Developing a Culture of Thinking at Binus Simprug

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At BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, we have set our goal to develop a culture of thinking. We decided to create a learning environment where thinking is valued, is visible and is actively promoted. At the beginning of this academic year, a workshop was conducted for the teachers to learn more about Visible Thinking Routines. Through this workshop, we shared the core thinking routines, different ways of using them and the benefits of making thinking visible in the classroom.

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Visible Thinking Routines (VTRs) have been embedded into the planning of integrated units of inquiry within the Primary Years Programme as every teacher decided to use at least two routines per unit. A conscious effort is being made by us to demonstrate the use of routines in all areas of the curriculum.

We are delighted to share the use of thinking routines in early years and elementary as tools that lead to deeper understanding.

Early Years utilized the “I See” part of I See, I Think, I Wonder and Chalk Talk to tune into the unit of inquiry, Who we are. The students used the routines to explore the concepts of awareness of oneself, families and friendships.

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Grade 1 made use of the See, Think, Wonder thinking routine to begin to inquire into the unit on Where we are in place and time, which focuses on public areas.

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In Grade 2, Think-Puzzle-Explore was used to tune into the Who we are unit of inquiry on body systems.

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Grade 3 started their Sharing the Planet unit of inquiry with “I See, Think, and Wonder”. This unit is related to living things and adaptation.

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Grade 3 students also did Think-Puzzle Explore.

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In Grade 4, the class novel cover was shown to make predictions using the See, Think, Wonder routine.

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The KWL chart was replaced by Think, Puzzle, Explore to begin the inquiry. During the unit of inquiry, How we express ourselves, the thinking routines, “Connect, Extend, Challenge”; “Colour, Symbol, Image” and “I used to think and Now I know”, were used to enhance the students’ understanding about different genres of drama.

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Grade 5 also replaced KWL with Think, Puzzle, Explore. See, Think, Wonder was used as a springboard for their inquiry into different types of forces. The scientific nethod for experiments was done using the 3-2-1 routine.

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Our Bahasa Indonesia teachers used See, Think, Wonder and Chalk Talk to make their students’ thinking visible and more meaningful.

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Through the use of these simple visible thinking routines, we are trying to make our students more aware of their thinking and to think about their thinking.

By: Kavita Mehra, Grade 4 Class Teacher, kmehra@binus.edu

Jenina Refuerzo Enriquez, Grade 3 Class Teacher, jenriquez@binus.edu

Priyanka Patni, Grade 3 Level Head, ppatni@binus.edu

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug

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Weebly Sites for Parent Communication

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Parent communication is crucial in any school. Communicating with parents ensures parents are informed about their child’s education, including the curriculum, upcoming events, school expectations, homework, etc. Consistent, effective communication that is easily accessible is key to getting parents on board.

This year at ACG School Jakarta, we have introduced Weebly sites as our main form of parent communication. Each classroom or year level has a site that is updated at least once per week. Each site is organized in the same way, so that parents of children across year levels are able to find information easily, but the content is specific to the class or year level. On our sites, we have upcoming events and reminders, our Learner Profile of the Month focus, a blog about the learning happening in class, photos, useful links, weekly home practice, unit of inquiry information, class schedules, and more.

Check out a few of our sites here:

http://3aitchisonacgsj.weebly.com/

http://k3acgsj.weebly.com/

http://year6acgsj.weebly.com/

In addition to our class and year level sites, each specialist group also has a site with information relevant to their subject area. Their blog entries showcase the unit of inquiry integrations they have been working on at the moment. In order to give more information related to the PYP and the programme as a whole, we also host a PYP Coordinator site, which includes a blog, a page for each Learner Profile of the Month, the programme of inquiry, and links to support parents.

Check out these specialist sites:

http://pypcoordinatoracgsj.weebly.com/

http://libraryacgsj.weebly.com/

http://peacgsj.weebly.com/

Parent feedback on this new form of communication has been wildly positive. We are excited about continuing to grow our sites, and learn more ways to share the great things happening at ACG School Jakarta with our parents!

Jennifer Kesler, M. Ed.

