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Concept-Based Learning

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Concept-Based Unit Mapping – Making Good Humans. Back in the fall, all of our teachers participated in an Inquiry workshop. Every teaching team seemed to walk away with two common goals: More purposeful and effective collaboration between teachers We have a huge teaching staff and we have tried many models of collaboration in the past. Most of which have presented logistical obstacles or ended up not being as effective as we had hoped. So the general practice at our school ends of being that the homeroom teachers sit down together and plan the unit of inquiry and the single-subject teachers pop into the meetings for a few minutes at sit at the back of the room and listen… and maybe present a few ideas that they had planned to share.

More purposeful and meaningful connections for the students between disciplines The PYP is meant to be a transdisciplinary program, but as we reflected on our program we realized that for most of the year, each subject is working towards their own central idea. What is a Concept-Based Unit Map? Benefits. Concept-based instruction in two simple words: uncover, transfer – Education to Save the World. A few years ago, my colleague Dave made these amazing stickers to help the concept-based model “stick” in teachers’ brains. They were oh-so-simple, but oh-so-effective. We had read chapters and chapters on concept-based curriculum and instruction (thanks, Erickson), the research that points to the need for conceptual frameworks (thanks, National Research Council) and tons of discipline specific stuff about the fundamental and powerful concepts that underpin mathematics, science, history, language arts, etc. It was complex! But he managed to capture the essence of what we were finding in two little words: In these two words, his stickers summed up the most important principles of concept-based instruction, and helped teachers avoid the two most common pitfalls.

Concept-based instruction starts with uncoverage. If you’re a UbD fan, you know that we stole that term from Wiggins and McTighe . The goal of concept-based instruction is transfer. Like this: Like Loading... Struggling with concepts? This might help! – Education to Save the World. When we work with teachers to shift toward concept-based instruction things tend to follow a distinct pattern, a roller coaster that flows from over-excitement to near abandonment and back again. image credit: First, there is incredible eagerness and enthusiasm. This makes so much sense! YES! I’ve always felt like my curriculum was too shallow! This enthusiasm propels teachers to dig into the framework that holds their discipline together, to think big complex thoughts, to plan ambitious units and lessons. Then there’s often a steep crash after the first few concept-based lessons.

And…a return to teaching facts and procedures in isolation aka the Comfort Zone. The problem, we’ve found, is that concept-based curriculum and instruction are SO alluring to teachers that they are crushed when reality doesn’t match their vision. Why doesn’t it work this way? What does this mean for teachers who aspire to a concept-based classroom? Credit: Lynn Erickson Like this: Like Loading... What does a concept-based classroom look like? – Education to Save the World. The most important point to remember for a concept-based classroom is that the students come up with the generalization of conceptual understanding! That is why Guiding Questions are so important. A key component of unit planning is writing factual, conceptual and provocative questions that correspond to the generalization and lead students to discover it. You should also choose a mix of understanding, knowledge and skills as the goals of your lesson.

Here is a general list of steps to guide an inquiry, concept-based lesson plan: Initial response to conceptual questionsLearn about a specific context (topic)Develop a hypothesis about the topicLearn more about the contextAbstract to a generalization supported by evidence from the contextTransfer to a new situationReflect on your thinking Example from a Grade 6 Geography Lesson: What happens among nations when shared resources become scarce? Other Important Points: Happy Lesson Planning!

Like this: Like Loading... Throwback Thursday: The Power of the Conceptual Lens – Education to Save the World. Teaching students to learn conceptually – Education to Save the World. Planning is done. You have around 3 – 5 powerful statements of conceptual relationships, a conceptual lens, questions that lead to discovery of the relationships and a list of corresponding facts and skills for powerful synergistic thinking — what do you do next? It is essential to teach students about learning conceptually — sadly, most of them are not used to this type of learning.

Here is a quick outline of one way to do it: Experts: Ask students to think about what makes someone an expert and how they are able to remember so much. I will soon post an actual example lesson! Like this: Like Loading... Categories: Stage 3: Concept Based Curriculum and Instruction Tags: concept based, concept based lesson planning, concept-based instruction, conceptual understanding, teaching students about concepts.

