Mentari School Jakarta
In line with our UOI Sharing the Planet, Grade Two students learned about endangered animals and animal conservation. It all began with posters from World Wildlife Fund, followed by one question: What do YOU think about this? This was the starting point into our inquiry about this pressing global issue.
With “Extinction impacts our world” as the Central Idea, our curious students gained more knowledge about endangered animals by going through The Inquiry Cycle. The deeper they got into their research, the more it got each of them to reflect: What choices can I make? What actions can I do to help?
One group embarked on a campaign to raise awareness about the illegal poaching of African rhinos for their body parts. They created pamphlets and distributed it to their family, friends and cousins so that they can learn more about it. Another group created a visual campaign by making posters about endangered seals and posting them around the school. One group wrote to the Forest Minister of the Madagascar Government. They requested that a law be made that protects the Aye-Aye Lemur from being hunted and killed. Another group has turned to the power of social media to spread their message about saving pink dolphins from extinction.
Their passion to make a difference, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, also led other students to come up with the idea of raising funds for WWF and its many conservation programs. Without any help from their teachers, these caring and principled learners took charge of planning, organizing and holding a one-day mini-bazaar at school during their snack and lunch breaks to earn money. They coordinated with their parents to help bring the items to school, but our students sold the cold drinks, delicious snacks, unique artwork, and old and new things on their own.
As a result of their unwavering enthusiasm, cooperating and commitment, these students from Grade Two raised money that allowed them to make symbolic adoptions for endangered animals they researched about. They were able to adopt a Cross River Gorilla, Giant Anteater, Giant Panda, Sumatran Tiger, Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Pink River Dolphin, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Loggerhead Sea Turtle!
This donation to World Wildlife fund will help their conservation efforts to protect the world’s most amazing places, benefiting animals, people and the diversity of life on Earth. It helps protect these endangered species and their habitats, to fight global threats like climate change, overfishing, deforestation and wildlife trade that determine the fate of nature.
They also donated to “Send a Turtle Back to Rehab” Program. In this program, one of thousands of sick or injured turtles are regularly brought to the Bali turtle center for recuperation. They will be nursed back to health and re-released back into the wild. The center educates local people and visitors on the importance of conserving and reviving turtle populations. WWF can train and work with locals on turtle-based eco-tourism, providing other livelihood options for turtle traders. They also work with government and businesses to help lessen habitat destruction.
These actions are being done by our Grade Two students on behalf of MSJ. We are very proud of our Grade Two students who proved that when individuals (no matter how young) work together, they can make a difference and bring hope to our planet.
John M. Decena
Homeroom Teacher Grade 2
Mentari School, Jakarta
Being a winner is a dream many boys and girls strive to achieve. They will try their very best to win in every game they play, during an inter-school competition, PE class or even on the playground. Mentari School Jakarta students are no exception. As a result, good manners are often neglected, as the excitement of scoring a goal and the euphoria of winning takes over. They forget to “think before they act”, leading to accusations of being a ‘show-off’ and to hurt feelings.
Being IB learners, we teach our students to be balanced and well-rounded. Thus, students not just learn the physical skills of a sport, but the social skills necessary to be a true winner, on and off the court. Emotions run high during PE class, ranging from tears being shed after losing a match or getting mad at an opponent for “cheating”. Therefore, learning about the PYP attitudes plays a major role during PE classes. The attitudes of cooperation and respect, and the importance of sportsmanship are emphasized daily.
What Is Sportsmanship?
Sportsmanship is defined as:
- playing fair
- following the rules of the game
- respecting the jjudgementof referees and officials
- treating opponents with respect
Yet learning about sportsmanship begins even before PE class. The IB learner profile attribute, ‘principled’ teaches MSJ students the good habits of “playing fair” and “following the rules of the game”. Being open-minded teaches students to respect jjudgementsmade by referees and officials. The attitudes of respect and tolerance teach students even before they play a game, to be polite and kind to others.
