Month: May 2017

The Benefits of Interschool Collaboration.

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Given the difficulties (political, corporate and logistical ) that we face as a company sponsored school based on a mountain top in Papua, we at Yayasan Pendidikan Jayawijaya Tembagapura often find ourselves feeling isolated from the greater IB community. Movement off the mountain is difficult at the best of times and when it comes to trying to get a group of students to be able to visit another school or exhibition, it is neigh impossible. Luckily, here in Tembagapura we have two IBO schools, our own YPJ TPRA and the Mount Zaagham School (MZS), which provides opportunity for collaboration. While the make-up of our two schools is very different with MZS providing education for the children of the expat workers at Grasberg Mine and PT Freeport and YPJ being the school for national and Papuan students; we do share a compound, community and the PYP. With these direct connections, the existence of interschool collaboration is a natural occurrence.

Because of the aforementioned isolation, interschool collaborative learning has significant meaning for bridging the social and educational gaps between our schools and providing much needed collaborative opportunities for our teachers and students. The understanding that our two schools are able to achieve more working together than is possible working in isolation and that the combined effort and resources of our two schools will produce better outcomes than relying each as a single school have led to some very successful collaborations between us.

A great example of this collaborative practice is the recent Kartini Day celebration in which our two schools worked together to create a program in which students grades in one through nine from both schools came together in a celebration of the ideals and values that Raden Adjeng Kartini stood for. One of our teachers Aron Vaughn worked closely with the Art and Bahasa Indonesian teachers from MZS to create collaborative activities such as mural painting, plays and dances that brought our two schools together for a wonderful celebration of the theme of Equality: All Life is Valuable. To all accounts, it was a great success with students and teachers from both schools learning and celebrating together.

Having the opportunity to collaborate with another IB school has afforded other benefits to our teachers and students such as:

-A greater ability of students to view situations from others’ perspectives.

-Creating an environment of active, involved, exploratory learning.

-Encouraging diversity understanding.

-Establishing an atmosphere of cooperation.

-Students develop responsibility for each other.

-The development of tolerance.

-The development of the ability to adopt perspectives and the understanding different from their own points of view.

Taking the opportunity to bring diverse students, teachers and schools together and providing opportunities to construct understanding through a collaborative atmosphere is at the heart of the PYP and one that we look forward to continuing in the coming years.

 

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A Snapshot of Our PYP Journey

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Sekolah Yayasan Pendidikan Jayawijaya, Kuala Kencana, Papua

by Sandra Beardmore, PYP Coordinator.

(There were many aspects of change, program and school development as we travelled the road to PYP Accreditation, I share a small slice in this article.)

In 2012 Sekolah YPJ, Kuala Kencana, Papua, became an IB PYP Candidate School and began its unlikely journey as an Indonesian National School to become a fully accredited IB PYP School. Unlikely because we were compelled to deliver the Indonesian National Curriculum, all our teaching staff are Indonesian teachers with no International or PYP experience and the language of instruction is Bahasa Indonesia. Traditional content and pedagogies were the norm, one could say a fixed mindset, and the concepts of homeroom teachers and inquiry based learning, unfamiliar. It was a very ambitious goal requiring an enormous amount of change. Was a marriage, a union, a fusion between these two disparate approaches to education possible? It seemed akin to mixing oil and water, but we took the positive approach of looking for possibilities, connections and solutions rather than getting caught up in the potential trap of “impossibilities”. We resolved to “Make the PYP Happen” in our school.

At every turn there was new learning, new language, adaptation and challenge. Ongoing and consistent professional development and a team approach were key ingredients. A willingness to embrace change was an essential component to building capacity for all staff. But even small changes can be confronting and we were embarking on large scale changes in many facets of teaching and learning, leadership and school organisation. To facilitate such change, developing a sense of partnership, trust and collaboration cannot be given enough emphasis. A team of Expat educators worked alongside the elementary (SD) teaching and leadership teams to develop a plan of action, organise and present ongoing professional development workshops about aspects of the PYP, build teamwork at various levels and develop a culture of collaboration. It has been a very steep learning curve for all, a curve we continue on, albeit more gradual now.

