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Sharing and creating

Build and sustain a learning community by sharing authority, power, and decision making with students, and by encouraging inclusive and successful group work.

Best Evidence Synthesis in Social Sciences - Community

New bride at the temple from Flickr

Key competencies

Participating and contributing: children participate in sharing their knowledge with the school and wider community. They make decisions about how to present their understandings. Children contribute to a group activity.

Image 'New bride at the temple' (right) sourced from Flickr

Formative assessment opportunity

Are students able to show some conceptual understanding in their presentations? Are they able to work together to develop something that can be shared as a community? Can they describe similarities and differences?

Student Task: Create a community celebration to showcase learning

Students create a showcase (using artefacts, keynote, blogs and photo-sharing websites) based on discussion and work on how the identity, culture and organisation of Asian cultures are demonstrated through the tradition and ritual of celebrations and festivals.

Get students organised with a Thinking Book to record their reflections, collect images and websites, planning, recording questions and ideas. As the unit progresses, students write reflections of their learning, goals for further learning, and progress reports. These books can have written comments or questions from the teacher, or teachers may choose to conference orally with students about their projects and thinking. Encourage questions, problems and solutions to be recorded, so that students can see how their thinking has changed or evolved.

Pre-select an online exhibition from a museum to use as an exemplar of how objects can be displayed.

The Visible Traces Curriculum Studio links rare treasures from the National Library of China to your classroom (for example)

Discuss the kind of text accompanying the image and what kind of information it provides. Remind students of the importance of visual language, and the kinds of techniques in design and layout that enhance the impact of an object.

Each child collects an object related to an Asian cultural celebration of their choice for research. Useful research questions may be:

  • Which country is this object connected to?
  • Which celebration is this object connected with?
  • If from overseas, how did this object travel to New Zealand?
  • Who owns/originally owned this object?
  • Who has kept it/looked after it?
  • Where has this object been kept?
  • How has/is this object been used?
  • Has the object belonged to different people? If so, who?
  • Has this object meant different things to different people, over time? Explain.
  • How has the object been looked after?
  • Is the object very precious to anyone? Who? Why?
  • Can you tell me any stories about this object?

Information and artefacts can be collected from a variety of sources. Some suggestions are:

  • homes of students, their families/neighbours
  • community organisations that have links to local Asian or migrant communities
  • embassies
  • local museums
  • replicas can often be bought cheaply from Asian supermarkets or $2 shops
  • children could create replicas, combined with electronic images.

Ask each child to present their object to the class in their own way. Encourage the audience to ask questions about the object and its owner. Most importantly, what does this object tell us about celebrations?

Note: the successful use of objects will not be possible without students being introduced to and being able to discuss such concepts as identity, celebration, culture, family etc. The presentation of the objects, then, could be a good formative assessment activity, to see whether students are making successful connections and conclusions, or if some of those concepts may need top be revisited before the class can begin thinking about the exhibition stage of this unit.

When preparing the showcase, students need to think about:

  • topic and purpose, and how to effectively present that purpose to an audience
  • texts for visitors
  • marketing and publicity
  • success criteria to determine what makes an excellent project. These may include criteria relating to the clarity of conceptual descriptions, the way objects and images have been designed and presented, and the overall visual impact of the display.

Practical considerations also need to be taken care of:

  • Book an appropriate space for the exhibition, for example, the school library or community hall.
  • Organise potential secure spaces for objects to be stored.
  • Consider establishing a 'loan book' to keep track of the objects.
  • Create attractive images (photographs, sketches, paintings etc) of your object, for publicity purposes.
  • Brainstorm ways to publicise the project, including a guest speaker in assembly, or an 'object of the week' display.
  • Promote the project within your school or local community.
  • Brainstorm people/groups, who could be invited to view the exhibition, for example other classes/levels within your school, teachers, community groups.
  • Complete invitation letters.
  • Organise the launch, including timing, speeches, catering and video.

Although the showcase revolves mainly around the objects, written text, recorded interview and conversations and digital images need to accompany them.

The end of the showcase is a good time to allow the children space to reflect on their learning. Have the experiences of this unit changed their thinking, or the way they feel about other cultures? How? Is the learning important? Why? Where else could new thinking be shared?

References

Egan, K. (2003). Start with what the Student Knows or What the Student Can Imagine? Phi Delta Kappan, 84 (6) p443
Freeman & Levstik, (1986) Recreating the past. Historical Fiction in the Social Studies Curriculum. Elementary School Journal, 88, pp329-337
Lickteig, M.J. & Danielson, K.E.(1985) Using Storybooks to Acquaint Children with the Continent of Africa, Social Studies, 86 (6) p 248
Levstik, L.S. (1989) Historical Narrative and the Young Reader. Theory into Practice, 28, pp114-119
Bishop, R. (2001). Changing power relations in Education: Kaupapa Maori Messages for Mainstream Institutions. In C. McGee & D. Fraser (Eds). The Professional practice of teaching (2nd ed.) (pp201-219). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press

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