Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Keep Moving Forward

Mrs.T’s class has really been moving forward with doing p4c and pushing her class to really think about how they personally contribute to our discussions in different ways. Last week, Mrs.T and I have been thinking of ways we can move forward and I brought up how they can write more so we can see the improvement of their writing this time around. Personally, with this class they have improved on their skills with p4c and they haven’t lost their momentum from last semester.

Mrs. T created a reflection paper which included rating themselves and the class, what parts of the good thinker’s toolkit they used, and writing down a wonder they have after our discussion. In my opinion, this way of reflecting is better for them and myself because  it gives them a chance to think and reflect on our discussion. The teacher and myself also get to see how they truly feel how they did and if we agree on their ratings.

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear,” even though someone may be quiet in a discussion, you may be thinking a lot about what others may be saying. Dominique never said a word during the discussion, but he did write a question in his reflection. I could tell he was listening to the other students in the class because it was related to what one of the other students said during the discussion. I guess I shouldn’t just think a student doesn’t care by the way they present themselves, because even if they look like they aren’t doing anything, their minds could be doing a lot of the work.

One thing that really stood out to me during this visit was the use of the good thinker’s toolkit sentence starters. The teacher created a layout of sentence starters and question frames they could use if they needed help trying to say what they needed to say. Becky used “ In my opinion…” and another student asked “ What do you mean by…” so that was really great to see.

I wonder what I did differently that made this class grasp the importance of p4c than other schools that we work with? Did I do or say something to motivate the teachers and/or students to make them have a better understanding of p4c? I like that we are moving forward and now I have a chance to see what the students are left wondering with and try and find articles that are related to a common topic they have in their reflections. I hope we stay at the rate we are going at and continue to grow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

19 weeks in...

After 19 weeks of being a philoSURFER we started off with only the idea that we were going to be doing p4c with kids all week, little did we know that in reality our actual roles were to be a mini Dr. Miller. The term may sound funny but reflecting back on this semester has really got me thinking about all of the kids and classes that I have been in, all of the discussions I've led and from day one of this project to now I have never been more proud in myself as well as my peers. The kids have had such an impact on me and the way that I teach p4c, they have tough me how to adapt to new situations and in discussions to not over think a question. The first week of this project was really rough on me because whenever we would have inquiries, my mind would be thinking at a high school level instead of kindergarten or first grade and it was hard to start them off because no one could understand what I was saying. Even though it took some time for me to understand they way they learned.

The Yin and Yang

As a seventeen year old, I learned that there are times when you shouldn’t do certain things such as speaking. Mrs.C had told me that the class still had a problem with just simply listening to her when she is talking. We had tried to address this issue numerous times and it all came down to if they thought that it was important for them to show respect.

I had asked the question “ Is there ever a wrong time to do something you like to do? I know that you guys like to talk to your friends, but is there times where you know you shouldn’t?” Of course the students replied with “ when Mrs.C is talking” because they felt obligated to do so. As we continued to talk about about times we shouldn’t do things, we discussed differences and that lead me to ask them about the yin and yang.

The yin and yang is basically opposites, and I explained how black circle in the white represents the bad in the good and the white circle in the black represents the good in the bad. I asked the students “ how do you think this relates to you guys?” Kory said “ I think it represents our personalities.” I didn’t understand how it would relate to our personalities because it was just an image and I didn’t see a connection until I really thought about it. I tried to clarify with the student by asking “ So your saying our personalities represent our own yin and yang and when the good comes out in us it could possibly reshape itself?(creating an unbalanced yin and yang)” I was correct with what the students idea and it was interesting what the other students had to say. One student had said that we control our yin and yang by our feelings. Another student said “ I wonder if we can control it, to make it stay balanced.”

Although our discussion was cut short, I could tell that many of them were left wondering about this discussion. Even if our discussions last about 45 minutes long, I could tell they yearn for more time for p4c. They all wanted me to stay longer so they could share more about the topic we were talking about. It is a great feeling to know that I am able to see each student in this class, or any class that we work with, progress with their responses or questions.

