Month: January 2018

Cultural Festival Reception and Year One

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What do all these key words have in common? Learner agency, differentiation, time line, maps, history, family, traditions, culture, heritage, community, action, awareness, international mindedness, documentation, celebration, reflections. Well if you are a Reception and Year One learner at the Intercultural School of Bogor, it all comes together in a cultural festival during the unit Where We Are In Place and Time.

In a nut shell:

Tuning into the unit Where We Are in place and time; students started their inquiry into their own family histories. They completed a KWL chart by saying what they know, wonder and want to learn about the UNIT. During class time the students were able to identify their home country flag and map where their home country is on the world map. Students automatically began to share who they are and how their host country is different to what they are used to. This allowed the students to obtain a big picture of how diverse their class actually is. During the inquiry students sorted out information about their family by using family trees, family photobooks and information they brought from home. Going further the students collected all their information in a central exhibition board where they were able to share information with the class and make conclusions of their journey and discoveries. This dynamic UNIT sprouted into action by sharing the learning with the school community during a cultural festival morning.

What does it actually look like in action?

It all started with one music lesson where children learned about their music teachers’ favourite traditional instrument and song from his childhood. Being inquisitive and unpacking the meaning of the song, you can imagine how this triggered a huge interest. As the subject matter dealt with rice and music, the children wanted know more about rice and the traditional instruments.

Figure 1. Children exploring the Kacapi Sundanese musical instrument.

The inquiry allowed children to set off to discover traditional rice cooking with our Bahasa Indonesia Specialist. Instantly the excitement started and lead to various questions. What does our own traditions look like? Where are we from? Who are our grandparents actually? Do I know enough about who I am and where I come from? One of the children said “our instruments look different in Brazil” another said “my grandmother play a drum in Korea, but it is not like the one in music class”. The big question was “How do you cook rice at home?”

Figure 2. Bahasa Indonesia specialist teacher models the writing of the names of the different utensils used during traditional rice cooking.


Figure 3. Then and now: reflecting on cooking rice in the past. Traditional tungku stove used by Indonesians.


Figure 4. One of the children preparing the rice before cooking by washing it. The rice is in a woven basket called a bakul.

Following our discussions about cooking rice we decided to try the traditional way in our host country Indonesia. As we were collecting sticks and laying them out in the sun to dry workers began to ask the children about what they were doing. This was interesting to watch, because as soon as the children began to physically do something different outside the classroom in the school yard they had others’ attention. We then sat down with the Bahasa specialist teacher and looked at all the different utensils needed to cook the rice. We named and labelled the utensils in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. We looked at shapes, texture, material, size, colours, pattern, weight and anything else the children were interested in. The children enjoyed predicting what the various utensils would be used for. Children stacked the sticks, washed the rice and watched a volunteer parent lit the fire. They went off to class and returned at lunch time to see what has happened. To their amazement the rice has steamed to perfection through the bamboo cone. As the children were cooling the rice with the hihid, I was sceptical to whether or not they will be risk takers to eat the rice. However they loved it! Soon the scent of traditionally cooked rice filled the school drawing even the office to come and have a taste. Ground staff said that the smells reminded them of their childhood and made them miss home in the kampong. All of this in one day unlocked the power of what was to come during this unit.


Figure 5. Allowing water to boil to create steam that will be used to cook the rice in cone shaped basket called a kukusan.


Figure 6. Using a fan type utensil called a kipas of hihid one of the children is cooling the rice before eating. The wooden spoon in called a centong-nasi.


Figure 7. Not before long everyone is out and about following the smells of long forgotten memories. The school’s finance lady is just checking up on the children to ensure they have done a good job.

Back in class children reflected in groups on their rice cooking experience and used their knowledge of procedural writing to explain the steps that they felt were important to document. The reflections were displayed along with photos outside the Bahasa Indonesia room, where it caught the attention of parents and other students. By sharing the process cultural awareness was created among the school community. I realized that this is the start of feeling international mindedness.

Figure 8. Display outside the Bahasa Indonesia class with children’s wonderings, reflections and photos.

After the rice adventure many other extraordinary learning windows opened. For the purpose of this article I would like to share how we embarked on our own personal differentiated learning journeys of culture, family and awareness.

We unpacked our central idea followed by Kath Murdoc’s Inquiry Cycle. We continued our tuning in with a KWL chart and needless to say a very successful KWL chart brought out wonderful knowledge and wonderings that filled our sails for an unforgettable journey. Keeping in mind that the youngest in the group was 4 years old and the oldest were 6 years old, we were ready for whatever learning was going to come.

Figure 9. Unpacking words in the central idea to differentiate understanding among children’s perspectives.

What do you know about your family? And what do you wonder about your family?

