Sunday, April 24, 2011

Welcome to Mrs. Raisdana's Unit Of Inquiry!


Guess what, you guys? I am going to do this Unit of Inquiry right along with you! You see, I have always wanted to learn how to take better pictures, but I haven't had the time to get around to learning about it. So, I figured that since, as a class, we are focusing on how to learn new things, skills or ideas, I would use this as the chance for me to do some learning, as well.

My topic is going to be photography, and my essential question is: What are five things that I can do to take better pictures? It is important for me to become a better photographer because I want to use pictures to tell the stories of my family, and beautiful pictures are much more meaningful when creating memories and stories. I also want to use pictures to share stories on my blog, and people respond better to pictures that are taken well, because it shows more time and effort put into the post.

The Area Of Interaction that this topic hits is Human Ingenuity, because I am going to be exploring how to create new and better photographs. I will also be explaining why I am creating certain pictures as I take them.  I am a visual learner, so I most likely will not be simply reading articles about how to take good pictures, because I don't learn very well from reading only. I will probably read SOME articles or instruction booklets, but in addition, I think that I will probably also watch videos about taking good pictures, ask people that I know who are good photographers to show me some new skills, interview people about their photography successes, and just do some experimenting on my own with my cameras.

To start the Knowledge part of this project, I am going to look up some websites about photography and how to take good pictures, ask my friends what they do to take beautiful photographs, and watch a few tutorial videos. Then  I will make a list of these strategies and briefly describe the benefits of each one. These activities will help me because they will give me a variety of strategies for better photography that I can choose my 5 from. I will also look at recent examples of pictures that I have taken so that I can identify what kinds of things I really need to improve on.

Let's have fun and work hard with this!

Welcome to My Unit Of Inquiry!


Now that you all have chosen your topics and essential questions for your unit, you will write a blog post introducing your unit. Look at the following instructions:

Introduction Blog Post
Title: Welcome To My Unit Of Inquiry
Labels: Unit of Inquiry, Introduction

Write a blog post that introduces the unit, your topic, and you essential question. Describe which Area Of Interaction your topic fits and explain why. Explain the type of learner that you are (visual, auditory or kinesthetic), and explain how this will affect the kinds of learning activities that you will choose. Then, go on to describe some examples of activities that you will do during the unit, as well as to get you started in the Knowledge part of the unit. BE SURE to explain why these activities will be helpful to you.

Note: You MUST include an image that is CITED in your blog post!

Some ideas to help you write your post: (You can use these sentence starters, but your post MUST be written as a paragraph)

During this Unit Of Inquiry, what I am going to learn about is….my essential question is…..

The reason WHY I think it is important to learn this is...

The Area Of Interaction that this topic meets is……..because……

I am a _________ learner, so I will most likely choose activities that are…

Some activities that I will do to learn about this are:

To start the Knowledge part of this unit, the activities that I will need to do are:

These activities will help me because…

Good luck, have fun, and see me if you need some help!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Procrastinate? Us? Never!

Procrastinate:(verb) To put off doing something until later.

As in: Even though my homework was due this morning, I procrastinated and did not start it until 9:00 last night.

The noun form of this word? Procrastination.

Procrastination is a BIT of a problem for many middle school students (and some teachers!). There are many ways that people can procrastinate: by watching just ONE MORE show on television, by suddenly becoming VERY hungry and needing to eat something right now, by telling yourself that you will spend just 10 more minutes on the internet (which will usually turn into 45-60 more minutes!), etc...

Here is a visual example of the many, many ways that people can procrastinate:

The Procrastination Flow Chart!

Does this look familiar to any of you? If it does, then good for you for being aware and honest enough to admit it!

So, why am I showing this to you and talking about procrastination? What does this have to do with our Unit of Inquiry? Well, I am glad that you asked that question!

I just want you to be aware of the meaning and idea of procrastination, so that you will be able to recognize it when (or should I say "if"?) you do it. This unit will require you to do a lot of work, activities and learning on your own, so if you are someone who like to procrastinate, then you may need to sit down with yourself (or with me, if you like) and try to come up with ways that you will be able to meet your deadlines.

Oh, and do that soon- don't procrastinate!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unit Of Inquiry Topic- Some Questions To Ask Yourself

I hope that you are all starting to think about some topics that interest you for our Unit of Inquiry. We will not actually be choosing topics until next week, but here are some questions that I want you to ask yourselves when you are brainstorming ideas:

Question #1Will this hold my attention and interest for 8-10 weeks?

Please remember that this topic will be the basis for all of your work and research until the end of the term, and you will be doing much of the research and work on your own. Therefore, it is very important that you choose a topic that really interests you, and that you will keep wanting to learn more about If you think that you are only "kind of" interested in your topic, you may want to continue brainstorming!

Question #2Is my topic something that will require me to do a lot of work outside of class/school? If it is, am I organized enough to handle that?

Please be honest with yourself about this, as it is very important to your project. If you want to learn about different ways to make pizza, you will not be able to make pizza during class time.  You would be able to do the research and gather ideas during class, but much of your practice and learning would take place at home. If you are not a student who usually handles doing things on your own and meeting deadlines, you may want to choose another topic that will be more manageable during school hours.

Question #3Is this something that I will be able to learn in 8-10 weeks?

This is HUGELY important when you are choosing your topic! If you decide that you want to learn everything there is to know about the history of Indonesia, or how to play your favorite song on the guitar (and before starting the unit, you have NO IDEA how to play the guitar), this will most likely not be done in the short amount of time that we have, at least not without spending a lot of time outside of class on it.  Now, 8-10 weeks may seem like a looooooong time to a student, but considering that classes only meet 3 times a week for one hour, it is actually not much time.  Please keep this in mind.

Question #4Do you have what you will need in order to learn about your topic?

 I don't think that I need to tell you that if you decide that you want to learn how to play a basic song on the piano, but you don't HAVE a piano, or know anyone who has a piano that you can use, this may not be the best topic for you. Please make sure that you have REGULAR access to the things that you will need in order to complete your unit project.

Question #5: Is this topic something that I will be able to understand?

 I may decide that I am very interested in learning about Quantum Physics, but unless I have a strong science background and know a lot of scientific vocabulary, this would probably be extremely difficult for me to do. You will want to make sure that you have the following things in order to be able to successfully learn about your topic: the language skills to understand it, some background knowledge (if necessary), and the skills to be able to learn it.

                                  Good luck and have fun! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Welcome To Our Unit Of Inquiry!

Welcome back, everyone! I hope that you all had restful holidays, and that you are all refreshed and ready for our FINAL UNIT OF THE YEAR! I know that we are all excited to start this one...right?

Well, our next (and final) unit is going to be different than the other units that we've done this year. In this unit, YOU will decide what you are going to learn about! Yes, that's right- YOU! Are you excited yet?

The question that we are going to work on during this unit is: How do I express my learning?


Before we get started, though, here is a survey that I want all of you to take:

Take your time answering these questions, and many of your answers will help to guide you through the unit.

Good luck and have fun!