I have been fortunate to have been involved in developing, managing and improving the assessment system in my school. During that time, I have seen and still see some misconceptions about assessment in the PYP, especially in terms of what is formative assessment and how student portfolios can be used as a tool for formative assessment. Based on the IB PYP definition, formative assessment should be interwoven within the teaching learning process and aim to improve planning for the next stage of learning; however many teachers still misunderstand this purpose. Rather than use student portfolios as part of formative assessment or a documentation of the students’ learning process, many teachers still use portfolios as a showcase for best learning products rather than as a documentation of learning process.
At the moment, we are working towards improving our formative assessment practices and we have adopted a single online platform for use across the school to support our learning in the area of formative assessment. We are currently is using Seesaw as a platform for students’ learning journal or portfolio. Based on my experience, I would like to propose some reasons why Seesaw (or any other online portfolio platform) is a great way to document learning and help to improve our formative assessment practices:
When using seesaw, teachers and students will be encouraged to focus more on the process of learning. We can post students’ learning journey any time instead of only posting the final result of learning. Teachers do not need to wait until the end of the unit to upload the students final product which is usually a summative product. Whether it’s a evidence of best work or evidence toward achieving goals or even a product that was particularly challenging for a student, posting it will inform parents and students about students’ progress.
The documentation is done when learning is happening and when students are actually showing their understanding. Authentic assessment become easier because this online platform provides tools for capturing the learning process and current thinking as it is happening.
3. Instant feedback
Feedback is really important to support students’ learning. By using Seesaw, feedback can be given by peers, teachers and parents directly to the student at anytime, using the Seesaw app. Feedback is the soul of formative assessment and this benefits not only to students’ learning but also give valuable information to all parties involved in the learning process.
4. Multimedia and technology
It supports 21st century learning skills. Learning can be documented in various formats: photos, videos, drawings and voice notes. Using the app, teachers and parents are able to give feedback not only using text, but also voice notes.
5. Safe and reliable
Formative assessment and feedback should be private for each student. The learning journey documentation is also kept secure within the school community. It is also fast and reliable which makes formative assessment more effective and efficient.
This article is not an advertisement for a certain online portfolio provider (in this case: Seesaw), but it is a sharing of knowledge and insight that might be helpful to those who have not tried to step into the 21st century world of education. An online portfolio platform is just a tool that helps us to improve the assessment system, but whatever tool that we use, the most important thing is still our understanding of assessment itself. It is important for our PYP beliefs or philosophy of assessment to be reflected in our practice.
STUCO stands for Students’ Council in Sekolah Ciputra. This is a group of students who’s willing to organize children’s action within the school. Their motto is “from students, by students and for students.” In this organisation, students learn how to organise school events by collecting students’ ideas, planning and facilitating the events, and dedicating the events to all students in the school. There are some teacher advisers who guide them in organising these events. By being the STUCO officers, students are learning and applying their leadership skills in organization, communication and teamwork to make the events successful.
As a student organisation, STUCO has an official structure. There’s a President who leads along with a Vice President. accompanied by more than 20 students as STUCO members or officers. They are a group of PYP 4, 5 and 6 students who organize activities and initiatives for their fellow students. Student Council is run by students for students to students. It is also responsible for providing a variety of services to students. Students can get involved in its management through committees, councils and general meetings, or become one of its elected officers.
The Vision of STUCO
Student Council has an open-door admission policy and is committed to the cultural growth of each student regardless of race, color, gender, disability, religion, national origin and age. It strives to promote development and learning through a wide variety of educational programs.
The Mission of STUCO
To provide students an opportunity to promote positive school initiatives in order to strengthen their leadership skills by initiating, promoting and supporting school events.
The Purposes of STUCO
- Develop within individuals a sense of responsibility in order to model appropriate behaviors reflecting the PYP profile and attitudes.
- Represent students’ feelings, opinions and interests
- Give students a share in decision making
- Help develop potential leaders by giving them leadership opportunities
- Encourage students to promote and develop school activities
“LEARNING IS MORE WHEN ONE DOES MORE, SEIZES THE DAY AND MAKES A DIFFERENCE”
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way (John C. Maxwell). Do our students understand the definition of Leadership? For them, it’s hard to define what is the meaning of leadership. When we come to it, maybe leadership is part of everyone. It can be our brother or sister, our friend, our parents, or even our teacher. And yes, even a student can be a leader! They will never know they are capable of leading until someone puts them in a leadership position, teaches them how to get things done, and brings a team along with them.
These are some reasons why leadership is important for our students:
- Focus. Our students have lots of chances to do many things in their lives. They may do homeworks spend time with friends, have hobbies, or just hang around. Leadership skills will allow them to focus on what’s important. By joining STUCO they will manage their time as there will be lots of things to be done. They will know what needs to happen to make everything done.