In terms of program we began with the National Curriculum 2006 with the Kompetensi Inti, Kompetensi Dasar, set subjects, set amounts of time per subject and so on, quite a prescription. There were no indicators to give an idea of what the Kompetensi Dasar might translate to in terms of program content, scope and sequence of subjects across grade levels. The subjects were isolated islands and we needed to connect them conceptually within the framework of the PYP. Indicators for each curriculum area were developed over time and mapped across the 6 Transdisciplinary Themes. From the various contexts of the themes and the mapped curriculum content we worked collaboratively to create our first units of inquiry. During the process teachers were learning how to write central ideas and lines of inquiry. They attached key concepts, Learner Profiles and Attitudes, and identified the Transdisciplinary skills which would support student learning. Implementation was a trial and error process and planning sessions involved reflective conversations around successes, failures, frustrations, pedagogy and strategies. It was challenging to say the least. Of course, there were degrees of resistance, but there was also enthusiasm and commitment. For change to be sustainable it has to be done gradually over time, celebrating successes and breakthroughs no matter how small, to build confidence, knowledge and skills. One step at a time … having successfully developed and taught our first units was a great start toward reaching our goal.

Then, after two years of developing units and consolidating practices we were faced with the challenge of the new National Curriculum 2013. Much discussion centred around avoiding it or embracing it. So we came full circle, embraced it and reviewed our existing units. The changes for Curriculum 2013 not only involved changes centred around content in the form of the Kompetensi Dasar. There was also a change of thinking about approaches to education. There were changes to the basic framework and structure for Sekolah Dasar.

Section C of the Regulation of the Minister of Education, “KERANGKA DASAR DAN STRUKTUR KURIKULUM SEKOLAH DASAR” (translated) focused on Improving the Mindset with the following changes:

“1) teacher-centered learning patterns become learning centered on students.

2) teacher centred instruction (teacher to student) to become interactive teaching and learning (interactive teacher-students-community-natural environment, sources / other media)

3) isolated learning into networked learning (learners can gain knowledge from anyone and from anywhere that can be sourced via the internet)

4) passive learning into active learning (active student learning strengthened with inquiry science learning approach)

5) individual learning into group learning (team-based)

6) single source learning into multimedia-based learning tools

7) whole class teaching into the looking at the needs of students by strengthening the development of the each student’s potential

8) single subject learning (monodiscipline) into multidisciplinary learning

9) passive learning to critical learning

B. Characteristics of Curriculum 2013

1) The 2013 curriculum is designed to develop a balance between the development of spiritual and social attitudes, curiosity, creativity, cooperation with intellectual and psychomotor abilities.

2) Schools are part of a community that provides a planned learning experience in which learners apply what is learned in school to the community and to utilize the community as a learning resource.

3) Develop attitudes, knowledge, and skills and apply them in various situations in schools and communities.

4) Allow sufficient time to develop attitudes, knowledge, and skills.”

The key areas of the National curriculum section D are:

  1. The work of individual teachers is transformed into a collaborative working approach.
  2. Strengthening school management through strengthening the Principal’s management capability as an educational leader.
  3. Strengtheneing of facilities and infrastructure for the benefit of management and the process of learning.”

These positive changes could be readily translated through identifiable similarities with the PYP approach to learning and teaching. This made the transition from a National School to a PYP school readily justifiable through clearer connections and gave us the freedom needed to explore ways in which we could deliver successfully on both fronts.

