Inculcating the IB Learner Profile and PYP Attitudes

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Nowadays, in a fast changing world, it is not easy to teach students how to be empathetic, how to be sympathetic, how to be kind, to be tolerant, to be optimistic, to be courageous, etc. TV shows, cartoons, computer games and Internet websites and the social media are strongly influencing students’ behavior. But we teachers, as thinkers and caring individuals, strive hard to find the best way how to inculcate moral values so our students make a difference in line with IB PYP goals to prepare students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them.

Today’s education should not be focusing only on increasing knowledge of students and developing their skills but to prepare them for a fulfilling life in the future. Life demands more than knowledge and skills.

So, what is our school doing to prepare the students to become active, caring and lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them?

Aside from the transdisciplinary themes with central ideas and lines of inquiries that are wonderfully planned, the teachers also found out one of the best ways to inculcate moral values and that includes the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes through reading books. Books are the best tools to teach the students with moral values. There are scenarios that can help them realize that they need to put everything into perspective – others are not lucky enough – they have nothing to eat, live in a difficult and abusive life, no shelter to live in, no parents to guide them, no friends to play with, no toys to play, no cars to ride on, etc.

Four novels are specially chosen for grade 3 students to read. They are Charlotte’s Web, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, Justin Case and Nancy Drew.


These novels are ingrained with fundamental values – for every child to discover and enjoy.

1These novels are carefully chosen to help launch meaningful discussions with the students. They work best as subtle discussion starters (rather than direct ‘lecturing’ on the learner profile and PYP attitudes) – to make the value system stick, students need to come up with the conclusion themselves. So, teachers make sure to follow–up a read aloud with some open–ended questions. They include books because they believe that reading books is the best way to encourage the students to make a difference, take action whether small or big, create a positive change in the world they live in, and also for academic success.

My students started reading Charlotte’s Web, and they were able to apply what they have learned in our first two units of inquiry, which focused on rights and responsibilities and animal adaptation – which each child who has a pet should be responsible to give love and care because animals have rights too. All my students said that they are against animal cruelty, that each animal has the right to live – I laughed at this. But others were asking- how about the animals that we eat? Is that also animal cruelty? Students had long discussions and arguments about this issue. They gave out their best reasons and persuaded others that it is animal cruelty or not.

3After reading Charlotte’s Web, we watched the movie version. Students came up with the conclusion that the book was a story of friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte – that a true friend is going to risk his/her life for one’s own good. After watching the movie, students were asked who among their classmates was their best friend. They wrote a letter to their best friend and stated why their friendship is true and to be kept. After giving the letter to their best friend, students were asked to reply to each other’s letter. While giving the response letter, they sang a song about friendship.

You’re My Best friend
Many people say true friends are hard to find

But I know I’m not that kind

They come and go and sometimes leave us behind

Like a wind that passes by

(Cause)When you need a friend

That you can depend

You can count on me because you’re my best friend

When you’re feeling down and your heart is hurt

You can call on me and

I’ll be there for you friend
Good things may come and then bad things may go

Like a birth a long time ago

You’re like the ship that’s sailing across the sea

To the waves that’s so unkind
(Repeat Chorus)

(Repeat Chorus) Hold

(Repeat Chorus)


4The second novel that they read was ‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.’ Before they started reading, we had some learning engagements. Students filled in a prediction chart, watched videos and looked at pictures about what happened during World War 2 and the aftermath of the explosion in Hiroshima. Then they answered the four question on a Y-Chart: what did you see, what did you hear, what did you feel and what do you worry about – to give them background of what really happened during the war. Most of the students wrote that they were really scared and sad at the same time. They wondered how the people back then survived the explosion and how they rebuilt their lives after the war. Most of them were also worried that another war may happen though other parts of the world are having conflicts.


The students filled in the Y – Chart after watching videos and looking at the pictures of the aftermath of World War 2.


Our Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes center

8Reading the novel, students were able to describe Sadako using the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes. Students pointed out that Sadako learned to stay positive and courageous despite having been inflicted with a debilitating disease. Students also learned that they have to be determined, never give up and always hope that everything will be alright in God’s will. They learned how to empathize with Sadako’s struggles.

The third novel that students read was Justin Case. They were very excited to start our activities and find out the things that happened to the main character because it is a story of a boy who worries a lot. The boy is a worrywart and most of the students were able to relate to him. The students were asked to describe Justin as well as the other characters in the story using the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes. Since Justin likes to describe his teacher and writes down his experiences in school, they were also asked to describe their teacher (others wrote poems about their teachers) and penned down their experience on their first day of school.


