Planning for our school’s PYP Exhibition last academic year started as early as October 2015, when all the Grade 5 class teachers met to discuss the immersion programme which will be one of the learning journeys of the students for the PYP Exhibition under the transdisciplinary theme “How we express ourselves”. Below is a timeline and descriptions of our journey with the students from planning to celebrating success:
The class teachers met every week and discussed the transdisciplinary theme for the PYP Exhibition as well as the objectives of the in-school and Bali immersions. Rich with arts and culture, they believe that Bali will offer great opportunities for students to gain deeper understanding of the ways people discover and express their ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values through arts. The students will be able to experience it, instead of just reading about it. Moreover, interacting with the locals will help our students extend their creativity and appreciate the aesthetic. While these programmes take a great deal of work and energy, the class teachers believe that broadening the horizons of the students will be worth it.
Parents were invited to a Parent-Information Session on Bali Exploration. The objectives of the programme were shared as well as the learning engagements that are crucial for the students’ exhibition journey. Parents’ feedback and suggestions were taken into consideration, and revisions were made in the programmes.
The teachers started meeting all of the grade 5 students every Thursday to discuss the PYP Exhibition; the transdisciplinary theme, “How we express ourselves”; the central idea; lines of inquiry; key concepts; and approaches to learning. A video of the last school year’s PYP Exhibition was shown for the students to have an idea of how it is done. Before each session, the students were encouraged to write down their questions on their journal and ask them during the meetings. The roles and responsibilities of the students were also enumerated and explained.
The students also worked in groups and showed their understanding of “How we express ourselves” in the form of mind maps or any type of graphic organizers. After several art forms were identified, the children chose an art form that is the most interesting for them. Second options were also written down in case a group is too big. The teachers then grouped the students accordingly and eventually had four groups with five to six members each. Each group came up with their “Group Essential Agreements”.
It was also during this month that teachers announced the guidelines and criteria for PYP Exhibition t-shirt and invitation design competitions. Most of the students were eager to join the competitions. Class teachers and single-subject teachers regularly met to delineate roles and responsibilities.
Grade 5 parents were invited for an information session on the PYP Exhibition where their roles and responsibilities were discussed. During the session, former grade 5 parents shared their experiences as mentors for our previous PYP exhibitions.
Final preparations were also being made for the In-school and Bali immersion programmes. The supervisors in charge of both programmes met regularly to make sure that everything was in order.
The Grade 6 students were also invited to share their experiences during their PYP Exhibition. They also answered the Grade 5 students’ questions. They showed how they did their blogs and gave advice on how the groups can maximize their time and ensure a fair share of roles and responsibilities. It was also during this month that the winners for the t-shirt and invitation design competitions were announced.
The students also brainstormed ideas, views and opinions on their chosen issue. They came up with mind maps and listed the things “that matter to them”. They also came up with questions and “wonderings”. These and the school’s PYP coordinator’s session with the students helped them in formulating their central ideas and lines of inquiry. Our PYP coordinator explained each key concept to the students, and they identified the key concept for each of their lines of inquiry. The students were also taught how to fill in the PYP planner. The group members discussed how they were going to gather resources and information. They started to identify the people they can interview who are experts on their chosen issue. They planned which places they can visit in order to gather data for their research.
To guide them in their research work, the students had a session on academic honesty with the school’s head librarian where they learnt what academic dishonesty means as well as examples of academic dishonesty. They also realized that it is very important to properly acknowledge their sources instead of merely copying others’ work. Our head Librarian taught them the MLA citation style using the application Citefast. The students did great at acknowledging their sources in all their research work.
Session on academic honesty with our head librarian
In the previous years, the students would present their information through posters, brochures and other hard copies. For 2015 – 2016, the students did something different. They created blogs which contained their research, reflections, photos, interviews, etc. The change was done to minimize paper wastage and to maximize students’ time, as in the past they had spent so much time just decorating their booths. And so this month, the students had sessions on how to create blogs. All the groups used the blog application “Weebly”. It took some time for the students to get the hang of using the blog, but in the end they yielded exceptional results. The students’ blogs are listed below:
|Grade 5A||Culinary Arts – twisstdelemntzz.weebly.com
Music – binusbeat5amusic.weebly.com
Movies – ladraatthemovies.weebly.com
Photography – http://cameragraphly.weebly.com/
|Grade 5B||Dance – http://www.dancegroup5b.weebly.com
Photography – http://www.5bphotography.weebly.com
Drama – www.dramaandmovies5b.weebly.com
|Grade 5C||Pottery: http://pottery-group5c-binusschoolsim.weebly.com
|Grade 5D||Movie Making – http://moviemaking5d.weebly.com/
Animation – http://animation5d.weebly.com/
Movie Making – http://maoviemaking5d.weebly.com/
Visual Art – http://visualrt5d.weebly.com/
Parent-mentoring started this month. Every Thursday, one to two parents from each group came to mentor the students. Guidelines were given to parents so that they could better facilitate the mentoring sessions. Parents asked the students questions and gave suggestions on how they can gather resources, maximize their learning and improve their blogs. At the end of each session, they reported to the teachers and also gave feedback and suggestions. Forms were also given for them to fill in.
The assessment rubric was introduced and explained to the children. The groups met and discussed how they are going to achieve each criterion. The teachers regularly met with each group and discussed any issues or problems they were facing and how they could solve them. The teachers also gave a lot of prompts to guide the students in their research and action plan. Every end of the week, the class would gather and report on what they have achieved. The class also reflected on the attributes of the learner profile, the PYP attitudes and the approaches to learning that were demonstrated during the week. Each student listened intently, and they learned a lot from these sharing and reflection sessions.
The students worked very hard to research and gather information. Some of the groups met on weekends to interview experts on their issues. Weekly reflections were done, too. The students were careful in acknowledging their sources, and they made sure that everything was being cited, including photos or images.
There were also guest speakers invited to share their knowledge and expertise with the students. They conducted very meaningful and worthwhile sessions with the students who did not run out of questions to ask.
The students were very busy during this last month of preparations for their PYP Exhibition. Their blogs had been constantly revised and updated. Teacher mentors started coming to ensure that the students are ready for the BIG day. At this time, the rehearsals for the stage performance had been in full blast. Students and teachers practiced at least twice a week. The groups had also started presenting to other groups and everyone gave constructive criticisms to improve their work. The students were also on their final stage of completing their PYP Exhibition planner and reflections.
June 1 and 2 were two very exciting and memorable days for the Grade 5 students as the culmination of their PYP journey finally arrived. On the first day, the Grade 5 students and teachers invited the students and teachers from Grades 1 to 4. On the second day, parents and guests from other schools arrived. It was a day full of achievements, and the students felt very proud of what they have learnt and accomplished throughout their Exhibition journey. This year, we will continue with the practices we deemed went well last year, and make changes and adjustments for improvements.
By: Corita T. Silapan
Grade 5 Class Teacher and Level Head
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug