Monday, 11 January 2016 09:33

The International School of Azerbaijan embraces Head, Hand and Heart

TISA’s first successful Interdisciplinary Unit.

Our first interdisciplinary unit started simply with an e-mail:  Is anyone else doing something about environment?  Students were about to study habitats and animal adaptations in Science whilst, in Language and Literature and Language Acquisition, they were to study expression and voice.  Our team of nine English and Science teachers met together and dissected the next chapter IDU criteria and made it happen.  

The title of the unit: Head, Hand and Heart was developed from our discussions.  The Head focused on the aspects from science, Heart from aspects of languages and the Hand for action from our recent service learning professional development with Cathy Berger Kaye.   An excursion to the zoo was organised for the entire cohort where the students interviewed the zookeepers and the zoo director about the animal habitats and the conditions at the zoo.

For their disciplinary assessment, students wrote a report to the Zoo Director with suggestions on how science can improve the habitats of the animals (Criterion D), whilst in Language and Literature and Language Acquisition they produced texts in different genres (Criteria A-D).  For the interdisciplinary assessment, our M1 students were placed into groups and developed an action plan and product that pulled together the three subjects – Language, Language Acquisition and Science; that would inspire future M1 students to take action.  The students’ presentations varied from movies, documentaries and performances.  Here is one of our student groups’ work.

As a team, the teachers had no idea what the students would pull together as it was a learning experience for the teachers as well.  We were so impressed with the quality of work from our M1 students and the thoughtful action they proposed that incorporated each of the three subjects to encourage future M1 students. In the reflection meeting, teachers articulated that they enjoyed watching the unit unfold as the students explored with freedom and minimal guidance. This unit will develop further with the incorporation of MYP Design next year.