Solving Problems The United Nations Ways

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Another school year is about to end.  As an IB teacher, it is a necessary to look back on the school year that was and reflect on the best, as well as the most challenging practices that you and your kids went through.  It may not always seem like it, yet I believe that the most challenging tasks make the most effective learning experiences.  I am honoured to have been given this privilege of sharing a glimpse of one of my most rewarding and productive performance tasks in Year 5 this year.  

Unit 5 embraces the transdisciplinary theme, “Sharing the planet,” with the central idea: People can establish practices in order to sustain and maintain the Earth’s resources and with the following lines of inquiry: (a) the limited nature of the Earth’s resources, (b) personal choices that can help to sustain the environment, (c) reusing and recycling different materials, and (d) reducing waste.  Planning and preparations are the most taxing part of teaching in an IB school.  PYP planning and preparation have this trick of making you begin thinking of an end in your mind.  Yes, from the scope and sequence, I had to plan for a summative assessment involving knowledge, skills and attitudes that I would like my students to learn and achieve, which should also be anchored to the writing genre of that unit.  And since it is not only for my personal stand- alone planning, it has demanded a collaborative effort among the other teachers in the team.  As a result, ICT, Maths and UoI have been been supporting our English performance task assessment.

Persuasive writing is not very popular among students.  For one, they are required to present them orally, after writing it. Having these particular students 2 years in a row gave me the opportunity to get to know them well and see what more they can do to let them push themselves beyond their limits.  I know it will be a big challenge, but it is going to be worth it.

I still remember the day when I first broke the news to them that they are going to engage themselves in a MUNA simulation as their Unit 5’s performance task.  Blank faces. Clueless stares. Unending reactions of ha? I can still vividly remember the expressions from the faces of every student in my class that day. The reaction didn’t change even after I explained what it was about.  Reactions only changed  days after we started planning and preparing for it.   

MUNA simulation is a simulation of the United Nations Assembly in solving various world problems. Since the unit is about sustaining an maintaining Earth’s resources, I assigned everyone in a group and every group to a country.  Their task was to research for at least 3 of their country’s natural resources problems.  From those 3, they had to come up with just 1.  And from that, as a group, they had to think about possible and effective solutions to solve it. And then, they will have to present this in a simulation of a United Nations Forum, following the rules and procedures of the United Nations assembly in solving world issues.  In addition to that, during the simulation, they had to convince the delegates from other countries to support their resolutions.  So, they had to answer the questions that would be thrown to them, and be able to defend their position when being questioned.  From that day on, a shift in the way they dealt with the task had changed. And the rest was history.

On the day of the MUNA simulation, everyone looked so professional. They got the feeling of being a real UN delegate. They were wearing formal attire, and holding folders of everything that they had researched and discussed about during the process.  The rules and procedures were followed religiously.  Everyone got the chance to deliver a speech.  Every group got the chance to shine, by being prepared with their questions and their answers for other countries’ clarification and motions. Everything was mostly based on researched facts and collaborative decision. The exchange of thoughts and ideas was spontaneous and professionally handled by every delegate.  

This activity only proves that you can not underestimate children.  You may think that they are still very young to deal with global issues. But if you equip them with meaningful knowledge and the right skills, and prepared them accordingly, they can do wonders.  And oh, yes, there were some glitches along the way.  There were groups who would blame each other and think that they wouldn’t be able to make it, collaboration concerns, personal differences issues.  But we should remember that everything about it, including the glitches and crashes, were parts of the learning experience.  And yes, most of the time, they are the most valuable ones.  

Here are some examples of the students reflection:


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!

Year 6 – Exhibition: An International Perspective

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As part of the Global Jaya School Year 6 PYP Exhibition, our students had the opportunity to connect with other schools around the world to discuss the progress, implementation and reflection of their experiences.

Over the course of the two-day event, students held video Skype calls with schools in New Zealand, Indonesia, Germany and Norway. They had the chance to share their thoughts about their exhibition experiences and ask questions of each other to gain a deeper mutual understanding of similarities and differences between how people from around the globe engage in the PYP exhibition.

Student Experience:

Renatta, Dhira and I Skyped with a school from New Zealand and we became their tour guides. We took them on a tour around the theater foyer to see all of our booths. We stopped at our booths and explained our issue, solution, and other things on our display. They asked us questions and we answered them. It was a really fun experience. I was very lucky to have the chance to be able to call schools from other countries.


I was very lucky to be able to call schools from other countries/places. My favourite calls were with the New Zealand and Norway schools because they made us laugh. We were also able to give them a tour of the theatre foyer, and allow them to interview other students. They asked great questions, and made Kiara, Dhira and I laugh.