With renewed impetus we set upon embracing the task of redeveloping (and creating new) indicators in all curriculum areas and developing new units for each Grade level. We took a fresh look at the Transdisciplinary Themes and, in Grade level teams, remapped the new curriculum indicators, wrote new units and a created a new Program of Inquiry. The benefits of having taught the “old” units for two years and the many hours of professional development the teachers and leaders had engaged with, was evident in the discussions taking place throughout this collaborative mapping process. As they say, “practice makes perfect” and it was certainly much easier the second time around. The teachers had a greater understanding of the key concepts, the Learner Profile, Attitudes and Transdisciplinary Skills, which resulted in a more purposeful distribution of these across the new units. All these new units were successfully trialed in 2014-15 and changes made in response to reflective discussions throughout the teaching of each unit. During that year several teachers took part in Harvard’s online Making Thinking Visible course and shared their learning through presentations at Staff Meetings. Strategies from these presentations were discussed at collaborative planning meetings and incorporated into the class program, enriching learning experiences and strengthening literacy connections within the units. We felt quite a degree of achievement and recognized that we had made great progress over the past 2 and a half years. At the same time we acknowledged that there was still much to do and consolidate in order to reach our goal. Further guidance in the form of an Evaluation Report would be a welcome document to help shape future developments, clarify goals and professional development needs within the school to support the continuation of our journey.

In March of 2015 our IB PYP Consultant recommended our school for an Accreditation Visit. Our visit was scheduled for September of 2015. Of course the prospect of our visit brought feelings of great excitement, along with feelings of trepidation. Could we be successful? Had we managed to emulsify the oil and the water? The 6 months between March and September would pass quickly, especially with a 6 week holiday break in the mix! As you all know, preparation was full on and continuous for all our Elementary staff in the 6 months leading up to the visit. Each person had a role to play and a responsibility to contribute to the success of the school. Each person showed commitment to being fully prepared and felt proud to be part of Team SD, KK.

In November 2015 we received our official notification from the IBO ….. our Team was successful …. We had “Made the PYP Happen” …. we became an Accredited IB PYP school. We appreciate the feedback we received and continue to work to be the best school we can be …. there will always be things to improve on, new learning, fresh perspectives ….. because gaining PYP Accreditation is not a destination but an interim prize on a continuous journey in education.

We are Sekolah YPJ, Kuala Kencana, proudly Papuan, proudly Indonesian.

Bahasa Indonesia is our language of instruction

We continue to mix the water with the oil, if we stand still we will separate, and we have worked too hard to allow that to happen.

Reference: “SALINAN, LAMPIRAN, PERATURAN MENTERI PENDIDIKAN DAN KEBUDAYAAN

NOMOR 67 TAHUN 2013 TENTANG KERANGKA DASAR DAN STRUKTUR KURIKULUM SEKOLAH DASAR/MADRASAH IBTIDAIYAH”

 

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Learning how to express ourselves

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 In our grade 1 “How we express ourselves” unit of inquiry, we explored the central idea, “Storytelling represents different cultures and sparks the imagination to improve one’s creativity”.

To provide an opportunity for our grade 1 students to express themselves, students came up with a performance of the famous story, “Peter Pan”. We, teachers, chose “Peter Pan” because we wanted the students to always remember not to grow up too quickly and always dare to dream.

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Auditions were held and every one of them gave their best. Roles were picked and practices started immediately. The students had to practice every day. We knew they were tired but yet never once did they complain. The students took pride in their roles and worked hard to memorise their lines.

The shy children were able to develop their self-esteem and confidence. In all our practices, the children were encouraged to listen to their friends while they were performing and share their ideas and thoughts.

We also encouraged the children to act out a range of emotions and this enabled them to understand different feelings and show empathy to others.

During practices, the children had a chance to improvise and do pretend play. They also came up with solutions to some disagreements in roles and responded imaginatively. For the finale of the show, the children had to sing together and that required cooperation.

Doing this unit of inquiry gave us teachers also an opportunity to collaborate with other specialist teachers. We had our visual art colleague helping us with the props. Our music teacher taught the students various songs. Our grade 1 students also learnt different movements from their dance teacher.