Some people define good sportsmanship as the “golden rule” of sports. Yet good sportsmanship is a by-product of the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes. When students apply the 10 attributes and 12 attitudes daily at school and at home, good sporstmanship naturally follows. It becomes easier for students to understand once they step on the court or play during recess time. There are fewer tears and more smiles for everyone.
Mentari School Jakarta
It was a doctor who once said “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go”. That was, of course, Dr Seuss in his wonderful book I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! Dr Seuss, also known as Theodor Seuss Geisel, was not a pediatrician, but he has had enormous impact on the health of millions of children. He did this by creating literature that was simultaneously wacky, inviting and subliminally educational.
The 2016 MISJ Reading Festival, with a theme of ‘Books Bring Stories to Life’, saw students and teachers celebrating literature during the week of November 8. The festival included a visit by a professional author, a poster making competition, fashion show and grade level activities that promote a love for reading.
On the first day, book characters came to life as students dressed up as their favorite characters. They sashayed down the catwalk during the fashion show to the applause and cheers of the school. The Grade 1 and 2 students were able to meet the author, Chandrewening, of the children’s books like Gloob and the Hari Pertama Sekolah Series. The students had fun hearing about her story and how she became an author.
On the second and third day, students wore their sleeping attire for Pajama Day and national costumes for United Nations Day. The Grade 1 students had Mystery Readers where they were able to hear stories in their respective classrooms. For Grade 2, they did Book Swapping, Grade 3 did Book Sharing and Grade 4 & 5 did Folk tales and Story Sharing. These activities definitely showed the students that books can come to life. To close the week, students wore their Halloween themed costume in school.
Did you catch the award winning performance of our very own MSJ faculty during this year’s ‘The Emperor’s New Hair’, based on the story ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’? Once again the teachers made the school laugh out loud.
This week was also full of trivia and contests. The ‘Guess the Teacher Wall contest was a popular event, where the students had to guess 21 teachers hiding behind a book. The trivia was also a favorite where they had to guess which country Halloween originated from. The Digital Club also created their posters following the theme for this year. Congratulations to all the winners from this year’s Reading Festival.
This year’s Reading Festival was a joyous celebration of reading, one of many events that brought the MISJ community closer together. The involvement and support of everyone proves the positive impact reading has on a person’s life. We look forward to next year’s Reading Festival!
Homeroom Teacher Grade 1
Mentari School Jakarta
Thus, it is this time of year again! Last month our daring fifth graders started their venture into the exciting journey that is the PYP Exhibition. As this is the second year we are doing the exhibition, I find myself on familiar ground as the team addressed last year’s concerns from the different elements of the project — the kids, t
heir mentors, roles of parents, school facilities, etc.
For this year, we have decided to focus our theme on ‘Sharing the Planet’. The team conducted a comprehensive unlocking and thorough brainstorming of the central idea, the aim of which is to make sure that the theme is maximized and the kids are provided with a lot of options for their topics.
Upon finalization of the topics by each PYP Exhibition Group, the real work begins. I remember embarking on this last year. I likened the experience to that of a blind man finding his way thru a maze, with people guiding him with directions. As the exhibition is self-implementing by design, it is a struggle for me to simply let the kids go and let the process of inquiry take its course. As a tenured teacher, it was a tendency of mine to micro-manage things too much. Teachers have to relegate themselves to a “witnessing” or mentoring role. After all, the ideals, issues and direction of inquiry the kids want to pursue must remain in the forefront.
Finding Out — Living Out
As the students went on their trips to the different places of interest, an immediate change has occurred among them. From the usual attitude of students trudging their way through their assigned task from school, they have taken upon themselves the initiative to look for places/people they believe are essential to their chosen lines of inquiry. As their passion for their chosen topics develops, other aspects of their character seems to align themselves. Students have taken the responsibility to remind each other of mentor meetings and designated tasks. In the pursuit of acquiring more knowledge, school life has elevated itself from the mere accomplishment of tasks, to a sort of lifestyle worth adhering to.