Students, together with their parents, are reading their first day of school experiences and their descriptions of their teachers just like what Justin usually does.

11The last but not least novel was Nancy Drew. Most of the students loved the novel because it is suspense-filled and is about solving dangerous mysteries. Students loved it because one should be a risk-taker and thinker to find clues and be knowledgeable to be able to solve the crime or mystery.
It is really essential to inculcate in the students the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes, and one way to do this is through reading. Through reading, students learn important life lessons. Having a respectable behavior is a must at a very young age. This can help the students make a difference, be open-minded and tolerant about differences in beliefs, cultures, traditions, etc. If students around the world are open–minded and tolerant, our world will be in safe hands and world peace will just be around the corner.

By: Freitz Gerald Talavera

Grade 3 Classroom Teacher


My first year as an IB educator: Filled with wonderful learning experiences

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Two months before the school year started, I was already apprehensive if I could survive – thinking whether I could do it with limited knowledge about the IB Primary Years Programme. I did a lot of readings but some were still vague to me. I had a flurry of questions in my mind. All those questions and apprehensions remained even until the opening of the school year. I felt like I was not ready in a battlefield though I was already assured by my PYP coordinator that I could do it without any difficulty, and she even said that they were looking forward to learn from me. Then I thought “What?” What does she mean about it? Should I be asking what I need to learn about the IB PYP?

The school year started and I was fortunate to have an efficient and effective team teacher, who has been in the school for thirteen years now. She helped me all throughout the school year. I remember I kept asking her every day if I was doing okay. And she would reply ‘yes’ you’re doing ‘ok.’ I did not really believe her because I was really unsure of what I was doing. I was using the strategies and techniques that I know but I was not sure if it they were aligned with the PYP.

 Due to my quest for knowledge, I continued reading, hoping to lessen my apprehension. Thankfully, I was already enlisted to attend the ‘Making the PYP Happen’ that made me understand the IB curriculum (thanks to our PYP coordinator, Ms. Richel and our MTPYPH workshop facilitator, Ms. Amanda McCloskey). I realized that there were strategies and techniques that I was already using but did not know that those were aligned with IB PYP – I did not stop there. I continued to learn more by reading articles about the IB PYP (I’m looking forward to my next workshop in September to be held at BINUS SCHOOL Simprug – (Stay hungry, stay foolish) and joined the PYP groups on Facebook to connect and learn from other PYP educators around the world to find out the techniques and strategies that they are currently using.

Based on the knowledge that I acquired, I decided to change my teaching style – I always put in my mind that I should let the students discover their lessons, and I should find out their prior knowledge. There might be things that they already know that I don’t need to discuss further and the students might ask questions that would lead to a wonderful and meaningful discussion instead.

Here are my reflections in each transdisciplinary theme:

‘Who we are’ with the central idea: Children worldwide deal with different rights and responsibilities and face a variety of challenges, risks and opportunities.

The unit of inquiry, “Who we are” started with the students creating their self-identity poster. The students have written information about themselves and got the chance to present in front of the class. This was followed by doing the Think, Pair and Share routine and discussion about needs and wants (Y-chart) and rights and responsibilities (T-chart).

When the central idea and lines of inquiry were introduced, it was easy for the students to tell their responsibilities, but most of them had a hard time understanding what is rights (it was new to them- they said that rights are like doing the right things). Due to their lack of experience and knowledge about rights and challenges, more examples were given through videos (showing children around the world have different rights and responsibilities), watching the movie titled ‘Annie,’ and explained further why do they have rights (Children have risks and challenges). Eventually, all of them were able to understand that every child has rights and responsibilities.

The students also aired out their sentiments on why some children are working at a very young age (child labour) and why some girls or women in some parts of the world are not treated unfairly (liability)- boys are considered precious (asset). They also learned about the different organizations and people who work to protect children’s rights.

As a summative task, they conducted an information campaign to grades 4 and 5 students. They informed them that children have rights that they should enjoy and responsibilities to be done. They did their campaign well and few were able to answer challenging questions impressively with supporting evidence and websites.

The students also learned about narrative writing. They were given picture prompts related to the unit to write fiction or non-fiction stories.