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Our students really gave out their best in performing the “Peter Pan” show. And guess what? All of the students performed professionally. As their teachers, we felt goose bumps while watching them performing.

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By its very nature, drama has the ability to create strong friendships between children as they laugh, learn and grow together. We are proud of all our students as they gave their best in expressing themselves through their “Peter Pan” play. We hope that there will be more opportunities for them to express themselves.

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Grade 1 students involved in the “Peter Pan”

By:

Roch Hazel Olivia and Ferida Sari Hasaputri

Grade 1 Teachers

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug

rolivia@binus.edu; fhasaputri@binus.edu

THE BENEFITS OF READING

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“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr. Seuss

When was the last time you picked up a book and read? If your reading centers around Facebook updates or tweets, then you seriously need to grab a book, sit back, relax, shut off all your electronic devices and immerse yourselves in reading – a book that interests you.

I understand some people may find reading a book or a novel pretty boring and a lengthy process. If there is a story that is both published as a book and is made into a movie, some of us would much rather watch the movie than read the book. I will choose the other way around.

I first found my passion in reading several years ago when I visited a bookstore in Singapore. The bookstore housed vast collections of books, novels, magazines, resource books – anything you can name. I started reading a novel and my interest in reading just picked up from there. Until today I am still an avid reader. I always find time to read because after so many years, I realize how much I have benefited from reading.

binus May 2017 4.png 1. Knowledge

As the saying goes, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go. Everything that you stumble upon while reading enriches you. This knowledge can come in handy when you need to tackle challenges. After all, knowledge is power.

2. Vocabulary Expansion

For me, this is how I have most benefited from reading. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in my profession, and knowing that you are well-read, well-spoken as well as knowledgeable in a variety of topics can be an enormous boost to your self esteem and self confidence. As a teacher who teaches English as a Foreign Language, I have to be well equipped and prepared in terms of English vocabulary. While reading, I come across a lot of new English words I do not know and what I usually do is to keep notes. I write down the words I am not familiar with, look up the definitions in a dictionary, jot them down and write the sentences from the book so as to give me information on how to use the particular words. I occasionally go through my notes so I always remember the new words. This has helped me immensely and I know this will help other learners too.  

3. Improved Focus and Concentration

When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story – the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15 to 20 minutes before work (on your morning commute, if you take public transportation, like me), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

4. Imagination Booster

The story of a book will absorb your mind so let your imagination fly. While you are reading, you are building images, faces, places, colors, and settings. Allowing your mind to explore a new literary world opens the door to new ideas, subjects and situations that can get you thinking about trying new experiences.

5. Stress Reliever

A lot of people find that reading relaxes them and helps them to unwind at night. Reading helps them drift off to sleep easily as they let go of their trouble during the day while being immersed in the story. Our mind is like the body. It needs exercise just like the muscles do. Once you engage yourself in a good book, your focus of attention will be shifted and you become oblivious to what’s happening in the outside world.

Reading has a positive impact on our health. It is up to us how to embrace it. One of the biggest advantages of reading a book is you can take it anywhere and at the same time you can also go anywhere.

Reading gives us some places to go when we have to stay where we are.

 By: Devi Godri

English as a Foreign Language Teacher

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, Jakarta

dgodri@binus.edu

Constructing Meaning – the Literacy of Numeracy

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“It is important that that learners acquire mathematical understanding by constructing their own meaning…”

So how can children make sense of, and then competently use, the language of mathematics? This article looks at ambiguous language and operational language.

The following interaction between a teacher and student was recorded.

T: Can you calculate the volume of this box?                 S: um .. [pause] .. no [has a puzzled look]

T: Do you know what volume is?                                     S: Yes, it is a button on the remote.

One of the issues with constructing meaning of the language of mathematics is the use of everyday English terms that have different meanings in the mathematics classroom.

