and what are the best curation sites? Which kinds of videos work as fun supplements, and which are best for actual instruction? How do you get students engaged in discussion after watching videos? How do you blend videos into your curriculum? Links to a plethora of videos and websites are shared along with practical ideas for integrating videos into lessons. Find out by downloading (and reading) the .pdf now!

*Special thanks to Adam Pierce for sharing!