What are your reasons?

As I walked to Mr. Y's fifth grade class a bit of sadness filled my heart. This was going to be the last p4c discussion I have with them. But I was hopeful that this would be a great discussion.

Right off the bat I knew this class was going to improve. About four months ago when I first went to this class, we would sit in the circle on the outside of the desks. Students shared their thoughts as usual and I tried my best to dig deep into the surface every time I was with them.

This last p4c was different.

We sat in circle without the desk being in front of us. The class also wrote their thoughts on paper before sharing, something I did not anticipate to be doing. I was very amazed at how well everyone was working and I just knew this discussion would be my best.

"WATR terrorist kill people?" This was the question the class voted on. In my head I was thinking where will the conversation go?

I think terrorist kill people for revenge. –Steven

            A student asked Steven, what do you mean by revenge. And his response was when you want something bad to happen to someone because it may have happened to you.

I think terrorist kill people for political reasons. -Owen 

A student asked Owen, what do you mean by political reasons. Owen’s response: Political reasons are like when you they want rights to go their way.

I think terrorist kill people because they were treated wrongly and they want others to feel that way. –Nala

I think terrorist kill people because they are jealous and want to act cool. -Cammie

As we heard more about why terrorist kill people, it made me wonder who are the "they" we are defining them by? Mr. Yung was able to get the ball before I could to ask this. "What do we mean by a terrorist?" Mrs. Laboy had also asked what is the reasoning behind people who are terrorist.

When it was finally my turn- I was so ready. “Can I just say I amazed that I'm sitting in a fifth grade class wondering about terrorist? Because when I was in the fifth grade I don't think I ever thought about terrorist. But since it has been coming up and we are more aware of it, I'm glad to see that we know about it.”

More questions we discussed were:

·         Can it be one incident that causes their actions?

·         What would a terrorist have to do to be a terrorist?

·         Are video games inspiring people to become terrorist?

Wow this was such a great discussion and students’ were able to share what they really thought! It’s sad that this is my last time with them! Look at all the possibilities that could happen next semester!

Thank you Mr. Y and his fifth grade class for letting me have this opportunity to share my knowledge with you folks. I am grateful to have been part of such a wonderful class and create a community with you folks. Have a great rest of your school year and see you later!

Too Comfortable, Or Just Right

It was me and Colby’s first week back to Mrs.T’s class this discussion with them was one I am not going to forget. Not only was Colby new to the class but there was also a new student(Irene) who knew absolutely nothing about p4c. In my mind I had an idea that this student would just sit back and relax and not participate, but I was wrong. The question that we had a plain vanilla on was “Would you rather stay young or grow up?”

I never thought that her hand would be the first to go up but I was so curious what her answer was because this was her first time having a plain vanilla, so of course I passed the community to her first. Irene’s response was “ I would want to grow up so I can experience life…” The message I got from the students was that they would want to feel young and also have the freedom that comes with being an adult. After hearing their responses, I asked “Why do we feel like we need more time?

Jaden said, “...we cannot escape death” and another student said, “ dying isn’t bad because since I’m Catholic, I know that I will be with God when I die.” Our inquiry was getting really deep and I liked where we were heading. It was pretty amazing seeing how everyone was answering the question from different point of views; they connected their answers to songs, religion, personal experiences, and so on. Unfortunately, the discussion couldn’t go on any further because of the short amount of time we had, but I am glad that we put that time to good use.

I guess I am left here astonished with this new student feeling so free to share what she had to say. Maybe it was because I reminded the class about our rules or maybe it is because she felt welcomed. My first experience of doing p4c was very different because I just sat there and listened and overtime I felt comfortable to share, but this was different.Overall, this was a great first visit back to the fifth grade class at Maunawili and I am very pleased to see how much they have grown and haven’t lost the momentum from last semester. I can’t wait to see how their responses will improve over time.