Math was a stand-alone subject in this unit of inquiry. The students learned about numbers: place value, value, comparing and ordering, even and odd and rounding off. They also learned to solve 1-2 step problems using models but more practice was required for the word problems.

‘Sharing the planet’ with the central idea: Over time, living things need to adapt in order to survive.

Sharing the Planet was a very interesting unit for the students. When the central idea and lines of inquiry were introduced, they were very enthusiastic and were able to know immediately (most of them had prior knowledge of endangered and extinct animals, animal cruelty, survival, life cycles, etc.) the topics that were about to be discussed.

For tuning in, students posted some of their questions, concerns and suggestions on the ‘compass points’, and they enjoyed the ‘Colour, Symbol, Image’ activity wherein they were given a chance to choose a word that was related to the central idea and lines of inquiry. Most of them chose the words ‘endangered’ and ‘survive’. Their explanations of their chosen colours and symbols were very impressive.

As we went on with the unit, students were fascinated on how animals and plants are being classified, and on how they use physical and behavioral adaptation in order to survive (they were able to know that spiders are not insects but arachnids because they have eight legs). We had countless of learning engagements, and students had unending sharing of ideas about fascinating and rare species of animals as well as the carnivorous plants (they included their amazing facts). They also shared ideas on how animals become endangered and gave out some suggestions on how to protect them from becoming extinct.

For formative and summative assessments, the students enjoyed making their flip chart calendar of the classification of animal kingdoms, creating slide presentations of their chosen animal kingdom and adaptation poster.

Students learned how to write a persuasive text. They found out that to persuade readers, they have to state their best reasons.

            In retrospect, I should have given more time for students to learn further about habitat exchange. I should have provided more examples and explained to the students that even if the animal is placed in a harsh environment or climate, it would find ways to adapt in order to survive -it would develop physical or behavioral adaptation.

‘How we organize ourselves’ with the central idea: Marketplaces rely on the production and distribution of goods and services.

Before the unit started, I was a bit apprehensive if the students could understand the technical words, but through constant unlocking and giving examples by showing videos and slide presentations, eventually, they were able to get a clearer picture on what were they learning about. The practical and hands-on activities helped the students understand the central idea and lines of inquiry.

Their field trips to Bank Indonesia Museum and Ranch Market had given the students’ knowledge about the history of money, the features of a currency, the different sections in the marketplaces and value of saving money. They also learnt that they have to exert effort to earn money. They tried their best to give their service to make money for their capital.

Their field trip to the Ranch Market had taught them that the goods and services at a modern market are arranged accordingly from fruits and vegetables sections. They also learnt to calculate the total amount of their chosen items so their money is enough. And they didn’t need to be asked to put them back. They learnt to make a shopping list, so they could plan and check what they needed or what they didn’t have before heading to the market.

The mini-bazaar had given them the experience to sell, how to persuade the customers and how to calculate their profit, to give change, how to put up a stall and create an advertisement poster.

Students learnt about the features of recount writing as well as the use of connectives, past tense verbs, powerful adjectives and verbs and adverbs.

‘How we express ourselves’ with the central idea: A variety of signs and symbols facilitates communication.

This unit “How we express ourselves” made the students realized that there are different ways to convey information. They learned that uttering words is not the only way to communicate. They can use facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, signs, symbols, colours, etc. in order to be understood.

The students also learned that those who are visually impaired, hearing impaired and have speech defects have specialized systems of communications in order to communicate with others. They are the ASL (American Sign Language) and the Braille method – wherein they were able to write their names in Braille method and apply their knowledge of ASL to the students of Sekolah Santi Rama, a deaf and mute school, who visited the school (although there are words that are quite different from the Indonesian Sign Language, the teachers from Sekolah Santi Rama were very quick to teach the students the difference).

The students also found out the difference between signs and symbols as well as their importance. They started to notice the signs along the streets and main roads on their way to school and going somewhere else. And after learning signs, symbols and giving directions, students created their own treasure map complete with map key, compass rose and coordinates.

Students were able to learn different types of poems and compiled them to create a poetry booklet. Several students had difficulty writing a limerick poem because the last syllable for the first, second and fifth lines must rhyme and it should be funny.

For the summative task, the students were given three choices: role play, pantomime and play script writing. Most of them chose role-play, only one group for pantomime and two groups for play script writing. They enjoyed their performances on stage.