What does it look like to teach students to learn conceptually? – Education to Save the World. Last week we posted a general outline of teaching students to learn conceptually. Today we apply the outline to an actual class — 6th grade social studies. Here’s the context: The teacher worries that it might feel abrupt to suddenly begin being explicit about conceptual learning in the middle of the unit. A potential solution? Use the facts they already know and the conceptual relationships they’ve already explored (though without being explicit about concepts and learning conceptually) for a one or two class period lesson on learning conceptually.

Image credit: Students discuss in pairs: What makes someone an expert? Students sort concepts and facts into piles. What do you think? Like this: Like Loading... Categories: Stage 3: Concept Based Curriculum and Instruction Tags: concept based, conceptual learning, conceptual understanding, learning conceptually. Making Teaching Visible: 5 steps to teach concepts ... in math. Last year, I shared a blog post with friends and colleagues on Facebook entitled "Are You Doing It Wrong? How to Introduce Telling Time" by Cindy Lee of Ainslee Labs (which has since been reposted here: Avoid the biggest mistake teachers make when teaching time ). It caught the attention of my second grade colleagues and now together, we're trying to figure out how to put Ms. Lee's ideas into practice with students. Traditionally, students are introduced to telling time by first learning time to the hour. Next, students learn to tell time to the half hour, then to the quarter hour, then to the nearest five minutes and finally to the exact minute.

Ms. To address this confusion, Ms. Below, I've detailed how I used my five-step concept-based lesson framework to introduce this idea to the students. 1. Concept: The students will understand that you can't achieve your goal if you use the right tool the wrong way. 2. Then I introduced them to another tool - a clock. 4. "That doesn't sound right. " Concept-Based Unit Mapping – Making Good Humans. Concept based learning… – What Ed Said. ‘Hands up if you often forget the things you learn in class.’ ‘Hands up if you’re sometimes overwhelmed by information overload.’ Both times, all hands go up, including mine and Jocelyn’s. I’m in her Year 6 class to help them consider the big ideas in their learning and develop their understanding of concepts. This will assist them to organise information in future, explore significant ideas, promote higher order thinking and deepen inquiry. I show them the avocado model… They quickly get the idea that the big ideas we remember, long after we have forgotten the details, become the seeds from which new learning grows.

What is a ‘big idea’? In considering what such ‘big ideas’ might look like, we talk about the fight Ellie had with her brother this morning. Once they get the idea, they are quickly able to express the big ideas behind a range of topics they have explored in the past. Yesterday Joc had them look at their class learning community through the lenses of the PYP key concepts. 3 Steps to a Successful Concept-Based Unit – Education to Save the World. You’ve read all the books (or at least a few blog posts) on concept-based curriculum. You’ve reoriented your lessons to serve conceptual goals. You’ve sketched out the most important facts, topics, concepts, and theories for each unit. You have refined your generalizations over and over again to capture the exact understanding you’re aiming for. But something just isn’t clicking. Maybe you’re — to borrow a phrase from my students — doin’ too much. Every once in a while I have to remind myself that concept-based planning and instruction is super simple.

And you really can’t go wrong if you follow these three steps: Introduce the concepts. Yes, this sounds obvious. 2. Sometimes I get frustrated when student thinking remains stagnant and my instruction seems only to reinforce shallow, superficial views of the concepts. 3. Kids often want learning to be black and white. Sometimes I get so bogged down in plotting an inquiry path through my unit, that I forget to be explicit about the basics.

Concept driven learning… – What Ed Said. Some ‘big ideas’ about concept driven learning: (From this week’s little #pypchat on Twitter) The world is changing. Knowledge is changing. The ability to view the world with a more flexible mind is invaluable. (Steve)Concept based learning is about big transferable ideas that transcend time, place, situation. Big Ideas in the classroom. Since I no longer have my own class, I relish opportunities to get into classrooms. The first provocation is a video showing the effects of an electricity blackout. Rubi introduces a second provocation to further develop their thinking. Sorting Questions. With each question on an individual sticky note, the groups sort the questions in any way they like. Some groups sort the questions by topic, others by big ideas.

