The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think. -James Beattie

Entries Tagged as 'Icons of Depth and Complexity'

Purpose of Prompts

March 26, 2012 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Icons of Depth and Complexity

Since the beginning of the year, students have been learning about the prompts of depth and complexity. Teachers tie the prompts in the questions they ask and by asking the students to analyze information.   After the students become familiar with these prompts, we teach the students the purpose of having the prompts and how to apply them.  Our goal is to have the children be able to use these prompts to develop their own questions that are analytical and evaluative versus factual questions.  We start by defining prompts as a catalyst to excite thinking, a stimulus to arouse curiosity, and a springboard to spark or ignite an idea, or as a means to give directions.  Students are asked to think about real world examples of prompts they see at school, at home, and at the mall.  Here are some of examples our students came up with.

At School

  • The school bells prompt us to line up.
  • The fire alarm prompts us to evacuate the classroom.
  • Writing prompts tell us what to write.
  • Teachers have their own signal to call the class to attention.

At the Mall

  • Red signs that say SALE.
  • Colorful window displays attract customers.
  • Mannequins and clothing displays attract customers.
  • Universal symbols for restrooms, elevators, and escalators give directions.

At Home

  • The fire alarm at home gives you a warning.
  • Signs you find on food boxes like cereal give you information.
  • Parents call you by your first and last name and give you directions to go immediately.
  • Instructions inside games give you directions.

Teachers bring examples of several prompts to share with the class and the students are encouraged to also bring in examples of prompts to share with the class.  We compare and contrast the different examples of the prompts and we determine whether the prompt was designed to give directions, spark curiosity, or make us think.   This lesson continues with the application of the prompt.

At Home:

  • Use the word prompt when talking with your child.  This reinforces what is being taught in the classroom.
  • Note the different prompts around us and have a discussion if your child shows interest.
  • There are many prompts that spark curiosity.  Take note of those moments with your child and investigate prompts together.

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Video-Introduction to the Prompts of Depth and Complexity

February 14, 2012 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Icons of Depth and Complexity

Here is another video from Dr. Kaplan explaining how teachers introduce the icons of depth and complexity.  If you have been following the blog, we have explained all the different icons in previous posts.  You can click on the link to the different posts on the left or you can click here.  The icons are often used in discussions in the classroom, and they are introduced to the students as described by Dr. Kaplan in the video.   The icons can also be combined with critical thinking skills to formulate questions that require students to think and maybe do some research to find the answer.  Our goal is to have students be able to ask these questions themselves in order to research and present their findings.

This is our 100th post!  This year is going by so quickly!  However, this is not the 100th day of school.  We will be celebrating the 100th day of school next week, so come back and read a special post about Zero the Hero!   Please share this site with our Lockhurst Families.  This information is not only for families of students who are high achieving or identified gifted, but it is for all families because this is what we are teaching to all students.  Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Video-The Characteristics of Giftedness

February 6, 2012 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Critical Thinking, Icons of Depth and Complexity, Video, YouTube

This is a video with Dr. Sandra Kaplan discussing the traits of giftedness.  Dr. Kaplan is known nationwide for her work on gifted education and differentiated curriculum by using depth and complexity, critical and creative thinking skills, and the content imperatives.  Our staff has attended many professional developments led by Dr. Kaplan, and we are applying her ideas in the classroom.  If you have been reading our blog, you will hear many of the ideas we have been trying to explain in her video.  As we have mentioned before, a differentiated curriculum is not just more work or a product, but it is also the discussions going on in the classroom and how we are trying to teach our students to become scholars and critical thinkers.

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Parallel

February 6, 2012 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Critical Thinking, Icons of Depth and Complexity

By looking at parallels, students are asked to find and explain commonalities between two or more entities. Any idea or event that is similar can be compared to one another. To have a discussion about parallels will require students to use ideas of depth and complexity. Students need to note the patterns or trends in similar events, and there might be a discussion about ethical issues. Students also have to prove with evidence that the two ideas or events are similar.