Head of Primary at ACG School Jakarta

jennifer.kesler@acgedu.com

Parent Education Sessions

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We’ve introduced Parent Education Sessions this year at ACG School Jakarta as a way to ensure parents have a better understanding of the PYP. Thus far, we have presented two sessions, with plans to present at least once per month. Our first session, entitled PYP 101: An Introduction to the Programme was aimed at new to ACG parents. Last week we presented on the PYP Written Curriculum, the first in a three-part series.

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One of our goals in these parent sessions is to incorporate teaching strategies that we use in the classroom. To this end, parents are actively involved in discussions and activities that encourage thinking and participation, rather than passively listening to a presentation. In our PYP Written Curriculum session, parents watched a couple of videos to spark discussions about the future and about student action. Additionally, in small groups, they brainstormed what skills an internationally-minded person needs to have before sharing out in the larger group. The Learner Profile embodies the traits that an internationally-minded person needs in order to be successful.

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When we discussed the transdisciplinary skill sets, or Approaches to Teaching and Learning, that we teach students in the classroom, parents were involved in a Chalk Talk, a strategy where each person walks around, writing ideas about each skill set on the paper. No talking is allowed in this activity, but we communicate with one another by adding to existing ideas, agreeing with ideas through check marks, and adding questions we have about ideas. This is a strategy we use in the classroom to get students involved and show their thinking.

Both sessions have been highly attended, with over thirty parents at the first session and twenty at the second. The high turnout is an indication that parents are hungry for more information about the programme.

Click here for a copy of our Parent Session presentations:

PYP 101: An Introduction to the Programme

PYP Written Curriculum

Writer: Jennifer Kesler, M. Ed., Head of Primary at ACG School Jakarta

Writer’s email: jennifer.kesler@acgedu.com

Collaboration

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Collaboration is an important part of teaching and learning in a PYP classroom. The Learner Profile attributes of communicators, open-minded and caring and the Attitudes, cooperation, respect, empathy and tolerance all highlight the need for all those connected to the school to be working in collaboration with one another.

Students working together

When you visit any primary classroom at ACG School Jakarta, you will see collaboration in action. Classrooms are designed with collaboration in mind, from carpet areas to table groups, students are engaging and working together. Whether students are playing in stations designed to inquire into their UOI in Kindergarten or interacting through written words in a chalk talk in Year 6 teachers are always encouraging team work.

We are not only all learners, but everyone in the classroom can be a teacher, by connecting with one another the role of ‘teacher’ extends beyond the adults in the room..

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Teachers working together

Working collaboratively is not just an activity reserved for our students. Each week teachers engage in collaborative planning with year level colleagues, specialists’ teachers and the PYP Coordinators. We also engage in collaborative team meetings as a whole staff group weekly.

According to the International Baccalaureate (2015), ‘Research and case studies suggest that by forming a network of resources, support, and guidance, teachers feel more comfortable in their roles, which subsequently has a positive effect on students.’

Through collaboration, teachers are able to share their expertise, foster a community of experience and feel confident to implement innovative approaches to teaching and learning. When ideas are shared, and built upon, we achieve a greater range of learning experiences for our students.

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Working with parents

At ACG School Jakarta, teachers work closely with families to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved for the students. This is achieved in numerous ways, including class blogs, parent-teacher-student conferences, student-led conferences and parent information sessions, just to name a few.

Parent information session engage parents in collaborative learning opportunities, aimed at educating parents about the PYP, using the approaches to learning students are engaged in everyday. Through these education session, we develop parents’ understanding of what happens in the classroom through hands on experience.

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Being a 21st century learner is all about collaboration a skill that is embedded into the philosophy of our school.

References: Collaborative teaching transforms the classroom http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2015/07/30/collaborative-teaching-transforms-the-classroom/

Wayne Martin

Co- PYP Coordinator

ACG School Jakarta

wayne.martin@acgedu.com

Character-Building-Friendly Class Setting

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To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom. –Maria Montessori-

Appreciation, confidence, cooperation, empathy, enthusiasm, respect, and curiosity . . . What do these traits have in common? They are all attitudes that demonstrate “character strength,” which is a predictor of success in school—and in life. As early as can be, I believe as teachers we have to pay special attention to character development for it is the basis for personal growth.

