Thursday, 4 August 2016

Social Studies - Expeditions Unit

When my HOD of Social Sciences first told me about the next unit in the Year 9 programme I could do I completely buzzed out. The idea of 'First Crossings' completely inspires me and makes me wonder about so many things. Like... what would have Ihenga's first crossing really have been like and what was Sir Edmund's real thoughts when he got to the summit?

Initially I was stoked because the idea around Exploration and Innovation is very very cool and there is a lot of lee way and planning that can be undertaken as a result. Lots of cross-curricular planning. Lots of student centred learning. Lots of discovery.

Today we kicked off the unit. Albeit it was a slight motivator as we were trying our best today to complete the Peace Crane assignment - theory side of the assessment... and we finally cracked the first section so we could finally watch the first part of the Motu River reconstruction of the 'First Crossing'. The two survivalists are NZ guys and have absolute respect for the stories they're retelling.

My students didn't know where the Motu River was. I was surprised! But I guess I only know where it is because my Dad helped build the tracks for the Motu trail ride when he invested in the biking business for a stretch.

Best part about this episode is that it's close enough to home. The first part is full of mistakes and the kids can relate to it. They laughed when the two guys were having trouble and cheered them on when they succeeded. The boats capsizing, tipping, getting stuck on bolders as they make their way down the treacherous river, finding solutions to problems.

I've been listening to my students properly the last couple weeks. Truly trying to hear them and what they're asking and saying - rather than trying to move on instead of allowing those teachable moments to occur naturally. Today was no exception. They asked a few questions. I pointed certain things out. The guys explained certain areas and issues about the trip and I reemphasized it for more clarity.

The bell went before we could get passed the first ad break - and so am looking forward to it.

Hoping to hear some questions from them tomorrow and getting them to remember key details about the experience so far.

Looking forward to the next few weeks. :)