  • What is similar?
  • What is comparable?
  • What seems the same?

As students read various literature, they are often making parallels between stories. How are the characters in the 2 stories similar? How are the plots of the 2 stories similar. In 5th grade, students can find parallels between the Civil War and Revolutionary War. In math, what are the parallels between mixed numbers and decimals?

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Using the Icons

December 8, 2011 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Icons of Depth and Complexity

How do ethics affect perspectives?

 

How do trends affect rules?

 

How do details help to form a pattern?

 

How does someone’s perspective change over time?

 

There are many ways the icons can be combined to formulate questions that require a student to think and analyze the question in order to give an answer.  There are many great discussions going on in our classrooms!

 

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Reviewing the Icons of Depth and Complexity

December 7, 2011 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Icons of Depth and Complexity

We have gone over every icon of depth and complexity. We hope that you have found the posts informative. We often get questions about how we challenge our students, and one way is in the discussions that we have with our students, which some parents may not know because there isn’t a product that your child takes home. Incorporating these questions becomes an easy way to differentiate the curriculum. We challenge our students by the questions that we ask that go beyond the who, what, where, when, and why questions. By informing our parents, we hope that you will continue to reinforce the language and the skill at home. Eventually the students will be taught how to formulate these questions using the icons, thinking skills, or creative thinking skills, and they will be able to research and produce a presentation of their findings. There are more topics that we would like to cover and share with you, so stay tuned!

Chocolate is so sweet, but…

  • analyzing the trends of sales and marketing of chocolate teaches us about the economy…
  • learning the language of a chocolatier gives insight into the amount of training required for this art form…
  • examining chocolate across disciplines shows us how chocolate is linked to psychology and depression…
  • studying health issues brings up the ethics of promoting chocolate…
  • learning the rules of making chocolate can become a science lesson…
  • looking at how chocolate has changed over time gives insight to the history of chocolate…
  • debating over the unanswered question of whether chocolate is good for your heart can reveal new information…

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Ethics

December 5, 2011 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Icons of Depth and Complexity

Ethics is defined as a set or theory of moral values that determine good or evil, and right or wrong.  Ethical issues can be controversial, and they differ according to people’s perspectives.  Delving into ethics can bring up a philosophical discussion that will bring out biases, prejudices, and a person’s values.  In the classroom, students read about characters who exhibit a pattern of good versus “bad” character.  Many stories have dilemmas where the protagonist has to make a choice that might break rules or go against their ethical beliefs.  In social studies, many events in history have ethical dilemmas such as colonization, immigration, and human rights issues.  We also find those issues in science with issues like cloning and stem cell research.  In math, there are ethical issues in misleading statistics and the interpretation of solutions.

At Lockhurst we also teach our students the 6 pillars of character; Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.  Each month, we focus on one of the pillars of character and reward students who have tried to consistently display good character.

At Home:

  • In school students always know the answer for what is “right” and what is “wrong.”  There may come  a time thought when your child may lie, cheat, or steal.   Before that time, it is important to discuss the values you hold and what is important to your family.  It is important to consistently enforce those values at home and at school and give the appropriate rewards and consequences.
  • I like listening to Michael Josephson’s commentary on the news radio in the morning on ethical issues.  You can check out his site to help teach kids about good character ethics and his blog with commentaries on parenting, teaching, management, and leadership.

