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Part-whole thinking map in the senior classroom

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The staff at Halsey Drive School have been developing a concept based curriculum which features a process of learning (inquiry) and a language of learning (SOLO). In this video Lorraine Sauvarin explains how she uses the part-whole thinking map with her senior class, working with them to examine common misconceptions, break information down into more detail, and use rubrics to assess their own work.

There are three videos in this series:

  1. An introduction to the concept curriculum, the big picture
  2. Teaching and learning at Halsey Drive School
  3. Using the part-whole thinking map in the senior classroom

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Encouraging reflective thought and action

The New Zealand Curriculum (p34), states that:

"Students learn most effectively when they develop the ability to stand back from the information or ideas that they have engaged with and think about these objectively. Reflective learners assimilate new learning, relate it to what they already know, adapt it for their own purposes, and translate thought into action. Over time, they develop their creativity, their ability to think critically about information and ideas, and their metacognitive ability (that is, their ability to think about their own thinking). Teachers encourage such thinking when they design tasks and opportunities that require students to critically evaluate the material they use and consider the purposes for which it was originally created."

  • Teachers at Halsey Drive School use SOLO taxonomy as a thinking tool. What kinds of tools have you developed or used for your students? 
  • How do you design tasks and opportunities that require students to critically evaluate the material they use and consider the purposes for which it was originally created?
  • How could you assess how well your students are reflecting on their learning, and using other metacognitive processes?

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Using the part-whole thinking map in the senior classroom

The part whole analysis map is one of the tools available with solo that is used to improve children's thinking. During our systems concept study and inquiry the earthquake happened in Christchurch. We took that as an opportunity to have a look at that event and we completed a part whole map as a class. So the whole really was the earthquake and we broke it down into the things that would be effected by the earthquake.

If we took away the buildings, homes, schools and shops, the buildings would have collapsed, the water and gas pipes would have burst and electricity lines are damaged. You can't go to school and sometimes work, and some workplaces and schools needed permission to open. The people in work places might need to be at home because of what had happened to their homes, and your property might be covered in mud or silt and the ground has big cracks in it. The shops are closed and you can't buy anything
So this gave the children a big insight into what effect the earthquake might have rather than just thinking oh that's sad those people have suffered an earthquake and moving on.

So we are trying to give the children a real understanding of what taking away one part of their lives or essential services makes to the lives of the people in Christchurch.

So next we looked at what the function of each of those parts were. So we were able to decide that people might have no shelter, that they might not have any work to go to any more, that they might not have a school to go to, that their homes might not be safe, and that their possessions may be ruined.
Next in the process of using a part whole analysis map the children got together and worked in pairs this time and they looked at including all the information that they had been able to drop into the map into their final double processing, or their part whole analysis.

The children when they have written then part whole analysis have tried to include as much detail from the map which organizes their thinking for them if they follow through the stages, and then what they do is they code their work against solo, level it against the solo taxonomy using a rubric. And they do this so that they can see what else they could include to make their writing or their piece of work stronger.

Within the rubric it has target vocabulary but it also has what you would need to include at each stage to make your work to that level so that you can you can then see what your next step is to move your work on and make it a stronger piece of work.

Published on: 07 Feb 2011