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.

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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.

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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”

By:

Roch Hazel Olivia and Ferida Sari Hasaputri

Grade 1 Teachers

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug

rolivia@binus.edu; fhasaputri@binus.edu

THE BENEFITS OF READING

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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

dgodri@binus.edu

Constructing Meaning – the Literacy of Numeracy

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“It is important that that learners acquire mathematical understanding by constructing their own meaning…”

So how can children make sense of, and then competently use, the language of mathematics? This article looks at ambiguous language and operational language.

The following interaction between a teacher and student was recorded.

T: Can you calculate the volume of this box?                 S: um .. [pause] .. no [has a puzzled look]

T: Do you know what volume is?                                     S: Yes, it is a button on the remote.

One of the issues with constructing meaning of the language of mathematics is the use of everyday English terms that have different meanings in the mathematics classroom.

Here is a list of just some of the many words that have a different meaning in mathematics. These words are just some of the homographs: rational, mean, power, odd, face, property, common

 

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The operational language can also be confusing. In the early years ‘and ‘is used for operation of addition.  In later years the word ‘and’ is used in an operation for multiplication, e.g. ‘What’s the product of 5 and 4?’

When assessing a student’s ability to solve word problems in mathematics it is so important to consider not only the wording of the question but also the order of the questions.  Two consecutive questions, similar to these, appeared in a standardised test. The word ‘altogether’ is used for a different operation in each question.  What meanings have the students constructed of the words ‘and’ and ‘altogether’?

Question 12.

Budi puts cards into 4 equal piles.

Each pile has 20 cards.

How many cards does Budi have altogether?

Question 13.

Wati collected 68 cans.

Puti collected 109 cans.

How many cans did Wati and Puti collect altogether?

The construction of operational language is so important for problem solving. In some classrooms students can identify words in a problem, referring to displayed visual mathematical vocabulary.

Although language is heavily involved in constructing meaning in mathematics, the use of visual representations and manipulation of concrete materials all support communication and success in the mathematics classroom.  The literacy of numeracy is a challenge for all and an additional challenge if English is an additional language. Our role is to support students to construct meaning as part of the stages of learning mathematics.

Melinda Mawson-Ryan

ACG School Jakarta

Melinda.Mawson-Ryan@acgedu.com

Constructivist Learning Approach

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Constructivism is the term used when we build upon our prior knowledge using real world experiences. In schools, we use a constructivist approach to preparing students to solve problems and construct or refine new understandings (Budi Usodo, 2016).

Types of Constructivism

 

  • Psychological Constructivism

 

Personal psychological cognitive constructivism is often referred to as Piaget cognitive constuctivism. According to Piaget, cognitive structure of a person is due to the process of assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is the process of getting new experiences and information and immediately connected with the mental structure that is already owned by someone. Accommodation is the process of re-structuring of the mental structure as a result of new experiences and information. (Budi Usodo, 2016)
So according to Piaget, learning is not only receiving information and experience, but also re-structuring the new information and experiences.

Learning principles using Piaget’s constructivist theory are:

 

  • Meaning as internally constructed

 

In the process of constructing knowledge, information  is individually interpreted by learners in their own learning experiences.

 

  • Learning and teaching as negotiated construction of meaning

 

Construction of meaning is a negotiation process between individual learners with their experiences through an interaction in the learning process. Thus learners construct their knowledge based on their own individual past experiences.

 

  • Teaching is not just transferring knowledge from teachers to their learners, but is also an activity that allows learners to construct their own meaning and knowledge.

 

 

  • Teaching means a partnership with learners in constructing  meaning, looking for clarity, being critical and creating justifications.

 

 

  • Knowledge is structured and stored uniquely by each individual student.

 

 

  • When students link their past knowledge with new information (gained through their experiences), they develop their understanding of larger related concepts.

 

For example, in the mental structure of 4th graders, they have had knowledge of odd and even numbers. The students were given some numbers from 1 to 30. Then the students wrote factors of each number and perceived what patterns emerged.  Students understood  that most of the numbers (2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 and 19) only had two factors, and these were all odd numbers (except the number 2). Students were able to integrate this new understanding into their own cognitive structure and assimilation happened. New information about prime numbers caused some cognitive restructuring (accommodation) to take place because the number 2 did not fit the expected odd number pattern.

