On Wednesday, February 28th the first Kindergarten and Reception Parent Reading Workshop was held. Parents participated in a discussion about the Kindergarten and Reception reading programmes and how they can become reading partners who help foster reading skills and a love of reading at home.
Learning to read is a skill that must be mastered; to teach and support this skill requires
patience and techniques that must also be learned. As such, this workshop was brought about by parent interest and was designed to help deepen parent understanding of the reading programme for early ages, as well as how to help children of varying abilities with their nightly reading.
The workshop also included a visit to the Library where Pak Ahmad shared information about how to access the Library’s online catalogue, then concluded with Kindergarten parents reading to their children and Reception parents listening to their child read to them. This gave the parents an opportunity to practice some of the techniques they had learned with the comfort of knowing that the teachers were there to answer questions or to give examples of how to help children learn to read.
It was a successful morning for all!
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”- Plato
The Central Idea is a channel through which students embark on an investigation to explore the world around them. It is the springboard which inspires self-directed inquiry throughout the unit. Through unpacking the Central Idea, teachers can offer a pathway for students to build upon independent thought and form the basis for autonomous action.
During Week 1 of the unit, ‘Where We are in Place and Time’, Year 3 teachers created an environment where students were actively involved in the moment by moment intellective breakdown of the Central Idea. Students interdependently demonstrated authentic connections between the Central Idea and the concepts exploration and discovery through the visible thinking process. Once their collaborative thinking engines were firing, it was easy for them to self-direct their personal inquiry and exploration.
by Ibu Anna Cottrell
Year 3 A students working on making relevant connections between the Central Idea, Key Concepts and Transdisciplinary Theme. Students later added guiding questions to kick start their personal inquiry in the unit.
By: Yuyun Tri Yuniarti and Saulus (Grade 4 classroom teachers)
Grade Four students of Sekolah Tunas Bangsa learned transdisciplinary theme of how the world works. The central idea was energy may be converted from one form to another and stored in various ways. Through the key concepts of form, change and responsibility, the students learned that energy comes in different forms, cannot be created or destroyed. They explored that transformation of energy occurs in our daily life. Furthermore, they explored about the renewable sources of energy. It led them to understand that conserving energy needs to be done in order to have enough sources of energy in the future for us. As the result of learning, they took action to take responsibility in conserving the energy.
Through the pre-assessment task on drawing anything related to energy, the students drew something that needed energy to work whether it was a tool or an activity. In their formative assessment, they were asked to draw pictures which represented certain form of energy. They also identified things/equipments around them that showed the energy transformation. For their summative assessment, in pairs, they were asked to construct a model/toy by using everyday materials, such as plastic bottle and cup, straw, cardboard box, etc.. Through that model/toy they were expected to be able to explain what energy form was needed so that it can work properly and what energy transformation occurred on their model/toy. They also needed to be innovatie and creative in designing their tools. The students were so engaged because they chose to design something based on their interests.
“You’re my best friend, just like a family. We keep best moments in our mind. We remember every time with you”.
That’s a part of the song that one of Grade 5 students composed with her group in music class, as their interest for the mini exhibition project. This year, Grade 5 students chose to do a mini exhibition, as a form of Parent Presentation. They took the unit of art under the theme of How We Express Ourselves.
The central idea is “Creating and responding to art develops understanding of ourselves and the world around us”. This time, they made their lines of inquiry from their questions. Despite of challenging found in this stage, the fifth graders showed their enthusiasm by being more selective in forming the lines of the inquiry. Moreover, as they worked in pairs to do the project, the challenges seemed more interesting for them.
Other challenges were to find the information explaining their lines of inquiry, but they have tried to research using different media, such as books, the internet, as well as interviewing people at school and at home.The artwork that they explored were music, drawing, graffiti, mixed media, crafting, etc. Single Subject Teachers, such as art, music, IT, were involved to help students in guiding them during the process of collecting information and to consult on their project.
The fifth graders have learned lots of things during the process; how to learn with others, to share responsibilities, to create their own artwork, and to present the information in front of audiences. Their hard work was seen from the beginning of the project up to the D- day.
This event successfully held on Friday, 26th January. The students enthusiasticallypresented their creation such as performing their own song “Best Friends” and “The Special One”. Positive response and support from their parents and school community were seen during the exhibition. This activity will help them picturing what exhibition looks like next year.
Under the theme “How We Organize Ourselves” Grade 1 students had the opportunity to learn about the journey of food production. To find out about our prior knowledge, we worked in pairs and observed different types of food and drinks using a Mini Market activity. After having the observation, we chose one type of food or drink, discussed with our partners and presented our findings about the origins of food. The most interesting part was that some of us had an argument about the origins of potato chips, milk, and cheese.
Our friends had an opinion that the origin of potato chips is that the worker has to cut the potatoes really thin before they fry them. Others said that the origin of potato chips is from flour. The workers need to put the dough into the mold and make it really thin. After they fry the dough, they give potato flavour to make it taste like potato.
All of us agree that milk can come from animals or plants. But one of the groups that choose “milk” said that strawberry milk comes from the cow that eat strawberries, chocolate milk comes from the cow that eat chocolate bars, and vanilla milk comes from the cow that eat grass. Some other groups still didn’t have any prior knowledge about milk production.