Here is a list of just some of the many words that have a different meaning in mathematics. These words are just some of the homographs: rational, mean, power, odd, face, property, common

 

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The operational language can also be confusing. In the early years ‘and ‘is used for operation of addition.  In later years the word ‘and’ is used in an operation for multiplication, e.g. ‘What’s the product of 5 and 4?’

When assessing a student’s ability to solve word problems in mathematics it is so important to consider not only the wording of the question but also the order of the questions.  Two consecutive questions, similar to these, appeared in a standardised test. The word ‘altogether’ is used for a different operation in each question.  What meanings have the students constructed of the words ‘and’ and ‘altogether’?

Question 12.

Budi puts cards into 4 equal piles.

Each pile has 20 cards.

How many cards does Budi have altogether?

Question 13.

Wati collected 68 cans.

Puti collected 109 cans.

How many cans did Wati and Puti collect altogether?

The construction of operational language is so important for problem solving. In some classrooms students can identify words in a problem, referring to displayed visual mathematical vocabulary.

Although language is heavily involved in constructing meaning in mathematics, the use of visual representations and manipulation of concrete materials all support communication and success in the mathematics classroom.  The literacy of numeracy is a challenge for all and an additional challenge if English is an additional language. Our role is to support students to construct meaning as part of the stages of learning mathematics.

Melinda Mawson-Ryan

ACG School Jakarta

Melinda.Mawson-Ryan@acgedu.com

Constructivist Learning Approach

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Constructivism is the term used when we build upon our prior knowledge using real world experiences. In schools, we use a constructivist approach to preparing students to solve problems and construct or refine new understandings (Budi Usodo, 2016).

Types of Constructivism

 

  • Psychological Constructivism

 

Personal psychological cognitive constructivism is often referred to as Piaget cognitive constuctivism. According to Piaget, cognitive structure of a person is due to the process of assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is the process of getting new experiences and information and immediately connected with the mental structure that is already owned by someone. Accommodation is the process of re-structuring of the mental structure as a result of new experiences and information. (Budi Usodo, 2016)
So according to Piaget, learning is not only receiving information and experience, but also re-structuring the new information and experiences.

Learning principles using Piaget’s constructivist theory are:

 

  • Meaning as internally constructed

 

In the process of constructing knowledge, information  is individually interpreted by learners in their own learning experiences.

 

  • Learning and teaching as negotiated construction of meaning

 

Construction of meaning is a negotiation process between individual learners with their experiences through an interaction in the learning process. Thus learners construct their knowledge based on their own individual past experiences.

 

  • Teaching is not just transferring knowledge from teachers to their learners, but is also an activity that allows learners to construct their own meaning and knowledge.

 

 

  • Teaching means a partnership with learners in constructing  meaning, looking for clarity, being critical and creating justifications.

 

 

  • Knowledge is structured and stored uniquely by each individual student.

 

 

  • When students link their past knowledge with new information (gained through their experiences), they develop their understanding of larger related concepts.

 

For example, in the mental structure of 4th graders, they have had knowledge of odd and even numbers. The students were given some numbers from 1 to 30. Then the students wrote factors of each number and perceived what patterns emerged.  Students understood  that most of the numbers (2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 and 19) only had two factors, and these were all odd numbers (except the number 2). Students were able to integrate this new understanding into their own cognitive structure and assimilation happened. New information about prime numbers caused some cognitive restructuring (accommodation) to take place because the number 2 did not fit the expected odd number pattern.

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  • Social Constructivism

 

Vygotsky believed that learning occurs when students handle tasks that they haven’t learned before, but these tasks are still within range of their abilities (zone of proximal development). This zone of proximal development is the area between the actual developmental level that a child is actually at developmentally and and the level of potential that the child can achieve.

Learning principles as the implications of Vygotsky socio-cultural constructivist theory are:

  1. Social interaction is important, better knowledge is constructed by involving other people.
  2. Human development occurs through cultural tools (language, symbols) that is transmitted from person to person.
  3. The zone of proximal development is the difference between what can be done alone (actual ability) and what can be done with the help from adults (potential capabilities).