‘Sharing the Planet’ is a very selfless theme as it widens the awareness of the students to the things around them, as well as their involvement in maintaining its balance. One of my groups in particular decided to get involved with abandoned animals and those who were victims of animal cruelty. Their visits to animal shelters have been so moving that eliciting a response action from them was natural, sincere, and meaningful. Another group found themselves appalled by the huge amount of pollution in our water system. A third group got involved with people who live by the principle of conserving energy in their homes. This exposure has eventually led to the “what if” questions which manifests itself in genuine and even sustained action.
A great mentor once said, “Children nowadays do not need teachers anymore. They need witnesses”. Working on the PYP Exhibition provides truth to this. From prior knowledge to taking action, nothing beats experiential mentoring and learning. I guess as mentors, educators, and parents, we find ourselves as the extension of our students. Like the driver to his vehicle, we become the machinery to aid the students in the journey to their destination. We become the conduit to their visions and aspirations. As this leads them to becoming holistic learners, I don’t consider it a demotion, hehe.
We adapt, adjust, and enrich. Such is the call to educate. Such is the call to serve.
Homeroom Teacher Grade 5
Four years of teaching the PYP curriculum and attending an IB Exhibition workshop was not enough preparation for what was in store during the PYP Exhibition. The greatest challenge was leaving the students to their own inquiry with only minimal supervision. Not to mention that, in the beginning, personalities clashed within groups. I was almost sure our first exhibition would be a complete disaster.
However one thing I have learned in 12 years of teaching is that there is something new going on each day. Surprises are right around the corner. As the inquiry got underway, the students became more and more engaged in their learning and would often share new discoveries with one another and with their teachers.
For our first year, the theme was HOW WE EXPRESS OURSELVES and the central idea was “Self-expression bridges cultural diversity and celebrates individuality.” Teachers anticipated that students would come up with singing, dancing and theater arts as their topics. But like I said, there is something new to learn every day. We were pleasantly surprised by the topics the students came up with. They ranged from cooking and pottery to sports and social media. This wide spectrum provided such a big pool of information that made inquiry so much richer and more interesting for the students.
Our grade 5 students were out all over Jakarta. They were out interviewing experts and celebrities. They were learning how to cook, paint, make batik and do pottery. They became actively involved in sports as well as playing traditional Indonesian games with their friends and creating computer games. Some groups came up with campaigns on how to use social media responsibly. Another group came up with the slogan “love yourself” to remind people to be themselves.
As I watched this exhibition unfold and as I witnessed my students step out of their comfort zones, I am reminded of my favorite Chinese proverb, “The flower that blooms in adversity is rarest and most beautiful of all”. Indeed, it was a difficult time. Some of them would fall ill along the way. Buckets of tears were shed. Yet many of them blossomed quite magnificently and unexpectedly. As Exhibition Day approached, I was confident that these grade 5 students would be able to share the journey of their inquiry to anyone who cared to listen. I am even more confident that this is only the beginning of the many obstacles they will encounter and ultimately conquer.
Ms. Pat Manning
Homeroom Teacher Grade 5
Mentari School Jakarta
In the unit of inquiry, ‘How we express ourselves’, the Central Idea for the fifth graders was “Celebrations and traditions reflect the beliefs and values of cultures”.
Through this theme, the students discovered the festivities and traditions that occur in Indonesia. Various traditions were found by the children. They revealed that there are a lot of different traditions in Indonesia. Even on a single island, the community may have different celebrations and traditions, highlighting the phrase “Unity in Diversity” within the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia.
From these celebrations and traditions they found out more about the various forms of traditional food, dance, music, musical instruments, homes, and much more. In addition to this, they looked for the values that are reflected in these existing traditions. Sometimes they were surprised and shocked to see the variety of traditions.
Students used devices, books, magazines and information from parents as sources for learning.
After searching the richness of celebrations and traditions in Indonesia, students also practiced singing, dancing, reading poetry and role-play, which led to a variety of performances. They not only learnt about Indonesia’s heritage, but also had a lot of fun. The whole school community (students, teachers and parents) were invited to witness their joyous learning. With this “Ragam Budaya” (Unity in Diversity) activity, students displayed appreciation for their unique Indonesian culture.
Bahasa Indonesia Teacher, Grade 5
Mentari School, Jakarta