Mentari School Jakarta

Grade 3 Inquiry Showcase at MISJ

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The 3rd graders capped off their unit on How We Express Ourselves with the much-anticipated Inquiry Showcase. The Inquiry Showcase served as a culminating activity to our inquiry into the different forms of art expression. With much enthusiasm, our learners engaged in an interactive inquiry on poetry, signs, symbols, and paintings. Their investigation ranged from utilizing these art forms as self-expression, how ideas and feelings are expressed in various mediums, to man’s dynamic relationship with works of art. The Inquiry Showcase meaningfully drew out our relationship with these different art forms as we utilize them to express ourselves in different forms. In the end, our learners move closer towards becoming curious, collaborative, and enthusiastic learners, while honing their research, thinking, and self-management skills.

Grade 3 Teachers

Mentari Intercultural School Jakarta



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Recently, our students in the 4th Grade of Mentari Intercultural School Jakarta showcased what they learned in the PYP through a mini-exhibition featuring our “Who We Are” unit. With a Central Idea of “Who we are today links to the community and civilizations of the past,” student groups made inquiries on how inventions, inspired from Ancient Greek and Chinese civilization, help us with our daily tasks.

Student groups started by brainstorming all their ideas. They then researched, planned and created the design of their inventions. They started by sharing some practical problems that people experience in their everyday lives. From that, they came up with an invention that would make our lives easier.

Making the inventions was not an easy task. It took determination, patience, teamwork and knowledge to do it. We are proud that our students were able come up with unique and clever inventions that reflected the sacrifices and effort that they’ve made. The happiness that they had on their faces and the excitement that they surely felt in their hearts made the whole learning process an unforgettable one.

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Figure 1: The design for our venue as welcoming the parents students and guests

After much love and effort from our teachers and students, the 4th Grade PYP Showcase was held last Thursday, 17th of January, in the MISJ Multi-Purpose Hall. The venue was filled with parents and staff admiring and praising the students’ output. It was an exciting day for all!

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Figure 2 Kids are very enthusiastic while showing and explaining their invention

 The kids explained how their inventions worked to the guests, from how they came up with it and the process of making it. Guests were all impressed with the hard work that had been put by the students. A lot of positive comments and feedback were provided by the guests and parents throughout their visit, information that will help greatly in assessing the event’s success.

Figure 3:  A sample invention of our 4th Graders students

Indeed, the event was a great step in the students’ learning journey. In showing their skills and know how, they have shown that they are ready for more challenging inquiries in the months ahead. We hope that they continue to shine, showing their knowledge and abilities, for the benefit of their families, communities, and themselves.

Thank you to all the teachers, parents and everyone that was involved in our PYP showcase!

Grade 4 Team

Mentari Intercultural School Jakarta

MISJ Towards PYP Evaluation

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In December 2014, the elementary department of Mentari Intercultural School Jakarta, then Mentari International School, was authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation as a PYP School. Any IB-authorized school is provided with a set of standards and practices from which the implementation of the programme is based. The school is then evaluated 4 years after authorisation and every 5 years thereafter.

School year 2018 – 2019 marks MISJ Elementary’s 4th year as a PYP school therefore undergoing the task of being evaluated. In October 2018, we were visited by two distinguish ladies from the IBO but preparations began a year and a half earlier. All stakeholders – administration, teachers, parents, students, assistants and staff took part in getting the whole school ready for the evaluation. Curriculum and policy reviews took place. Portfolios were prepared. Stakeholders took part in a series of meetings, professional developments and coffee mornings to get everyone on board with the requirements of the visit.

The three-day visit went about smoothly. Everyone, from administration to students to staff, did their part in ensuring that the school was promoted and uplifted and that practices are seen to be in place. Upon receiving the evaluation report, we are proud to say that we have been commended by the IB on the school’s commitment in “supporting homeroom teachers to investigate and apply an inquiry pedagogy to their teaching and learning programme.” Teachers also received commendation in using a variety of tools and strategies that support students to reflect on their own learning.

There is still work to be done but for now, we borrow the words of one of the evaluators that “Today is a celebration of your journey.

Event Name: IB VISIT

Date: October 24 – 26, 2018

Person-in-charge: Ms Pat


Pat Manning

PYP Coordinator

Grade 1 Cares for Plants

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The transdisciplinary theme, ‘Sharing the Planet’, and the central idea, ‘Plants are a life sustaining resource for us’, made up a five-week unit in Term 2 for Year 1. It is an inquiry into                      

  • Taking responsibility to care for plants as they grow
  • Changes that occur through plant growth
  • Purposes and uses of the parts of a plant

How did we do our inquiry?

     See, think, wonder was used as an entry point for exploration and discussion in this topic. The children walked in the school’s gardens and considered such questions as: What are the parts of plants we can use? Their carefully considered observations were recorded to allow them to investigate further.

