“Everybody has a story. And there’s something to be learned from every experience.”
— Oprah Winfrey
Great personal benefits come from reflecting over your life, collecting your thoughts, and organizing your experiences. Our inquiry into ‘Documenting personal histories gives insight into cultural and personal identity’, nurtured a strong sense of personal identity and helped us dig deeper and reflect on our personal lives.
Our unit focused on collecting personal memorabilia and sharing personal past stories. As we tuned into this unit, we decided to set up an identity museum towards the end of the unit to celebrate our learning and showcase our work. Having this goal in mind that our work matters and we can inspire others with our life stories we started our research by collecting artefacts and memorabilia from our memory box.
Learners have been engaged in the “Personal identity museum project”, working collaboratively and independently to express their identities and personal history in creative ways by exploring the unit vocabulary, investigating and researching information about their memorabilia and recording it, writing an autobiography of their life, making timelines by selecting pictures, sequencing them and writing about the events, etc.
Every engagement started by focusing on the learning goals and by co-constructing success criteria and culminated in self-assessment and constructive peer feedback.
One day before the celebration of learning, we teachers mentored them as they delegated and distributed the required roles to each other by choosing to represent the station that interested them the most. They planned how they are going to display their exhibits and took up the responsibility to jot down their piece of explanation of the process involved in that engagement. They organized themselves and practiced their role.
Designating roles for each station such as artefact expert, vocabulary expert, timeline expert, fossil expert, personal identity expert, greeter, feedback collector, etc. gave learners autonomy and power to present their part.
Open to Grade 1 parents and the school PYP community, the Identity Museum told personal “origin stories” and answered questions like, “Who am I? “, “How can I show my identity to others?” , “How are fossils and artefacts connected to history?”, “How do artefacts, photos tell my story?” ,” How can we take inspiration from other personal histories?
The highlight of this celebration was that the management of this event in setting up the museum which was driven by the learners’ interest and was self-initiated with appropriate guidance from the teachers. One highlight was that our learners learned to use QR codes. All the exhibits were categorized, so the museum was not about ‘me and my work’ but ‘we and our work.’
During the whole course of this unit, our learners showed agency by taking ownership of their learning, collaborated, planned and presented their understandings with confidence. Big ideas related to the unit were shaped by our learners through their simple yet detailed explanations about the engagements and process.
Many thanks to all the P1 parents for the amazing home-school partnership. Your support to help our learners collect significant artefacts from their memory box and sharing your family stories with them made this unit remarkable.
Suhaana: ‘We took inspiration from Ms. Carla’s book which she wrote when she was in her elementary school. I enjoyed explaining the process to all the visitors.’
Amaira and Ruhi: ‘We liked to share about our personal history and came to know about others history, how they are and not I can have a better relationship with them.’
Siyun: ‘I was a ‘greeter’ and I enjoyed my role as I like to welcome people and give them an entry pass.’
Myriam and Eunjoon: ‘I feel proud because I did my best and I like to share my learning with other people.’
Jiwoo Im (P5): ‘What really impressed me was that even though they were P1, they have organized themselves very well and I liked the idea of QR codes.’
Aparna Firodia (P1 parent): ‘What really impressed me was the hard work and the dedication with which the children reflected on their lives.’
EY3 students: ‘We liked the special artefacts, and your baby photos. The fossils were interesting. We liked everything.’
Mukta Sable (P1 parent): ‘The experts helped me understand better. They all explained the concepts well.’