Character Counts

Institute of Ethics

What Will Matter

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Unanswered Questions

November 28, 2011 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Critical Thinking, Icons of Depth and Complexity

The unknown is always interesting, and kids are great at coming up with questions, especially when they are learning something new. Many times questions can be researched, but students will find that there are many unknowns out there, especially in social studies and science. Students need to learn how to formulate questions and determine how they will research and answer the question.  This requires students to problem solve, prove with evidence, and test assumptions.  If they determine that a question is, in fact, unanswered, they can try to determine the relevance of the unanswered question and note any ambiguities. Social studies is a discipline that has many unanswered questions, such as the fate of ancient civilizations, the actual events of history, and even what will happen in the future. When discussing the Civil War in the upper grades, an unanswered question is would the Civil War have occurred if Abraham Lincoln was not elected president? In science, there are many unanswered questions to solutions for current problems like global warming and greenhouse gases. As people continue to experiment in science, there may be unintended consequences and ethical implications. In language arts, students find unanswered questions in the author’s motivation and message for writing.  There are also many authors who are anonymous or write under pen names. In stories, the author may leave unanswered questions about the characters or events.

Recently, I read about the mystery of Easter Island.  I remember reading about the island when I was younger and was fascinated by how many unanswered questions have been answered or at least a good theory has been developed based on research and study.  There are researchers who have spent most of their lives studying and trying to answer these unanswered questions.

At Home:

  • Sometimes the best answers are the ones your child discovers on his/her own.  Encourage questions and guide your children to find answers themselves.
  • Take chances, get messy, make mistakes!  That has always been Ms. Frizzle’s motto from the Magic School Bus after a students asks a question. Then they are off on an adventure to discover the answer.  We want our students to make those discoveries for themselves as well.

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Across Disciplines

November 21, 2011 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Icons of Depth and Complexity

Concilience is defined as the unity of knowledge.  It is the idea that there are few defining principles that govern and connect knowledge together.  Edward O. Wilson is a biologist, theorist, researcher, author, myrmecologist (the science of studying ants), and Pulitzer Prize winner who believes that the arts, humanities, and sciences can be linked together through facts.  This is very simply summarized, but if you would like to learn more about his work, you can read his book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.

In school, students are taught how to see and describe a topic’s place in more than one discipline or subject area. By making the connections among disciplines, students are able to compare and contrast information from various disciplines.  Students are able to judge with criteria the various points of view and to describe the topic in terms of different disciplines. For example, students learn that music can be played in a pattern of beats, and in math, students learn that patterns have names and they can repeat. In language arts, students see how not only shapes, colors, and beats of music can repeat, but stories and poetry can be written in a repeating pattern. Patterns do not have to be written down, but it can be seen in the patterns of behavior exhibited by people, and it is seen in social studies in how history seems to repeat itself. In science, we see patterns in nature, like the weather and life cycles.  These patterns in nature have inspired people to create art and music. Everything can be connected and related to this universal idea of patterns. This is just one example of how the disciplines can be interrelated, and there are many different connections that can be made in the classroom.

At Home:

  • Note the ways home and school are related.
  • Encourage your child to see how the knowledge they are learning is connected to your career.

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Rules

November 15, 2011 by saslockhurst · No Comments · Icons of Depth and Complexity

Rules are everywhere.  At Lockhurst, the students are taught that rules of behavior help keep us safe and teach us to be respectful and responsible.  Rules determine one’s course of action or behavior that result in a reward or consequence.  There are also rules within the disciplines.  In language arts, students are taught the rules of grammar and punctuation, the rules of poetry writing, and reading.  In math, almost everything in arithmetic, geometry and algebra are related to rules.  In social studies, students discuss the rules in the government and economics, and in science, students learn the rules in the scientific method, measurement, and chemical reactions. Students may be asked to prioritize or describe rules.  They also determine the relevance of rules.

In a recent health lesson in kindergarten, the students learned how the rules at home such as helping out with chores help families get along.  In the unit on Friendship in second grade, students learned that the rule of having good friends is to be a good friend first.

At Home:

  • Work with your child on coming up with rules at home.  Make them part of the process, and they will more likely take ownership of their behavior.
  • Clearly define the rules with appropriate rewards and consequences at home.
  • Identify rules out in public such as keeping your voices quiet in the library or throwing away trash in the trash cans.
  • Teach your child good manners.

Disclaimer: The views on this site are entirely our own. They do not represent or are they endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Feel free to comment. Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic.

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