This unit was supposed to be finished in six weeks, but because of the International Schools Assessment practice, the unit was extended for another week, as the contact time was lessened. Hopefully next school year this unit will be finished in six weeks because this will be our first unit. We also want to lessen the coverage, so the students can master all the skills.

‘How the world works’ with the central idea: Matter exists in three common states and lead to various changes.

Before the unit on ‘How the world works’ was introduced, three groups of items were placed in full view of the students (the inquisitive ones started checking and touching every item prior to introduction of the unit, central idea and lines of inquiry). With their partner, students were asked to observe the three groups of items and do the ‘Think, Pair and Share’ activity. When few students had given their prior knowledge about solid, liquid and gas, the unit was introduced. They did the Think, Puzzle and Explore routine and posted their ideas and questions on the board.

Upon reading the central idea and lines of inquiry, the students were eager about the experiments that they were going to conduct. You could see in the students’ faces the excitement.

For the field trip, they went to Coca Cola Amatil, but they did not show the actual process (showing chemical and physical changes). They should have shown videos on how the water turns to colored water.

For formative assessment, they created an ‘All about Matter’ poster or booklet wherein the students wrote down what they have learned so far about matter and conducted simple experiments.

As a summative task, the students conducted experiments showing chemical and physical changes. They also wrote procedural texts for both of the experiments and ‘All about matter’ poster.

In math, the students learned about measurement – what to use to measure things (tools) and the conversion of basic units.

Students learned about the procedural text, the features and the different types (recipe, making a craft, creating a game and conducting an experiment. They also learned about the different parts of a book. As an application of what they have learned, they combined all their writings and created a procedural text booklet.


‘Where we are in place and time’ with the central idea: Human needs lead to discoveries and new understandings.

 The unit, ‘Where we are in place and time’, started with a ‘gallery walk’. Students observed the two groups of pictures, and then they did the ‘See, Think and Wonder routine to list down their observations. Once they were done with the activity, the unit was introduced (central idea, lines inquiries, concepts, profiles and attitudes. Students did the ‘Think, Puzzle and Explore thinking routine, wherein they wrote down their predictions, prior knowledge, questions and ideas on how to explore the topics that they were about to learn.

While discussing the central idea, the students found out that human needs (students listed down their wants and needs in a T – chart) was the main reason why people decided to invent something.

To fully equip with knowledge about inventors and inventions, the students watched movies and videos of famous inventors and their inventions. They were able to learn their famous statements and most of them like the statements by Thomas Alva Edison and Steve Jobs: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’ and “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

The students also watched videos of latest inventions as well as the inventions created by some talented kids. After watching the videos, they were asked to answer the question: What would you like to invent in the future?

As a formative task, the students created a timeline of their chosen invention. They presented it in the class using a slide presentation.

As a summative task, the students had an “Inventors’ Meet” where they dressed up like their chosen inventor and explained how they succeeded in creating their inventions.

The students learned about an information report and its features. They wrote an information report of their chosen invention and a biography of their chosen inventor. In preparation for their summative task, the students changed the biography of their chosen inventor to autobiography. This was used as their script for the “Inventors’ Meet”.

As a teacher, this unit of inquiry was my favorite because the students got the chance to dress up like their chosen inventor. And they were able to learn about their struggles, failures, hard work and on how they succeeded in creating their inventions.

Based on my understanding about the IB PYP, every child should be given a chance to share his/her ideas in various ways. It could be through Think, Pair and Share routine, clock partners, etc. Teachers should guide their students to visualize their thinking using the thinking routines.

What I like about the IB PYP is that the teachers hold weekly level and planner meetings to share ideas and plan learning engagements. Teachers also gauge student’s understanding through formative and summative assessments.

For the new PYP teachers like me, here are the things that I researched that we need to bear in mind:

  • Teaching an IB program is a rewarding experience for every teacher. Teachers play a fundamental role in developing open-minded and knowledgeable adults for the future.
  • We should not be disheartened if things do not go smoothly immediately. Adapting to the PYP practices can require a huge amount of work and commitment.
  • IB workshops specifically ‘Making the PYP Happen’ are wonderful gifts from the universe. These workshops are the best opportunity for you to step back, reflect and plan for new things to be bravely tried in the classroom.
  • The IB demands as much from its teachers as it does from students.
  • Your first year will be filled with questions and as many steps back as there are steps forward.
  • As a PYP teacher, you are never alone. Talking to others can help you through any moments of self-doubt.
  • The PYP coordinators and level heads always give advice and that is to share ideas with both other teachers and students – the better the communication within the teaching team, the more scope for ideas there is. You need to be always keen to pick your colleagues’ brains. 
  • The PYP expects students to take action, which includes inquiring deeper into concepts explored in class. As PYP educators, we need to do the same in order to learn and grow.
  • Little flickering fairy lights moments. Bit by bit, things will begin to make sense.