- Courage/Risk taking. As a student the scariest thing is starting something new. Leadership skills will give students a dose of courage. They have to make decisions as they were elected as the ones who have to decide. In STUCO students will teach each other how to make decisions through team exercises. Be courageous. Start a movement.
- Planning. Joining STUCO means students are prepared for planning and facilitating events throughout the entire academic year. They will learn how to plan the program, delegate tasks, and bring everyone together for a successful event.
- Action. Taking action is the mark of a leader. Students who know what they are looking for, know what needs to be done and simply get on with doing it are the real leaders. They will inspire other students to find out their potential and it’s the way students help each other.
- Teamwork. As an organisation, STUCO has the answer on how to teach students how to work as a team. They will try to figure out a problem. Good teamwork comes from having amazing leadership skills, especially when it comes from students.
To make sure that the school accommodates this important learning experience, to prepare the future leaders among our students we have established the STUCO Elections Commission to prepare for the elections. This forum comprises class representatives who organize the process. STUCO Elections ran smoothly this year. The process started in August 7th 2017. They’ve worked cooperatively and enthusiastically to select, to organize the election and to present the elected President and Vice President to the school community. There were five pairs of candidates who ran for President and Vice President this school year. After the first round of interviews, three pairs of candidates went to the final round. They are:
- Azzizul Hakim & Shun Sato
- Venezia Ferrari Hartono & Regina Felicia Hadiputri
- Angelo Humphrey Lienardi & Aditya Raju Rajan
On August 23rd 2017, after the second round of interviews, a few days of campaigning and a final vote, STUCO Commissioners proudly announced that Azzizul Hakim & Shun Sato are the elected STUCO President and Vice President this academic year. Congratulations Azzizul and Shun Sato ! We’re looking forward to the leadership’s action you will bring to enrich our learning environment this school year.
By Carolina Seran, Mas Roro Anggraeni, Budi Wantoro, Catherina Laura
Using digital portfolios
The PYP teachers at Sekolah Ciputra have been using various versions of digital portfolios since 2009. Teachers have experimented with different platforms and various formats, trying to find the perfect one. However the old fashioned digital portfolio was considered less effective for the teachers, students and parents because the portfolio was actually not as interactive as we wanted it to be. Teachers and students had tons of photos and evidence to be scanned or uploaded but with no effective way of organizing and sharing them, there were possibilities of missing files and other complicated issues to deal with. After a while, the pre-elementary teachers decided to go with hard copies of portfolios which meant a lot of copying, printing and manual verifying of items.
Last year, as a learning community at Sekolah Ciputra we reflected on whether we could find a single tool that would allow all year levels from Playgroup to PYP 6 to upload samples of student work with descriptors and feedback to share with parents. What we wanted with an interactive tool that was user-friendly, one we could link to our focus on formative assessment and share with parents for information and for their input. The main function of the platform needed to be for the teachers and students to share documents related to all aspects of student learning and maintain the confidentiality of student work. After some trials and discussion, we finally decided to use Seesaw as the platform for our digital portfolios. Since it works very much like Instagram, it was felt that teachers, parents and students would find it easy to use.
Tools and features used
Seesaw can be used with computers, tablets, or smartphones but from our experience, tablets are most effective devices for using Seesaw. Seesaw has many simple features, likes Photo, Video, Drawing, and Notes to show students’ daily learning. Once we capture student work on the tablet, we can directly upload it to Seesaw. Using the camera and other cool features of Seesaw, student learning can be captured in real time with students explaining what they have learned. These are only some of the many handy features that Seesaw offers.
Developing IT skills
Teachers also get the opportunity to improve their IT skills when using digital portfolio. We had Professional Development among the colleagues (based on the year level) to learn how to use digital portfolios. We explored the tools available in Seesaw and decided how to best use them with different year levels For those who wanted extra time to explore, they viewed various tutorials that are offered in Seesaw.
Teachers are using Seesaw for setting up students’ goals as a preparation for three-way conference with parents and students. Besides the benefits, there are some challenges that teachers may encounter in using Seesaw. Firstly, teachers need to learn new skills as they have to explore the features in Seesaw considering it’s our first time as a school using digital portfolios to set up students’ goals. Furthermore ,we also have to maintain consistency in uploading samples of students’ progress and their learning experiences in their digital portfolio. During the period of learning this can be very time consuming. Finally within Seesaw, there is a minimum length or duration of recorded video that can be uploaded which means extra time for editing and perfecting what we upload.\
All in all, despite the challenges, we believe it is a good idea for us to use a single tool across the school so we can be consistent and we can support each other. .
PYP B Team (Mirna, Eka, Denok, Santy, Vine, Didik, Lina and Hana)
Pre-Elementary, Sekolah Ciputra, Surabaya
At the beginning of new school year, PYP 2 are learning about healthy lifestyles under the Transdisciplinary Theme “Who We are”. They are exploring how the choices we make effect our health. We are focusing on the 3 main elements of health (Physical, mental and social). A part of our provocation activities were designed to allow the students to experience social health.