For example, 4th grade students constructed their knowledge about what economic activity was. Teachers facilitated an activity to identify economic and  non-economic activities. Students worked in groups, cut images from old magazines and newspapers, identified each image as economic activity or non-economic activity and continued by classifying the images. When the students identified and classified the pictures, each image selection involved social interactions between students and also with the teachers. Each group discussed and constructed their understanding about what economic and non-economic activity was. The students shared their ideas. Teachers guided the students to construct their definitions of economic activity and non-economic activity. The similar activities were also applied when the students, facilitated by the teachers, constructed their knowledge about the differences between goods and services; and also the difference between needs and wants.

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Teaching methods in constructivist approach

The learning method that can be applied using constructivism learning is inquiry method. Learning using inquiry method is an essential way for students to construct their own meaning and gained new knowledge.

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Firdausi Nuzula, Associate PYP Coordinator and Grade 4  Homeroom Teacher

Sekolah Buin Batu, Sumbawa Barat, NTB

firdausi.nuzula@sekolahbuinbatu.sch.id

The Art of Storytelling

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Have you ever wondered how teachers like us do storytelling? What are the different ideas in storytelling? How will you tell a funny or a scary story? These are some questions that popped up in one of our coffee breaks.

To begin with,

What is story telling?

The National Storytelling Network defines storytelling as an action that involves a two-way interaction between a storyteller and one or more listeners. Storytelling happens in many situations, from kitchen-table conversation to religious rituals, from telling in the course of other work to performances for thousands of paying listeners. Some storytelling situations demand informality. Others are highly formal. Some demand certain themes, attitudes, and artistic approaches. The expectations about listener interaction and the nature of the story itself vary widely.

Our students define storytelling as:

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And as teachers, we define storytelling as a way of expressing our feelings through story. Storytelling is enticing the listener to create mental images while we tell through words and actions. Storytelling connects the storyteller and the listener through imagination. Most of the interesting stories are about people. Therefore to make a story better to be understood, focus your story to real-life characters.

How do you choose a story?

The secret of a worthwhile story time is choosing the right book.

Children should be exposed to broad types of literature available to them in the classroom and as much as possible at home. Literature types include picture books, big books, concept books, chapter books, pop-up books, sensory books, nursery rhyme books, fairytale books, and folktale books.

How do you tell a story?

There are easy ways of telling a story to children:

  1. Reader’s position

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The storyteller should be relaxed and comfortably seated or standing up.

2. Position of book

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Hold the book and visual aids where children can view it well. Show the pictures slowly around the audience.

3. Actions

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Use actions that go with the story to add interest. The body movement is an important factor in telling a story.

4. Eye contact

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Use eye contact to relate to your audience. Let your eyes and facial expression help tell them the story.

5. Speed

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Use a clear, natural speaking voice and vary the pace according to the story. Take time and never rush through the story.

6. Response of children/peers

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Respect children’s comments and reactions, yet retain control of the group.

How do you introduce a story?

  • Unlock difficult words that will be encountered in the story.
  • Ask motivating questions related to the child’s experience that will arouse his/her interest in the story.
  • Set the stage for the story and capture the children’s attention before you begin to read.
  • Make the children sit well
  • Begin by telling the title, author, and illustrator.

Storytelling presentation and activities in a creative way:

  • Making a story book

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  •   Comic strip

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  •  Role play (puppet)
  •  Story cube

   

   

  • See through story

Storyteller use projector screen as a tool to tell story.

  •  Story maze/ story map

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As we end our coffee break, stories about work, family, students and whatever under the sun continue to flood our imagination. We hope you were able to get some ideas from one of our coffee breaks. So sip that cup of coffee and share your story with a friend.

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By: Camelia Tjandra and Jose Noel Veloso

Grade 1 Teachers

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug

ctjandra@binus.edu; jveloso@binus.edu