     In sorting out their observations, the students took responsibility to care for the plants. Together they shared their knowledge and asked: How can we care for plants as they grow?   We worked to expand the students’ vocabulary for plants and create a word bank. Using non-fiction texts, we explored how pictures and words work together to give us information.

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What was very effective?

The rich classroom environment was a wonderful catalyst for student questions and discussions. Through visuals around the room, students had a clearer picture of plant parts. This made the children very excited about planting and growing the plants.

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Field trips are rich in educational possibilities as students learn from actual hands-on experiences. The grade 1 students visited Godong Ijo. Godong Ijo is “one of the largest Nursery in Indonesia who successfully developed various types of ornamental plants.” ( Here, our students had the opportunity to plant in pots and test out their green thumbs.

Enhancing creative and critical thinking skills were practiced through reflection and giving tips on how to care for plants.

Giving students the opportunity to explore and engage themselves into their learning gives them a more enriching experience and appreciation for what they are learning. Our grade 1 students are now better equipped to care for plants and the environment.

By Divya Pokardas

Grade 1 Homeroom Teacher

Mentari Intercultural School Jakarta

Music and integration with other subjects

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Teaching music in a PYP school is a fun experience for the students and teachers. We are encouraged to integrate with other subjects. It takes process and learning for me to get the whole idea of it. As a music teacher, what I did was to teach songs which are related to the theme of the grades to the students. It’s easy now because you have YouTube, pinterest and other social media that has a lot of material for teaching the songs. At the same time, singing is also a fun way to learn something. It helps the students understand and memorize because it’s fun, it’s musical, and it rhymes.

As the time goes by I found that I can do more than just teach them the songs. I learned a lot from other teachers, books, common planning time or even just casual talk. We can also find a way to integrate through other things. The key concepts of the theme is one of the things that you can integrate because it’s the questions that you will ask when you learn a new concept. It can be applied to all the subjects.

Experience on integration.

I had a fun experience with the grade 3 students during “How the World Works” unit. During that unit they learned about materials. In music, I integrate by teaching them about timbre of the of the music instruments. Using the inquiry cycle, I asked the students to bring stuff from home that they think can produce sounds. So the music class turned into a workshop. They brought boxes, bottles and most of them mix the materials that they have to make a diy instruments. They learned that different materials that can produce different sounds.

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Performing the song using their materials

During the “How the World Works” unit with the grade 4 students they learned about systems. In my class, they learned how music is like a system through music notation. They learned how small parts work together for a bigger function, which is a lot like notes and rests are used in a music composition.

In PYP there are a lot of ways that music can be integrated into student inquiries. All you have to do is to be creative and open your mind with the idea that music is not only about singing. Asking around and attending collaborative meetings will help you to get ideas on how you can integrate. Always be curious about exciting learning activities that you can share to your students. Try to understand the unit as deeply as possible and don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they don’t seem to fit in at first. The PYP is a lot more fun when teachers are having fun, too.

Tamara Nilla

Music Teacher

Mentari School Jakarta

Tuning In to Fractions

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I think the biggest struggle of teaching Math in the PYP curriculum is veering away from the traditional classroom set up of being teacher-centered and worksheet-heavy. In our 6 years as a PYP school, innovating and adapting to a more student-centered practice has been a struggle but quite a challenge.

For the theme on HOW WE EXPRESS OURSELVES, although the unit on fractions does not directly connect with the central idea “Self-expressions celebrate individuality and bridge human differences”, we focused on the conceptual idea “Fractions may be expressed in different ways to show equivalence.”

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The unit opened with the word FRACTION written on the board. The students created a mind map by writing words or ideas that they know about fractions. Remember! No looking at your notes. After all ideas have been exhausted, the students will take 2-3 ideas from the mind map and write a meaningful sentence about fractions. They may write as much as three sentences using an assortment of ideas.

In groups, they share their sentences and pick two that they will present as a group. Naturally, tweaking and combining sentences is allowed. On strips of paper, they will write down their sentences and post them on the board. During a gallery walk, students may write down questions, corrections and additional information based on each sentence.


I use this exercise as a way of assessing prior knowledge as well as a spring board to teaching fractions.


Since some concepts are already clear with the students, only a brief review is necessary.


Simplifying fractions, getting a higher term, changing improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa, changing dissimilar fractions to similar fractions are all chunked under the concept of renaming fractions. Through a gradual unfolding of the different ways of renaming fractions, students develop an understanding that fractions may be written differently but they still represent the same thing. Going further, this understanding of equivalence has helped students work better with the four basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. mentari 2


Pat Manning

5th grade teacher and PYP Coordinator

Mentari Intercultural School Jakarta

Our Study of Numbers

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The students in Grade 3 showed how they construct their understanding of numbers, from different ways of representing number values, place values to using numbers to make patterns. The situations created for students helped them to make the necessary constructions. We have attempted to aim for more meaningful learning by veering away from too much repetitive number drills in class. Here are some sample works:

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Karen Chacon

Homeroom Teacher Grade 3

Mentari School Jakarta