The whole school year was truly a wonderful learning experience for me. I am grateful to my school principal, Mr. Peter; PYP coordinator, Ms. Richel; level head, Ms. Priyanka; my team teacher, Ms. Martha and colleagues in grade 3: Ms. Colleen, Ms. Kavita, Ms. Frida, Ms. Mey and Ms. Sylvia, who taught me a lot of things. I can’t wait for the next school year to learn more and be a better PYP educator.

By: Freitz Gerald Talavera

       Grade 3 Classroom Teacher

       BINUS SCHOOL Simprug

Teaching Through Games

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Let’s play games!

Teachers use lots of ways in conducting their lessons. One of them is through games. The advantages of using games for students include:

  1. Competition factor: Generate positive competition among peers to achieve stated objectives of the games
  2. Discipline factor: Allow students to be able to follow series of instructions or rules.
  3. Unity factor: Teach students about teamwork, sense of belonging and unselfishness. Games also encourage the students to play for teams instead of their own personal accomplishment.
  4. Confidence factor: Games enhance students’ confidence and communication skills.

Here are some games that I have used for teaching students mathematical concepts.

Game 1: “Throw the Ball”


  1. Place 4 trays in line. Put some division facts in each tray. The closest tray consists of the most difficult questions. The easiest questions are in the furthest tray.
  2. Students make a line and give them a ball (I used ping pong balls) and asked them to shoot the ball into the tray. Yes, most of them tried to shoot the ball in the furthest tray, which has the easiest questions.
  3. If the ball is out, students will line up again from the back.

4. Once the ball got into the tray, ask students to get a piece of paper and answer the questions by themselves.

5. If they can’t answer in a given time, students will then line up from the back.

6. Finish this game until all the questions have been answered.

Game 2: “Solving Word Problems”


  1. Prepare papers with question. Label each paper 1, 2, 3 and so on.
  2. Divide class into groups.
  3. Each group stands in front of a piece of paper.
  4. Let students answer the questions on post-it notes. Tell them to put the answers at the back of the paper.

5. Ask students to move clockwise to the next paper.

6. Stop until all the groups are back to their first paper.

7. Discuss the answers together.

Game 3: “Group Yourselves Equally”


  1. The students stand in a circle.

2. Give the question, “Group yourselves into 2”, “Group yourselves into 3”, and so on.

3. Ask students to count how many groups they made.

4. Write down the number with the equal answers. Examples include 9 (18 ÷ 2) and 6 (18 ÷ 3).

5. Discuss why some students were not in groups. It means the number cannot be divided equally. Examples are 18 ÷ 4 and 18 ÷ 5.

6. Discuss and review what numbers are really equal if you divide for 18.


I found that the students really enjoyed these games. The students actively participated and cooperated well during the activities. Using games in teaching creates an exciting learning atmosphere for the students and the teachers as well.

By: Debby Selvianita

Grade 1 Co-Teacher



Yahmad, S. B. H. Motivating students with games.

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.


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.


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”


Roch Hazel Olivia and Ferida Sari Hasaputri

Grade 1 Teachers



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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

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:


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


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


  •   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.


By: Camelia Tjandra and Jose Noel Veloso

Grade 1 Teachers


Human Rights

Posted on

Learning from individuals working in institutions promoting human rights

As our grade 5 students prepare for their PYP Exhibition in April 2017, they have had a lot of interactions and discussions with first-hand sources for the different issues they are inquiring on. The grade 5 teachers worked hard to try to get individuals, who are experts in their fields, to share their knowledge and experience with our grade 5 students.

For this year’s PYP Exhibition, the students chose the transdisciplinary theme ‘How We Organize Ourselves’ with the central idea “Social equality can determine how people act and how institutions govern.” Instead of all the 30 human rights, we will focus on freedom from discrimination, slavery, torture and degrading treatment; right to free movement, protection in another country, and right to a nationality and freedom to change it; freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of opinion and information; right to peaceful assembly and association, right to participate in government and elections; and right to desirable work and join trade unions, right to rest and leisure, right to adequate living standards.