We also know that the origin of cheese is from milk. At first, we thought that if cheese comes from milk, it means we only need to put the milk in the freezer to make it solid like cheese. Do you think our thinking is right? Scroll and read carefully our article!
After the mini market activity presentation, our teachers give us a catalogue of products then we have to categorize them based on the origins of the products (animal or plant) in pairs using T-chart. We still had confusion about the origins of food, whether from plants or animals.
Our next activity were watching videos of “How Is Rice Made. Food Facts for Kids. Inside the Farm with Kids”, “Remarkable Rice. How Does Rice Grow”, “Growing Rice in Indonesia”, and “Growing Rice in Jiuxiancun, China”. From the videos, now we know that Indonesia and China have the same processes to grow rice. After having discussions about the origins and the processes of rice production, our teachers divided us into 4 groups to make a flow chart about the processes of rice production. We made the flow charts using Paint application, session in ICT lesson.
Next, we had a storytelling session from the book “See Inside Where Food Comes From” by Emily Bone. It is very interesting that milk comes not only from cows, but also from other animals, such as goat, camel and horse! We also read “Learn about Food” by Brimax and watched a video of “How Orange Juice Is Made” to learn that orange come from seeds. After we read the stories and watched the movie, we made a flow chart by drawing the origins of food and the processes by ourselves.
Next experiment was our favourite! We put two cartons of milk, chocolate and vanilla in our school freezer and waited until the next day to prove to our teachers that our thinking was right. After two days, we took the milk from the freezer and opened it in our classroom. From the colours, we saw that the colours were different from the colour of the cheese that we saw every day. Our friend said that maybe the worker put food colouring so the cheese can change the colour into yellow. But after we taste it, it taste like ICE CREAM! IT’S NOT CHEESE! From the experiment, we realize that it was not how to produce our cheese.
From our flow chart, we made a book about food production. We could choose from milk production, juice production or rice production. In our book you can see our drawings and sentences about food production and the key roles people play in food production.
For our summative assessment task, we had a role play. First, we chose the topic (milk production, rice production or juice production). Second, we discussed with our group about the characters and who would play them. After we knew our characters, we wrote the story with our group. We practised and we made our own props.
Let’s appreciate our food and be thankful for our daily meal because the processes of food production spend a lot of time and energy!
Grade 1 students and teachers
Central Idea: Equal access to the earth’s finite resources provides challenges for the global community.
Key Concepts: function, connection, responsibility
Related Concepts: finite resources, distribution, access, equity, conflict resolution
Lines of Inquiry:
- Finite and infinite natural resources
- The distribution of natural resources
- Challenges to have equitable access to natural resources
As the tuning in activity, students were given some pictures of different objects, such as wood, sunlight, car, drawer, cotton, shirt, coal, burger, house, crown, windmill, refinery, grain, ocean, and the electricity tower. They worked in group to classify those objects into two classifications. Some groups came up with common and uncommon things, then some classified them as nature-made and man-made. This activity held to show their prior knowledge about natural resources. Therefore, they could identify things that are natural or come from nature and those that are produced by man.
After that, students showed their understanding about what natural resources are by using Frayer Model. Next, students worked in pairs to sort out objects; found out its raw material, analyzed the object, made criteria about finite and infinite, then finally defined finite and infinite. The objects are spoon, drink can, plastic, paper, cake, cloth, and glass. They did research to answer those questions.
We provided some articles to be read at home by the students, entitled “Everything Comes From The Earth” and “Natural Resouces”. They also needed to fill in the vocabulary list given. As the first line of inquiry assessment, students worked on a T-chart about finite and infinite natural resources. They needed to write the definitian as well as the examples.
For the second line of inquiry; the distribution of natural resources, we supported the materials with an e-book called “I Need to Know: An Introduction To The Oil Industry & OPEC”. We focused this inquiry on oil as the finite resources. Students learned what crude oil is, what petroleum is, how oil is formed, why oil is important, and how to find oil (upstream) as well as refine oil (downstream). Beside reading the e-book, students need to respond to the passage by filling in several visible thinking tools as follow:
They also learned about the distribution of natural resources in Indonesia. First, they are divided into 5 groups to find out about well-known places that produce natural resources in Indonesia, such as Sumatera, Jawa, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua. Then, they traced the island in A3 paper and did research about what kind of natural resources found in those five islands, specifically in what city or area it is.
We also invited experts who helped us to teach students deeper about oil, especially about the distribution process of oil or petroleum, starting from the exploration process up to delivery process to the gas stations. The experts are Bapak Mega Nainggolan from PT Energi Mega Persada Tbk. (“EMP”), an independent upstream oil and gas company headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia and Mr. Mike Irvine, one of our school parents who works for an oil company.
Students needed to organize the information they got from the experts by filling in the visible thinking tools provided by teachers.
We went for an excursion, too. It was actually the library lesson program. Ibu Any, our teacher librarian, has focused on water as the natural resources learned. She took students to water filtration office in Kemang Pratama, Bekasi. The purpose of this visit is for finding out about clean water processing in Kemang Pratama area.