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  • Social Constructivism

 

Vygotsky believed that learning occurs when students handle tasks that they haven’t learned before, but these tasks are still within range of their abilities (zone of proximal development). This zone of proximal development is the area between the actual developmental level that a child is actually at developmentally and and the level of potential that the child can achieve.

Learning principles as the implications of Vygotsky socio-cultural constructivist theory are:

  1. Social interaction is important, better knowledge is constructed by involving other people.
  2. Human development occurs through cultural tools (language, symbols) that is transmitted from person to person.
  3. The zone of proximal development is the difference between what can be done alone (actual ability) and what can be done with the help from adults (potential capabilities).

For example, 4th grade students constructed their knowledge about what economic activity was. Teachers facilitated an activity to identify economic and  non-economic activities. Students worked in groups, cut images from old magazines and newspapers, identified each image as economic activity or non-economic activity and continued by classifying the images. When the students identified and classified the pictures, each image selection involved social interactions between students and also with the teachers. Each group discussed and constructed their understanding about what economic and non-economic activity was. The students shared their ideas. Teachers guided the students to construct their definitions of economic activity and non-economic activity. The similar activities were also applied when the students, facilitated by the teachers, constructed their knowledge about the differences between goods and services; and also the difference between needs and wants.

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Teaching methods in constructivist approach

The learning method that can be applied using constructivism learning is inquiry method. Learning using inquiry method is an essential way for students to construct their own meaning and gained new knowledge.

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Firdausi Nuzula, Associate PYP Coordinator and Grade 4  Homeroom Teacher

Sekolah Buin Batu, Sumbawa Barat, NTB

firdausi.nuzula@sekolahbuinbatu.sch.id

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:

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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

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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

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  •   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.

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By: Camelia Tjandra and Jose Noel Veloso

Grade 1 Teachers

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug

ctjandra@binus.edu; jveloso@binus.edu

Year 1 Travel Fair

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As a culmination activity for Unit 4 under the transdisciplinary theme ‘Where We Are in Place and Time’, the Year 1 students enthusiastically conducted a Travel Fair on Thursday 16th March 2017. They showed responsibility, creativity and confidence as travel agents, sharing their knowledge of a chosen country or city.  Prior to the event, the students had created research questions, collected the research from various sources and chose how they would like to present their findings.   The students did such a good job, the visitors are now ready to book their next holiday destinations!

FINITE RESOURCES AND HOW HUMANS ACT OVER THEM

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The 4th graders of Sekolah Pilar Indonesia have been exploring their first unit of inquiry under the theme, ‘Sharing the Planet’. The students have been examining the following central idea; the need for finite resources is a factor in relationships between humans and the natural environment, through the key concepts of perspective, causation, and responsibility. They have also worked hard to develop their learner profile attributes.

During their exploration on this unit, the teacher provided students with a variety of learning opportunities, including watching ‘Deep Water Horizon”, reading articles by using the jigsaw strategy, and inviting a parent, who is a geologist of a geothermal company, as a guest speaker. During the sharing session, the students showed their curiosity by formulating questions. Below are some of the questions the students came up with.

  • Are there any differences between planning mining sites on land and in the ocean?
  • Do power plants built near the mining site produce pollution for the surrounding environment?
  • Is geothermal energy dangerous for humans?

From these experiences students were able to describe the process of mining oil in the ocean and the impact of big explosions on a mining site when the proper procedures are implemented. They also were able to identify what tools were used to mine oil in the ocean from watching the movie. The jigsaw strategy was used in the finding out and sorting out phases to explore the second and third lines of inquiry. The teacher provided four different articles about conflicts that have arisen between humans and wildlife or nature over finite resources. The students were asked to read the articles and share the information in groups. After they discussed the article in their group, the students were re-grouped randomly. In their new group the students shared the information from the article they had read. Through this activity, the students were able to understand that conflicts will always arise between humans and other living things, in this case with the wildlife and nature, to fulfill human’s daily needs. As a result of this exploration students were also able to explain how wildlife obtain their needs from nature, for example nature provides animals with a home and place to find food. From the articles, the students learned how to preserve nature and endangered animals not only in Indonesia, but also in different parts of the world.

Desy Ermawati

desy.erma@pilar.sch.id

Grade 4 Teacher Sekolah Pilar Indonesia