ACG School Jakarta

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

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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

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

English Language Support and the PYP

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The purpose of ELS is to support students to develop the language needed for learning so that they can actively participate in the PYP.

ELS and the Learner Profile

The ELS classrooms are supportive spaces where students work in small groups. Our ELS essential agreement is displayed and gives an example of a learning behaviour which demonstrates an attribute of the learner profile. The ELS teachers model the learner profile attributes in their teaching and learning.  ELS teachers explicitly provide feedback to the students when they display an attribute of the learner profile.  Risk taking is highly valued in the ELS classrooms as students build confidence and skills to ‘have a go’.  Students reflect on their learning at the end of each lesson.  Every fortnight a Primary ELS student is recognised with a PYP certificate for demonstrating the attributes of the learner profile.acg-1

ELS and Key Concepts
ELS learners have the opportunity to construct meaning by exploring English words using some of the key concepts. We use questions to explore the concepts. Here are two examples:

Contractions

  • Form: What does a contraction look like?
  • Connection: How is the contraction connected to the original two words?
  • Change: How do the two words change?
  • Function: How does the apostrophe work?
  • Reflection: What have you learned today about contractions?
  • Reflection for teachers: What worked well and what would you do differently next time?

Word building: constructing morphemic knowledge

  • Change and function: How does this suffix change the function of the word?
  • Connection: What other words can be built from the base word?
  • Form: What letters do adverbs often have at the end?
  • Causation and function: What prefix causes the word do have an opposite meaning?
  • Reflection: What have you learned today about words?
  • Reflection for teachers: What worked well and what would you do differently next time?

ELS and Units of Inquiry

Classroom and ELS teachers collaboratively plan teaching and learning tasks. Planning is documented and resources shared. This means that ELS teachers support the students to:

  1. understand and use key vocabulary so they can participate in class discussions
  2. use writing frames to support development of writing in a particular genre
  3. read texts, with a lower Lexile, related to the unit

The ELS teachers also:

  1. explicitly teach research skills
  2. source, and where needed, rewrite documents for research that are accessible
  3. develop differentiated assessments, including rubrics and checklists
  4. provide intensive support for ELS students as they develop their Exhibition.

In addition, through our work with the students, we support the development of the PYP transdisciplinary skills, in particularly thinking, communication and research skills.acg-2

Melinda Mawson-Ryan

Senior ELS Teacher

ACG School Jakarta