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A Journey in Collaboration between Students and Specialists

January 18, 2014

In our last unit How we Express Ourselves, our big idea was all about how we learn from stories, the lessons we can take away from stories and why we tell stories.  We wanted to really understand why stories are told. We threw around a few ideas in planning and the kids also had a lot of input about how to understand this central idea.  Check out @Dwyerteacher blogpost on inquiries into stories, awesome post. Anyhow, I don’t think its crucial kids understand the central idea (because these are often created by teachers and often we don’t really understand them ourselves or are so vague and abstract that the meaning is open to interpretation) so we decided to let the kids to have some freedom and retell a story and allow different interpretations of the story. si

We took some ideas from the kids and the planning session. We wanted to try something a bit different and really try to get the specialists in on this one. I wanted to see more of a transdisciplinary approach to the teaching and learning of this unit. What transpired was a collaboration between mainly the music, Indonesian, Art and Homeroom teacher (me). It really just took a small amount of planning and communication.

A little background on the video we put together and the story. It was decided to retell a traditional Indonesian folk tale entitled Si Kancil  (A little deer who gets into all sort of mischief).  There is no translation in the video itself its all in bahasa Indonesia (by design).  There are 2 versions of the same story (we had 2 groups telling the same story). Its all in the  local language but if you want to know more about the story of the naught little Kancil (deer) you can read more here.. or see below:

 Kancil steals Cucumber

One day, Kancil is trying to steal cucumbers from a farmer’s field. The first time, he steals some cucumbers successfully. But then, he encounters a scarecrow. He mocks the scarecrow because it cannot scare off Kancil. Kancil punches the scarecrow with his front leg, but his front leg gets stuck in the scarecrow. The scarecrow has been filled with glue by the farmer. Kancil forcefully tries to pull out his leg, but it is useless; the glue is too strong. Then later on, the farmer comes. He laughs at Kancil, who has finally been trapped by his plans. He puts Kancil in a cage for the rest of the day. Later at night, the farmer’s dog comes to see Kancil. He mocks Kancil and says that Kancil will be cooked the next morning. Kancil stays calm and relaxed. The dog confused and asks Kancil why. Kancil says,”You were wrong, I’m not going to be cooked! I’m going to be a prince!” The dog becomes more confused. “I will marry the farmer’s daughter and I will become a prince. I feel sorry for you, all of your loyalties were paid just like this! You just become a dog! Look at me! Tomorrow I’ll become a prince!” says Kancil proudly. The dog, who feels discriminated against by his own master, asks Kancil to switch place. He thinks that by switching place with Kancil, he will become a prince instead. So he opens the cage and lets Kancil free. The next morning, the farmer is confused, because he does not see Kancil anywhere; instead, he sees his own dog in the cage, wagging his tail.

I am lucky to to have an excellent assistant teacher who helped out by attending the specialists classes when I could not. This was the ‘glue’ that helped put it all together.

Was it perfect? Nope. Can we all do better at planning? Yep. What I love about the product is that it was learner driven. It was their work, their effort. It raw but its the kids work.  The grade 1 kids as well as teacher realised where we can improve on the understanding of the unit (not just the presentation). This makes it all the more meaningful. Awesome job @grade1class .

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