For the last line inquiry of this unit; challenges to have equitable access to natural resources, we brainstormed what challenges can be found in oil distributing process. Students analyzed the process in distributing natural resource (oil) – big picture; used post it to share what might happen within the process; discussed the challenges in distributing the oil to citizens; suggested how to minimize the challenges. Its challenges according to the students are, for example, infrastructure, signal, weather, license, local experts, accident, explosion, and technology.
After they shared their ideas about challenges in oil distribution process, we connected the lesson to IB Learner Profile focus for this unit, which are Principled and Caring. By looking at the numbers of post it stuck on the poster, students were aware that there are so many challenges in oil distribution process, so they thought of how they can apply our learner profile to minimize the challenges. Some said that as a principled person, we need to use petroleum or water wisely since they are finite resources. Moreover, we need to follow the rules or procedure when we are in the gas station to show that we are caring.
As the Summative Assessment or final project, students needed to show their understanding about natural resources’ distribution process, challenges of the distribution process, and suggestions to minimize the challenges by creating a PPT to explain them all. First, they needed to choose one finite resource, thought of its usage for life, its distribution process, challenges of the process, and suggestions to minimize the challenges then present them in a PPT. Most students chose oil to be presented since we learned more about oil than other resources. Some explained about gold, coal, and water.
For English lesson, our beloved English teacher, Mr.Swart, taught the students how to create an advertisement. As the tuning in activity, he asked them to create an advertisement about a floating hotel by using their own words or ideas. As the final assessment and connecting to our unit of inquiry, he asked students to do research about Indonesian Natural Resources and create an advertisement to promote Indonesian Natural Resources.
Author: Audrey Liana Tamba
(Grade 4 Homeroom Teacher, Sekolah Victory Plus)
The PYP enhancements are continuing to roll out these next few months, all of which have helped me stop and think about my students, my classroom, and my school. But one change in particular has had me reflect and question my role as a teacher; that change is the inclusion of the new PYP Learner model, and how our students will grow through their sense of agency.
In the new document “The Learner in the Enhanced PYP,” the IB defines agency as a power to take responsible action, through voice, choice, and ownership. But what is agency? Agency is not something we give students. And it’s not something we as teachers plan for third period on a Thursday, or the last week of a Unit of Inquiry. It’s an innate characteristic that students already have, and we as educators recognize, celebrate, and honor. Awakening agency is recognizing students as leaders in their own learning processes. According to the IB, “agency is present when students partner with teachers and members of the learning community to take charge of what, where, why, with whom and when they learn.”
Okay, but what does that actually look like? How do we as educators actually honor student agency? How can we change our practice to support students and empower their sense of individual voice, choice, and ownership? To start, I began taking a risk in my classroom, and handed over the reins to my students.
Our current Unit of Inquiry fits under the transdisciplinary theme of How the World Works, with the following central idea: life on Earth is dependent on Earth’s position in the solar system. After a trip to a local museum and a little bit of research, students showed interest in the Moon and space travel. Normally, at this point in planning an inquiry, I would use the key concepts, lines of inquiry, and student questions to plan learning engagements. But trying to honor their sense of agency, I did something a little different. I gave the concepts and lines of inquiry to the students, and let them plan our week.
I gave students teacher resource books, and showed them Teachers Pay Teachers. I showed them different tools we have at school. I even let them plan a shopping list (with the understanding that they stick to a strict budget). The only expectations were that they had to choose activities that answered their research questions and helped them deepen their understanding of form, connection, and function through the LOI Earth’s relative position in the solar system. And off they went.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Katie, are you insane?! These students are too young! How do you know they get the “right” knowledge, build the “right” skills, etc.? Well, these were the questions I was thinking about… But guess what? They took their time, and chose several activities that were better than my original thoughts. They critically compared different engagements, discussing which would help them better understand the CI. One student found a coloring activity, and said “this looks fun and cute, but I don’t think we will learn much from it.” And she chose something else. After they planned and led their chosen engagements, students reflected on their evidence of success. Here are some examples:
I know that this is only a step in honoring student agency, and no, not every activity went as well the ones listed above. And if I’m being honest, the health food advocate in me is still a little upset that I bought Oreos for my students! But instilling this sense of responsible action is worth a few bumps in the road. It’s worth the uneasy feeling that I’m completely letting go. It’s worth throwing my whole planning process up in the air, and trying something new – even if it completely fails. Why? Well, it’s not because the IB says we “have to” now. It’s because by co-constructing our investigations, we are naturally personalizing education, and cultivating independence, trust, and a love of learning.
So I encourage you all to take a deep breath and try. Give your students a chance to plan a week, a day, or even an afternoon. Give them the outcomes, and see what they come up with. And if it blows up in your face, try again. If education is about bettering our students, then they should have the right to be a part of the planning and decision-making. As PYP educator Taryn Bond states, “who better to know what learning is personally relevant than the students themselves?”
by Katie Stone
Grade 3 Teacher
Bandung Independent School
Sources: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2017. “The Learner in the Enhanced PYP.”