Character is a collection of all our traits including all of our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. Our students’ character is build through their choice of action and this will then affect every aspect of their current and future life. Being their substitute parents at school, we contribute to their upbringing, and we play a vital role in helping our students to develop their full potential.

In our class, children practice skills that promote character development every single day. From the very beginning of the school year, we repeatedly explain our class rules in any given chances. These rules are the very basic rules to do our daily class activities. Among those are some important rules such as sharing, helping hands, asking for help and saying thank you, and keeping the communal hygiene. Here are two activities as an example of what we do in our class to promote the character development.

All children in my class know the help me mantra. We tell them every time they need our help or others’ help. They have to say the ‘Help me please’ mantra in order to get help, and closing it with the ‘thank you’ mantra after they get the help done. They also know that they have to say the ‘thank you’ mantra whenever they get things from others.

In our class, we prepared a bed and we use some carpets for communal use by the students. Therefore, they have to learn how to keep the communal hygiene. We kept on reminding them to take off their shoes when they go to the bed or the carpets. Few weeks later, they remind each other to take off their shoes.

Playing is an integral part of learning for this age group. Toys then become the media of teaching about sharing and taking turns. In our class, our students learn how to play together with the same toys. We also teach them how to make a queue. We make them understand that everybody will get the chance to play. Hence, they have to take turns.imageimage10.jpeg

I believe that character development is the foundation for lifelong learning.  I found that my students enjoy the comfortable learning environment when their peers are also learning about respect, cooperation, and compassion. I also find it easier to teach when my students are exhibiting habits of patience, diligence, and self-control in the classroom. Nobody says it will be easy. These things took time! However, it will be worth every energy and good intention you’re putting in it. Our students are now happier, more caring, more forgiving, and more responsible as they are taught to think about the needs of others.

By: Ms. Melisa Setyawan

Homeroom Teacher Grade Nursery

GMIS – Bali

Healthy Food Healthy Body

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We all know that eating right can help us maintain a healthy body .Students created a “Healthy Eating Plate “which was well labeled and with a brief write up .The main message of the Healthy Eating Plate is to focus on how our food, drink, and activity choices affect our health. Healthy Eating Plate guidelines can lead to a lower risk of diseases. This was related to our unit Body system.

This gave the students an opportunity to develop their active learning process through inquiry and investigating skills as they asked descriptive questions to collect information connecting different food to different body system.

It promoted positive attitude toward learning how to keep our body systems healthy. They took responsibility for their own and family health and physical wellbeing.

While working on this students came up with debate on “Is healthy eating the same as going on a diet?” and many more how and why statements came up related to our body system and how different food effects different body system

My Healthy Plate serves as a motivational rather than prescriptive tool!

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By

Ms. Reena Dhar

Homeroom Teacher Grade 3

GMIS – BALI

WHAT KIND OF PRESIDENT ARE YOU? – A SELF EXPLORATION THROUGH IB LEARNER PROFILES

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To fulfill the IB aim of developing internationally minded students and encouraging them to be more active, compassionate and lifelong learners, it is crucial to set placed and integrate the learner profiles attribute in their daily activities right from the beginning of the school year.

My second graders were learning about ‘Role Models’. As they gained the understanding on the definition of ‘Role Model’, most of them turned to their closest ties, mother or father as their role model. When they explored further to the inquiries, they came up with both the positive traits and negative traits of several public figures they had previously known. They drew up their own conclusion of which traits to be and which are not to be followed. To expand their experience on what other people thought, Grade 2 students had an interview with the fifth graders to find out who their role models are. Through their activity reflections, I could see that interaction with the older grades was very exciting!

As part of their formative assessment, I designed a writing assignment where they could put themselves into one of the most powerful position in the world, a President! They had to come up with ‘President’s working programs’ and had to explain which learner profiles they had to perform to make the program worked.

The snapshots below are some of their ideas. Very interesting indeed!

 

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By

Ms. Yuliana Ratna Dilyanti

Homeroom Teacher Grade 2

GMIS – BALI