Priceless responses such as:

“When I was born my sister was already 5 years old, I know my family have many allergies, and I know my sister drew on my face when I was a baby”.

“I have 2 grandmas and 2 grandpas. One of my grandpa lives in Thailand and my other grandma lives in Indonesia, my family is half Indonesian and half Thai.”

“I wonder if my dad was born on a farm, I wonder if my mom was sang to when she was a baby.”

“I wonder if my mom is the same as my grandma. The same height, the same colour, the same size, what did my mom look like when she was born.”

These responses allowed for differentiation and learner agency. They all had differences and similarities that would construct the path forward. Each learner was given an exhibition board to display their findings and explorations over the next 6 weeks about themselves, their family, culture and history. During the unit they used art to paint and draw, they made connections between their knowledge of patterns to decorate their boards that lead to a discussion about patterns used in their home countries. Children used their writing skills to make family books, they conducted interviews with parents and grandparents. Some learned traditional songs and came to share it with their friends in class. Parents were sending video clips of themselves singing traditional song and of grandparents dressing up in traditional clothing. Children were interested in the world map, comparing distances form the host country to their home countries. Traditional story books came to school, photos and favourite toys also made their appearances. Then came the lovely discussion about birthdays and timelines. Children drew their birthdays as number lines and began to discover the real meaning of their age. Not even to mention the family trees that were created. Children looked at country flags, they compared height and weight with each other and to those of animals, and they created graphs and so much more.

Figure 10. Children are looking for their own identity as they search for their flag among the others in class.

Figure 11. Knowing that your weight has changed from birth until now, how would you currently compare to other baby animals. The only way to find out is by measuring your weight, researching and comparing results.

Figure 12. Children accessing art material independently as needed during the unit. Allowing children to be responsible for their own choices builds independent thinkers.

Children brought random objects, clippings, sketches and photos from home with stories; stories that tied all the concepts, knowledge and their unique understanding into a present called active learning.

Interview question that were sent home:

  1. What’s your first memory?
  2. Who’s the oldest relative you remember (and what do you remember about him or her)?
  3. How did your parents meet?
  4. Tell me about your childhood home.
  5. How did your family celebrate holidays when you were a child?
  6. How did you meet your spouse?
  7. Tell me about your wedding day.
  8. Tell me about the day your first child was born.
  9. What were your favourite school subjects?
  10. Tell me about your favourite teacher.
  11. Tell me about some of your friends.
  12. Describe your first job.
  13. What did you do with your first pay check?
  14. What was your favourite job and why?
  15. Who are some of your heroes?
  16. Where were you when you heard that President Kennedy was shot? (Add or substitute other important historical events.)
  17. What is your experience with or opinion of computers? (Add or substitute other modern conveniences, such as television, microwaves and cell phones.)
  18. Tell me about some of your favourite songs (also books, movies and television shows).
  19. Tell me about some of the places where you’ve been happiest.
  20. What haven’t we talked about that you’d like to discuss in the time we have left?

We used technology to explore change over time ( and ) the two links were examples of how you can see people change over time, just as we can see we have changed over time reflecting on our baby photos.

Figure 13. Creating a family portrait for the exhibition board by using various materials and different mediums of art.


Figure 14. Taking a closer look at the exact detail of the Brazilian flag. Being clear and precise of the facts will allow for an authentic representation of the country.


Figure 15. Using the knowledge of observation to complete an accurate representation.

Figure 16. The children brought extraordinary footage from home with evident parent involvement. This is a photo of one of the children with her grandparents. Information is clearly laid out by the parent to facilitate further discussions in class.

Figure 17. Spontaneously working together as a group while looking at the Garuda National emblem of Indonesia. This is definitely the heart of PYP where social constructivism takes centre stage in the classroom with the teacher as facilitator and fellow learner.


Figure 18. Integrating handwriting into the unit was very successful. Children used their own photos as a personal starting point to practice various language skills. The experience allowed the teacher to model differentiated needs as children were working at their own pace.

During my own personal reflection as the classroom teacher, I somehow felt as if I was on a journey that was not being connected to reality. As the unit moved forward I felt as if I was standing on the highest peak of a mountain that had the most magnificent view, with the wind pressing against my face and with open arms embracing the magic that was happening.

Wrapping up the unit: the big day arrived to take action and once again share our gift of international mindedness with the community. Involving the whole community we set out to change our assembly into a cultural festival. Parents of the Reception and Year One class were invited to celebrate their children’s 6 weeks of learning by collaboratively setting up a table next to their child’s display board echoing their culture, family and awareness.


Figure 19. A very excited mom sharing her experience and planning leading up to the cultural festival. What an honour to have parents actively involved in the learning community.