To sum up the lesson, we ask students to give it a title. A conceptual central idea. We introduce the central idea: ‘Our use of energy has an impact on the planet.’ Key concepts. Big ideas about the learning: Yet, already… Like this: Like Loading... Imagine there’s no…..Conceptual Understandings | Inquire Within. Imagine there’s no…..Conceptual Understandings Conceptual understandings. These are what underpin what we do in class. Or at least should be. Concepts underpin inquiry. Inquiring into something is difficult if the concepts are not understood. The purpose of this workshop was: To develop strategies that will lead to the a coherence of conceptual understanding across all disciplinesTo explore ways to facilitate the processing of factual information through a conceptual level of thinking. Recently all Primary Years Programme (PYP) teachers at Bandung International School spent 2 days with PYP Workshop Leader @helen_morschel of MV Education Services at our in school Concept Based Learning workshop.

Change: How is it changing? At the end of the 2 day workshop participants were asked to show their understanding of a key idea. Imagine there’s no concepts It isn’t hard to do Nothing to plan or inquire for No understanding too Imagine all the people teaching to the test Big Takeaways: Whats next? Conceptual Understanding and Misunderstanding! | Inquire Within.

Something interesting happened the other day in my maths class. We had started a new topic, Division. I asked the students to turn on their laptops and talk about their understanding of division. They loved watching themselves talk. Some even put on an accent in order to sound posh! Watching the videos, it was clear that some students had a fair understanding of what division was, while other students had no clue. One student said multiplication is division. As this was a completely new topic in grade 3, the students started warming up to it using ice cream sticks, which we had in plenty. At one point I asked them to take a number of stick which will result in there being a remainder. Some kids were not fazed and decided to split the stick. Once they had the got the concept of sharing equally, I looked at the board which had the words “Learning Objective” written on it.

Division means sharing equally? The next day, a student brought packets of popcorn to distribute to the whole school. Planning for concept driven learning… – What Ed Said. Cross-posted at Inquire within, following on from Inquiry: to what end? By Cristina Milos. In a concept driven, inquiry based learning environment, we do NOT plan a series of activities to ensure coverage of the requirements of our national curriculum. Instead we spend our planning time reflecting collaboratively, exploring which conceptual lenses will produce the deepest learning and designing a few powerful provocations to generate student thinking and inquiry. The Australian curriculum expects us to ‘cover’ a large amount of geographical knowledge in Year 6 including, among other things – We start our planning session by revisiting the reflections at the end of last year’s planner.

Some of the teachers who taught the unit last year share what went well and what can be improved. Joc is concerned by the lack of depth and we realise that we had too many different lines of inquiry. Using ‘reflection‘ (How do we know?) Once we are satisfied with that, the central idea needs rewriting … How do we assess understanding? – What Ed Said. Part of my role as Teaching and Learning Coordinator involves facilitating and supporting the planning of units of inquiry. Planning for inquiry can be difficult. On the one hand, over planning limits the potential for inquiry. On the other hand, we have desired outcomes and understandings, as well as the demands of a national curriculum. We used to plan a range of learning experiences in advance.

You can read here about how we have improved our planning process. Nowadays, we start by identifying the desired conceptual understandings and carefully considering what evidence will indicate that our learners have achieved them. Then we plan some provocations that engage the learners in the big ideas and wait to see where the learning takes us. Keeping an eye on the conceptual understandings allows us to add further targeted provocations as the inquiry unfolds. Creating a rubric helps clarify where our units are heading.

Here’s a Year 5 example that’s more content based: Like this: Like Loading... More on concept driven inquiry… | Inquire Within. In a concept driven, inquiry based learning environment, we do NOT plan a series of activities to ensure coverage of the requirements of our national curriculum. Instead we spend our planning time reflecting collaboratively, exploring which conceptual lenses will produce the deepest learning and designing a few powerful provocations to generate student thinking and inquiry. The Australian curriculum expects us to ‘cover’ a large amount of geographical knowledge in Year 6 including, among other things – The location of the major countries of the Asia region in relation to Australia and the geographical diversity within the region.Differences in the economic, demographic and social characteristics between countries across the world.The various connections Australia has with other countries and how these connections change people and places.The effects that people’s connections with, and proximity to, places throughout the world have on shaping their awareness and opinion of those places.