They started by getting to know their new friends and working collaboratively in a series of games. Students built a tower using straws and another with their shoes. This activity required time to share and accept ideas and requires cooperation and collaboration to deliver an effective design. The other game was a moving island. Students were grouped and needed to stay on a single piece of newspaper. They need to cooperate when moving the island (the newspaper) so that all people in the group could remain safe.
How the students work in team and what they were able to achieve together served as a good lead into the social health element. They could reflect on what it means to be part of a group and also where they fit in.
In the next part of their learning journey, they will build on these social health connections that have been made in the beginning of the school year.
Yulita – Year 2 Team Leader
We value reading time the most at Sekolah Ciputra. We read aloud daily to our students. However, this could be challenging for PG B students, especially during the first weeks of school when they are adjusting to their new classes. Only a few of them listened intently to the stories when we read aloud for the first time. In spite of this, we kept reading them a book every day. To grow the love of reading in our class, we picked a book that was based on students’ interests. We noticed that our students were mainly interested in stories that involved animals. Our choice went to We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
When we read the book for the first time, we recognized that more students paid attention to the story and were willing to listen. After reading the book, we watched the movie version. The movie was such a hit among the students. They asked us to watch it during their snack time. We kept reading and re-reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt for a week during our reading aloud time so that the students could fully understand the story. Our next step was to make a picture sequence of the story and did one-on-one interviews with the student to gauge their understandings. This was also one of our ways to develop their communication and thinking skills.
In our third week of school, we noticed that more and more students were willing to visit our reading centre to read. Reading is also a very good opportunity to teach them about caring for books. We modeled for them how to open pages gently and we told them we had to do it so that we can read our book the next day. Everyday after reading aloud, we ask “who wants to help to take the book back to the shelf?” and each time we hear a lot of voices wanting to help put the book back. What a very fun way to learn to take care of our class library and to foster a love of reading!
Yulinar – PYP PG B Team Leader
School to School is an annual event hosted by Sekolah Ciputra and dedicated to educators who are willing to learn and share their professional learning with colleagues across East Java. This year, it was held on February 25th. Ms. Hestya and I took led a workshop about math misconceptions in the primary years. This area intrigues me, as I believe all Math concepts can be investigated and explained in a simple way and we don’t need to say “this is the procedure, formula, or theory that you need to remember” to our students, which is the way I was taught. If our students understand how math works, rather than memorize formulas, they will love it.
We started the activity by giving a pretest to the workshop participants to identify misconceptions they had. It was surprising to me that no one answered all the questions correctly. Then we followed up with an activity designed to accommodate the needs of the participants and to refine their misconceptions. We discussed and investigated the following topics:
(1) What is a concept, a conception and a misconception?
(2) What forms of misconceptions occur in primary school?
(3) How do teachers respond to student misconceptions?
(4) What techniques are there to eliminate misconceptions?
To refine the participants’ understanding of Math concepts we did a gallery walk. One important thing that we shared is how Math pre-conceptions leads to further misconception. One example is:
- Students get confused with the alligator/Pacman analogy. Is the bigger value eating the smaller one? Is it the value already eaten or about to be eaten? Do I add what it has eaten?
- In helping students make sense of subtraction they are told to always take the smaller number away from the larger number.
4 – 8 = ?
From this workshop, I have learned that effective teachers understand that mistakes and confusion provide powerful learning opportunities. I believe the quote below reminds us that misconceptions hinders inquiry.
“The worst thing about mnemonics is not that they almost always fall apart, they don’t encourage understanding, and never justify anything; it’s that they kill curiosity and creativity – two important character traits that too many math teachers out there disregard.” -Andy Martinson
PYP 6 Teacher and Year Level Coordinator
The 100th day of school celebration on Wednesday, 18th January, 2017 was a great experience for PYP 1 students. Parent, students and teachers worked collaboratively on many events. Parents and students designed individual 100th day t-shirt using materials from home and all students wore it on the day. Not only the students, but teachers also supported this event by creating examples of 100 objects and decorating school T-shirt. Living and nonliving things was the topic because it was related to the unit of How The World Works. Students participated in different activities related to the unit which was interesting since they could explore their knowledge and creativity. Making a 100th day of school hat was a favourite activity because they created a different look and unique hats. They practised their fine motor skill by choosing different accessories and decoration for their hats. In language, they read 100 words in English and counted 100 books in each class library. They arranged books from the tallest to the shortest book and made comparisons using appropriate language. The students also created a Bahasa Indonesia dictionary which consists of 100 words with pictures and sample of simple sentences. Drawing 100 living things and 100 non living things gave a chance for students to demonstrate their learning visually. The 100th day of school is one of the significant events which involves all students and the school community.
PYP 1 teacher/ coordinator
Sekolah Ciputra Surabaya