Teachers from across the school were asked to not just enjoy the marvellous moment but also to use the opportunity to observe learners from their perspective on how they display the aspect of the learner profile, attitudes, skills and knowledge. Further, learners from the school were involved to document what they liked and learned from each culture as they moved from each exhibition to the next. Lastly, all parents that were attending the assembly were invited to celebrate the community event as an awareness of where we are in place and time.

Figure 20. Home room teacher and PYP Coordinator welcoming the community to the cultural festival.

Figure 21. ELC students visiting the Indonesia: Ambon, exhibition.


Figure 22. Parent enthusiasm is key for successful community involvement. Children are known to copy adults, hence the importance of adults modelling the learning attitudes we want to see in our children.

Figure 23. One of the older students visiting the Indonesia: Flores exhibition. Mother and daughter eagerly await questions and are ready to share their cultural knowledge.

Figure 24. A teacher enquires about baby photos on the exhibition board display.

Specialists from Music and Bahasa Indonesia also had the opportunity to display traditional artefacts from Indonesia. The traditional rice cooking was replicated and shared with the whole school community.

Figure 25. Setting up the traditional rice cooking for the community. Both student and teacher proudly dressed to represent their countries.

Reception and Year One also reflected on what they have learned and enjoyed during the unit. Data collected from the teacher and learners were reworked into a personal reflection report of each child.

The following is an example of the individual feedback form created to capture the various reflections of teachers and students. The consolidation of information opened a whole new platform that allowed insight and discussions.


Country represented at the cultural festival: South Africa

Student name: Caydon

Grade: Reception

Date: 3 November 2017



Part One: School teachers’ observations and comments

Teachers were asked to observe the students. The teachers focused on the student’s ability to display the learner profile and IB attitudes during their presentation and display. 7 Teachers responded to Caydon’s presentation.



Observations by school teachers:

  • An excellent presentation by Caydon, not only for me, but watching him interact with his peers and other adults. Excellent work Caydon.
  • Caydon likes all the animals from South Africa.
  • Caydon explained well and answered questions well.
  • He had a good explanation.
  • He told/explained to me about his photos.
  • He explained confidently. I love the milk tart.
  • Excellent communication, Caydon took Hiroshi by the hand to show his photographs and to explain them. “This is South Africa, I’ve been in South Africa”.
  • Caydon Asked Mrs Ali to try the food. Very supportive with Hiroshi and took control of leading him through his display. He worked so hard to answer questions that he asked (very polite…)”could you go now, I am tired”.

Part B: Feedback from peers grade 2-9.

Students from year 2 to 9 observed Caydon and shared what they learnt from his presentation and display.

  • I learn the cheetah is the fastest animal, because it has lots of muscles.
  • The songs are good.
  • Good food, it is really awesome.
  • Barbeque means “braai” in the Afrikaans language.
  • Good food.
  • It looks fun and very African.
  • How food looks nice.
  • I liked the sausage with cheese.
  • I liked the taste of the sausages.
  • I like the sausages.
  • I liked the pudding. There is cinnamon powder on it.
  • We learned about African puddings.
  • I like the sausage.
  • I like the colours of the flag.
  • Good food.
  • Good food, very good stand.

Part C: Learner self-reflections.

Figure 26. Personal reflection.

Caydon made the following comments on his experience of the cultural festival.

“At the assembly I like it. I was not mean, I was not shouting, I was so nice to people. I tell the people we eat food. Our South Africa food. The food taste yummy. I told them everything I already done about South Africa. I like the food from Amelie, she is from Brazil, Ellena from Thailand, New Zealand is Vesper. Me – I am South Africa. Priciella, Megan from China. Indonesia is Malik and I mmm, remember Mica? Yunjin from Korea, I miss Koshy and Mica. Next time I know I don’t be shy!”

Part D: Feedback from homeroom teacher and teacher assistant.

Figure 27. Family photo.

During the unit, Where We Are in Place and Time, Caydon had interesting thoughts about his family. Caydon was more interested in his dog as part of his family. His thinking opened an exciting window of opportunity to explore his family history and culture. Caydon was a brave communicator and open minded. He was able to interact with various adults and students of various ages. I hope that this opportunity to share personal information with the community will allow Caydon to be more of a risk-taker during future events.


In closing this unit was indeed a worthwhile journey that highlights our responsibility towards education that inspires others to flourish.

Figure 28. Bringing a community of learners together from generation to generation. Reception and Year One learners and parents wrapping up an unforgettable learning journey as a global community.


Fun with Art

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Art is becoming an attractive activity for children. It is an engaging and fun activity that develops children’s creativity and imagination. Art makes children freely produce their creation using their own ways and styles. Through art, children are able to express their ideas and explore their talents and skills more not only in drawing but also in making arts and craft stuff.

