As we wrapped up our second Unit – Sharing the planet, we realized that our learning was so significant, especially in today’s climate and our experiences were so rich and invaluable that it would only be fair to share it with our parents, and that’s how our Celebration of Learning came to be.
Thanks to our camera and our trusty iPad, we traced the path of learning that our children had embarked upon as they made their way through the Unit. Their journey began with the unpacking of the central idea – ‘Vegetation is a life-sustaining resource for us and other living things’ and then using the lens of our key concepts – function and responsibility, they began to take their first steps. They learned about the categories of plants and went around school identifying each bit of vegetation, classifying them as a bush, or a tree of a climber. They applied their research skills as they investigated the functions of parts of plants. They observed and experimented to find proof of what they were learning and here’s where our language genre – procedural writing, came in handy. We recorded experiments using the correct structure and vocabulary and learnt about using action verbs to begin instructions. The children also explored procedures through other creative engagements such as making handmade paper, upcycling bottle caps to make Christmas decorations, cooking coconut laddoos in their Host Country Culture session and the most popular activity of them all – making slime! That was super fun! Mathematics also helped us in our inquiry as we explored the concept of measuring lengths. The children maintained Seed Diaries and recorded how their seedlings were growing, measuring their tallest shoots with blocks and in centimetres.
And then there were the field trips and oh how much we learned from them! The Garware farm trip was our first and it was here that we wondered and appreciated and discovered the many bounties of the natural world. ‘Appreciation’ being one of our Attitudes, we used our senses to interact with several different plants and fruits and vegetables. Our second field trip was based on our other key concept and an integral component of our school mission: responsibility. The Enchanted Gardens offered a choice of plants from balsams to pentas and from haworthia to aglaonema. The children each selected a baby plant and we brought our plants to class, making a promise to care for them, to nurture them and yes, to simply keep them alive. The children imbibed the Learner Profile ‘Caring’ and looked after their plants diligently, watering them, checking in on them, and sometimes even singing for them. They made solemn pledges to safeguard the natural environment and tried to make informed choices by saving paper and eating healthy and by trying their very best not to waste food. A trip to Mr. Hector’s house made us marvel at the uniqueness of the plant world and wonder at their vibrant colours, unusual shapes, strong smells, peculiar tastes and their myriad uses. Throw in a guinea pig, a tortoise, a fish tank and cheerful boxer and we made ourselves an unforgettable memory.
We read beautiful books such as ‘The Curious Garden’ by Peter Brown and ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein which helped us realize how much plants give us and how important they are to us. To spread this message, the children also made posters, promoting a sense of responsibility towards our natural environment. Budding digital citizens, our learners answered a Google forms quiz to indicate their learning and finally for their summative assessment, they drew two contrasting pictures of a world with lots of vegetation and another one without any. Through their respective beautiful and bleak portrayals, it was evident that this Unit had successfully planted tiny seeds in these young minds, seeds of awareness and responsibility towards our planet, seeds than one can only hope, will one day bear fruits for the tomorrows to come. But our children choose not to wait for tomorrow and through the actions they take today, whether it is recycling the paper in class or consciously finishing everything on their plate even after the clap has gone, carry forth their learning.
And it is this learning that they presented to their parents, singing their seed song and communicating their own ideas, thoughts and little pearls of wisdom that they picked up along the way, before taking their parents around their collection of Unit work, with great pride and pleasure, both of which reflected so beautifully in the beaming faces of their happy parents.