Right to desirable work and join trade unions, right to rest and leisure, right to adequate living standards

On February 20, we were very privileged to have Indonesia’s Minister of Industry, Bapak Airlangga Hartanto, as our guest speaker. He first explained his roles as a Minister of Industry to the students. He mentioned that he works closely with Indonesian President Jokowi and other ministers for the betterment of Indonesia. He showed a video on how a big factory in Indonesia operates. After that, he enumerated the rights of workers such as minimum wage, working hours and overtime pay, medical benefits, pension fund and participation in labour unions. The students asked a lot of questions which the Minister answered cheerfully. At the end of his talk, he encouraged the students to study and work hard so that they can also help their country in the future.

binus issue 7 1 Freedom from discrimination, slavery, torture and degrading treatment

On February 23, we had a Skype session with our guest speaker, Grace Villanueva, a lawyer from the Philippines. She had worked for 10 years in a non-governmental organization called Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center or LRC, whose focus is rights to natural resources of indigenous peoples and other upland poor rural communities.  Prior to joining LRC, she trained in a law firm after she took the bar exams.  Most recently, she was a consultant to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines.  In her presentation to our grade 5 students, she explained who the indigenous people are and how institutions protect their rights to their lands and territories. She also shared with the students how lawyers like her educate the indigenous people about their right to be asked for their permission and their right to develop based on their own dreams. The students had a lot of questions after her presentation. One student even asked, “Why don’t the indigenous people just change their ways so they won’t be discriminated?” in which Atty. Grace replied, “There is a saying: “Why fix something if it is not broken? All they want is a happy, just, peaceful, beautiful world enjoyed by every child, woman, man, which they will pass on to their future children for them to also enjoy and take care of for future generations.”

binus issue 7 2Right to peaceful assembly and association, right to participate in government and elections

On February 28, three staff from Indonesia’s Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU), Ibu Lidya, Ibu Ina and Ibu Rika, went to our school and talked about the citizens’ right to choose their leader. They explained to the students the process of voting as well as the requirements for an individual to exercise his or her right to vote. Once again, our students took this opportunity to ask many questions like “Why can’t children vote?”, “How does your institution ensure a fair election?”, “What preparations do you do before an election?”, etc.

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Guests from KPU explaining the citizens’ right to vote

Right to free movement, protection in another country, and right to a nationality and freedom to change it

On February 3, one of our Humanities teachers from the Middle Years Programme, Michael Athens, shared his knowledge and experience with our students. He explained to them who refugees are, why they leave their country and what their rights are. He shared his own experience about interacting with them when he worked in one of the local libraries in Minneapolis many years ago. He gave facts and figures about crimes committed which did not include any refugees’ involvement at all. The session touched the hearts of the students and made them more compassionate to people who are in need. It also made them appreciate the things that they have which they normally take for granted.

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Our MYP Humanities teacher, Michael Athens, explaining the rights of refugees to our students

On March 6, we were fortunate to have been given the chance to meet refugees from Pakistan and Sri Lanka by members of a Catholic organization in Bogor called Jesuit Refugees Service (JRS). Their mission is to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees. Their main areas of work are in the field of education, emergency assistance, healthcare, livelihood activities and social services. The first activity we had was to socialize with them in our school’s playground. Most of our girls had a chat with two teenage girls from Pakistan while the boys played. We went up to our assembly area after that and all our guests introduced themselves by saying their names and which country they come from. Our students invited them in their classrooms and they shared what they usually do in the class. One girl from Pakistan said that she loves art so our students gave her a lot of art materials to draw and paint. A boy from Pakistan said he likes playing soccer so our students played soccer with him. Our students were very sensitive and did not ask about their life as a refugee. Even for a day, our grade 5 students surely brought joy to these people.

With all these interactions and discussions, our young students were able to understand not only how they should be treated but how they should treat others as well. They realize that there are actually many individuals, institutions and organizations that protect the rights of human beings. Our guest speakers created a safe place for our students to explore, discuss, challenge and form their own opinions and values. The knowledge and respect of rights that our students have gained from all these past sessions (and more to come) have empowered them to tackle discrimination or inequality and improve their relationships with the society.

 By: Corita T. Silapan

Grade 5 Class Teacher and Level Head