Every week, our students eagerly await their art elective class. They can’t wait to know what lesson or what activity that they are going to learn. They keep on asking the activities that will be done in upcoming weeks. Every session gives a different experience of learning not only to our students but also to us as their teachers.

Introducing self

In the beginning of our art class, we introduced ourselves to each other as part of building relationships. In introducing ourselves to each other, we used the “throwing ball” activity. During this activity, a student who has the ball will introduce himself or herself. Students tell their friends about their name, hobbies, what they like most about learning art and their reasons for joining the class.


We have essential agreements in our art class. The students agreed to follow them every time we have our art lesson. We called these agreements, 3Bs. 3Bs means Be focused, Be independent and Be creative.

Staying focused is one of the most important skills that the students have to develop in our class. Students are encouraged not to get distracted easily while they are finishing their artwork. Being independent in working means that the students should be able to create their artwork by themselves. Their work result must be authentically made by their own hands and from their own ideas. Being creative is not only our agreement but also one of the goals that students should achieve. Through our art class, we are hoping that students will be able to produce original, unique, imaginative and innovative ideas.


Art lessons can be either fun or uninteresting. It all depends on how teachers create and deliver their lessons for the students. If we have engaging activities, our students will be more enthusiastic and motivated in expressing their creativity and producing best artwork

Basically, we can choose and make art activities based on students’ interests and age level. Some of the activities that we prepare for our students, aged 6 to 8, are paper folding and painting.


Materials can be taken from any resources, including recycled items. In our art class, we prefer to use recycled stuff such as old t-shirts, socks and CDs. Using recycled materials for our lesson will help the students learn how to appreciate more their belongings. This will let students to discover that art creation can be produced and reproduced from other materials, even from unused or old stuff.

Creating Art using recycled materials

Recycled materials are easy to get and students also don’t need to spend much money to buy them. They just utilize any items at home that they don’t use any more.

By using recycled materials as our art resources, we are hoping that our students will learn not to waste any items. Here are some activities that we did using recycled materials.

T-shirt painting

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Some of our unforgettable activities

Matthew’s Dream

Students watched a video about the story, “Matthew’s Dream” by Leo Lionni. After watching the story, they created abstract designs. This was a great start for our art elective class as our students were just beginning to learn new skills and friends.

Most of our students were able to complete this project easily since they only needed to compose an abstract object using simple shapes and lines based on their own imagination.

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There was no limitation on how many shapes or objects that they had to draw and color. In this activity, students only used colorful markers and pencils for sketching.


The most interesting one

Night Sky Crayon

“Night Sky” crayon activity was inspired by Carla Sonheim online art classes. In this activity, students learnt about mixing media. They liked it so much and found this activity interesting. The process of mixing different media such as crayon, salt and water color resulted in colorful artwork.


  • A4 drawing paper
  • Water colors (dark blue, red purple)
  • Crayons(yellow, red, pink, light green)
  • Sea salt
  • Black paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

How to make it:

 1. Draw a sky on A4 paper with red, pink and yellow crayons. Draw also the ground with light green crayons to form the land and grass.


 2. Paint the sky with dark blue and red purple water color paint. You may mix and form different patterns of color from dark blue to light blue or the opposite.


3. Once you finished painting, put some sea salt on the surface of the painting.


4. Make and draw patterns of city view or any landscape view on black paper. Cut the patterns.

5. Stick the patterns of city view or any landscape view on the painting using glue.



 Students found this activity interesting and others considered it a little bit challenging. No matter what, the students were able to produce their own colorful paintings and express their creativity.

By: Meylia Rianawati & Sylvia Rakhmi Dwi Iswari

Grade 3 Co-Teachers


Digital Media Field trip

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In this unit about digital media, PYP 3 students went to the Graha Pena building for an outing. We visited JTV (a local TV channel), the DBL offices (a basketball enterprise for young people), and Gen FM (a popular radio station).

The purpose of the outing was to give students an opportunity to observe and experience how digital media features in our daily lives. Students had plenty of time to ask questions about features, such as editing software at JTV, and the process of broadcasting information via a radio service. Our students learned about the genres of songs played on the radio, as well as the ratio of male to female radio listeners. Seeing special microphones and a sound mixer, with the DJ adjusting the sound, was a great experience. An unexpected moment occurred when a guest speaker explained that there was a live programme in-progress,​ and our students sang along to a familiar song as they were in the studio.

The DBL offices were a source of particular joy. We all tried out a slide that is used by the workers to provoke creativity. Our speakers also explained how information used to be presented in the past, contrasting this with current media practices.

This was an enjoyable and rewarding day for all involved. We hope our learners are now able to share their experiences with others.

PYP 3 Teachers

Sekolah Ciputra Surabaya