It was like talking to us in the past when we Skyped with IB schools in Germany and Norway because they are just starting their exhibition process and we were just done. It was helpful for them to get tips and answers from us because we are finished with exhibition and we have experienced all the work.


International Teacher Comments:

My students really enjoyed the presentation. Dhira was great! We are going to have our exhibition next month. I’m thinking we could probably have a Skype session during our exhibition, just like yours. Thank you again for the session.

Ibu Marina, Sekolah Global Indo-Asia, Indonesia

We will be having our exhibition towards the end of Nov. It would be amazing to see the performance as well. Due to talking with your class today, I already have students wanting to form groups and start their research. They were very motivated by what they saw.

Robert Bale, Ashburton Borough School, New Zealand

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Skyping with students to share their exhibition experience.

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Video conferencing with students in Germany.

The 100th Day of School

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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.

Hestya Utami

PYP 1 teacher/ coordinator

Sekolah Ciputra Surabaya

Action Impacts Our World

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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


An Effective Inquiry Leads to Purposeful Student Initiated Action

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In the PYP, it is believed that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include not only socially responsible attitudes, but also thoughtful and appropriate action (Making the PYP Happen, 2007).

During the last unit of inquiry, under the transdisciplinary theme ‘How We Organize Ourselves’, and the central idea of ‘Communities provide services designed to meet people’s needs’, the Year 3 students of Tunas Muda School Meruya were given the opportunity to engage in a purposeful and beneficial inquiry process. To begin with, they watched The Country Mouse and The Town Mouse, a short animated movie about life in the city and in the village. Through this activity, we triggered the students’ interest and had the chance to assess their prior knowledge. They read books and watched videos to find out more about the differences between urban, suburban and rural areas.

After that, they observed the area where they live to identify services provided around them, and what other services they would like to have. They also reflected on how they could help to make their neighbourhood a better place to live. As a result, most of the students would like to have a greener area and wanted to be involved in making it happen. They also interviewed their parents about why they chose to live in the area where they live now.

Furthermore, they went on an excursion to Kidzania to find out what it takes and how it feels to provide services for other people. Through the excursion, they gained a lot of knowledge and experienced what it was like to serve others. Students have shown greater appreciation to community helpers, such as police officers, doctors, nurses, shopkeepers, and online shop couriers since this experience. One of their ways to sort out their findings from the excursion was by making pop-up art about community helpers and what they do.

In order to develop a deeper understanding about the importance of community service, they were inspired to contribute in their own school community. They walked around the school to identify how they could help to make their school an even better place and came up with various interesting plans which they put into action during the last week of the unit. At the same time, the students were observed as part of their summative assessment to measure their understanding of the unit. They served our school community by supervising other students while playing in the soccer field and basketball court; supervising the students having lunch in our indoor playing area; helping the librarians to tidy up the books in the PYP library; assisting the Year 3 teachers in their classroom; and conducting a mini concert to raise funds to buy plants to be put in our school canteen and our indoor playing area.

We were very pleased to see that all Year 3 students enjoyed providing a service to their school community. Based on their reflections, we can see that they have tried their best to become IB learners, they have exhibited various learner profile attributes and developed their knowledge and skills. This, in turn allowed them to organize themselves and take action. Overall, it was a simple, meaningful and memorable unit of inquiry which has led them to act!

Astriyani Ginting, Year 3 Leading Class Teacher

Tunas Muda School Meruya, Jakarta

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Food Tasting!

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In Indonesian studies class, Grade 2 students learned about coconut properties and their use in Indonesia as a connection to the unit, ‘How the World Works’ .

Coconut, as a connection to properties of materials, was chosen because Indonesians use all the parts of the coconut (from the root to the leaves) in cooking, as housing materials, musical instruments, decorations, medicine, etc.

As a part of our inquiry and as an opportunity to show our understanding, we invited the Bandung Independent School community to our Indonesian studies session on Tuesday 15th November.

This is the food made of coconut leaves for the ‘ketupat’ and the soup was made with coconut milk.


Joshua is showing his mum how to create decorations from the coconut leaves.


In Indonesian language class, Grade 2 students made connections to procedural texts by learning how to cook ‘Kue Bandros’. The meals were made from grated coconut and coconut milk, along with some other ingredients. Oliver and Joshua had an opportunity to explain their learning in Indonesian. They shared their insights with the parents and explained how they worked on these materials, used tools for cooking and the procedures of the cooking method.


We also invited Mr. Brooks, our Head of school, to taste some of the food and, of course, to see how Grade 2 students shared their learning and understanding.