Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How do our values manifest themselves in our daily lives?

Today our Essential Question asked: 
How do our values manifest themselves in our daily lives?
Our goal was to learn and be able to use new vocabulary and concepts orally and in writing, using the concept of values as our vehicle. (90 minute block)
Students first realized that there are at least 3 meanings to the word "value"--monetary value, mathematical value, and value as something important to you.
All of this currency and coinage was sent to us from UNC World View/ Carolina Navigators/ Center for Global Initiatives. They have many different culture kits that teachers can use for FREE. Sign up
online if you live in NC, and they will mail your requested culture kit to you.
Use it for 3 weeks, then return! Simple, and a wonderful way to bring culture
alive in your own classroom.

Some of this money needs to be deemed
as art. Seriously. The artwork is stunning.

Next we looked at a list of common values of kids around the world, as compiled by Creative Connections, our Art Link host. Students found values they already understood, translated cognates, and chose 2-3 values that they had themselves. Working in small groups, they were adept at navigating meaning, helping each other translate, and decipher pronunciations. This is truly a case of students understanding the concepts, but needing the vocabulary to express themselves. 
Talking about values is always challenging, but I always underestimate my students' ability to grasp some of the concepts. (#StillLearning #RealityCheck)

Here is the list of cultural values we used:
  • Family
  • Spending time with family
  • Tradition and customs (preserving roots)
  • Love of music
  • Fast-paced lifestyle
  • Care for elders
  • Sports and games
  • Friendship
  • Collaboration and working together
  • Love of animals
  • Love of nature/protecting the environment
  • Peace
  • Work and contributing to the family income
  • Coexisting and respecting any culture
  • Loving yourself
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Generosity
  • Being responsible
  • Role of the mother and her love
  • Patriotism (love for one’s country)
  • Love of city
  • Solidarity
  • Consuming moderately
  • Diversity
  • Religion
  • Our ancestors
  • Equality and unity
  • Order in one’s day
  • Respect for cultural differences
  • Feeding one’s mind
  • Gratitude
  • Doing one’s duty
  • Communication
  • Independence 
Next, students listed values they held, but were then asked to demonstrate how they show those values. If your family is important to you, if you value your family, how do you show that? Do you eat together? Travel together? Go to church together? If you value nature, how do you show that? What actions demonstrate that value?

Together in their small groups, they filled in a simple T-chart graphic organizer (values/ how do you demonstrate them?), then shared out orally, asking each other "Which values are important to your group?" "How do you demonstrate that?".

Then came the application. Luckily for us, we live in NC, so we were able to acquire a currency kit from UNC Worldview/ the Center for Global Initiatives. (Please see the link in the caption above!) They sent us various currency and coinage to use in our lessons, for free, for a determined amount of time. They also have many, many other types of culture kits, with lesson ideas--so please check them out if you live in NC!)  Once you finish, you simply mail it back to them.

Our EQ wondered how values manifest themselves in our daily lives, and using the currency from all over the world, we could see several values the government holds in high esteem:

History, sports, culture, tradition, patriotism, love of nature, solidarity, and even religion, were represented on the different currencies.

After exchanging handfuls of currency, we then applied our understanding of how values manifest themselves daily in our personal lives, by using art work from our sister school in Hiroshima, Japan! Students analyzed the artwork through the lens of what students their age value in another country and culture.

Here are their top results for student values in Japan:
Friendship, care for elders, responsibility for the environment, A LOT about peace (which interested the kids since their Japanese peers are in Hiroshima), love of nature and religion, spending time with family, maintaining traditions and customs, and learning.

Overall, I believe the lesson went ok, and was super excited about the vehicles through which students practiced using their new vocabulary...they wrote sentences and responded orally with accuracy, but I don't have a solid feeling about what students walked away with. I was excited to incorporate the artifacts because I felt they lent themselves to the idea of values organically, so perhaps my hopes exceeded my expectations.

Some things I'd like to do differently if we had more time:
Have students compare the results of the personal vs governmental values. Which were the same? Different? Why? What would you change? Design currency to reflect personal and community values. Research the history behind the symbols and artwork depicted on the currency....

I'd also like to have more discussion starters, or even a pinwheel type discussion in which students shared their knowledge more orally, with evidence from the "non-text" texts of currency and student artwork. For our language learners, having visual evidence to support their thinking can be both a practical and interesting scaffold.

For today, though, they were able to at least list several values for different currencies and artwork. Tomorrow I will follow up with their takeaways on how our values manifest themselves, before they continue writing their brief autobiographies. They will be asked to include 2-3 values they have, with explanations of how they demonstrate their values in the autobiographies, so they'll see this vocabulary again.

I would love any suggestions to tweak this lesson.
(This was done with a mixed class of newcomers to level 4 according to WIDA proficiency standards during a 90 minute block of time.)

Thank you again to UNC World View/ Center for Global Initiatives, Creative Connections, and our partner highschool in Hiroshima, Japan for helping us bring the world into our classroom!

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