Every year, we collaboratively review our school written curriculum based on the IB requirements. Reviewing the curriculum is related to Standard C2.9, which states that “the written curriculum is informed by current IB publications and is reviewed regularly to incorporate developments in the programme(s)”.
In doing the review this year, we made sure that the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are taught and addressed in our curriculum in addition to the IB Primary Years Programme and Indonesian national requirements.
The SDGs are “Global Goals” in which world leaders from 193 countries, including Indonesia, are committed to achieving by 2030. The goals are inter-related and include eradicating poverty, hunger and inequality; taking action on climate change and the environment; improving access to health, education and clean water and sanitation; and building strong institutions and partnerships. Adopted in 2015, the SDGs are as follows:
Involved in our curriculum review were all our classroom and single-subject teachers as well as our co-teachers from early years and elementary. The outcome of our review revealed that all the 17 goals were already part of our early years and elementary written curriculum and we need to continue explicitly addressing them in our taught curriculum.
For the review, we identified the specific unit of inquiry linked to each goal. During our review, it was interesting that our physical education and dance teachers developed plans on how to teach the SDGs in their subjects across grade levels.
Teaching the SDGs to our students is connected to the IB mission statement of creating a “better and more peaceful world” and developing “internationally minded people”. It is related to Standard C2.7, which states that “the written curriculum promotes student awareness of individual, local, national and world issues”. Likewise, it is linked to Standard C2.14b, which emphasizes that “teaching and learning empowers students to take self-initiated action as a result of the learning”.
Achieving the SDGs is not only the work of governments and non-governmental organizations. As educators, we need to do our part and also become globally competent.
By: Richel Langit-Dursin
Primary Years Programme coordinator
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, Jakarta
“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.
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.”
Reception students have been learning to examine the use of body language and facial expressions to express basic feelings. They also learned the Mandarin phrases for expressing basic feelings.
During one of the learning engagements, students were asked to observe various pictures of facial expressions and hand signals. Each student then chose 5 and matched them with the appropriate Mandarin phrase to describe the feelings being expressed. Students demonstrated that they are thinkers and communicators during this activity.
Year 1 students have been exploring how and why pinyin is formed a certain way. They learned Mandarin terms for various animals and discovered how to write it properly in pinyin.
For the summative assessment, each student chose 2 of their favorite animals and wrote the Mandarin terms in pinyin. Students had a lot of fun finger-painting the terms. Students showed independence and creativity during this activity.
by Ibu Bonita
Celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day
August 17 is a special day for Indonesia. Every year, we celebrate Indonesia’s Independence Day. The world’s most populous nation, Indonesia gained its independence from Dutch colonial rule on August 17, 1945.
This year, our students were very excited in participating in the country’s Independence Day celebration. They asked what games they were going to play. Yes! Apart from flag raising, we usually commemorate our national day by playing traditional games such as tug of war, sack race, and cracker-eating contest.
The commemoration of Indonesia’s Independence Day at our school was very memorable this year as our students sang national songs and did a traditional costume parade showcasing the culture of various provinces such as Maluku, Papua, Sumatra and Sulawesi.
In celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day, our students are reminded of the history of our country, including our national heroes who fought for freedom. Here are some pictures of Indonesia’s Independence Day celebration in our school.
Flag raising led by our school principal
Traditional costume parade by our students
Cracker-eating contest, one of the traditional games, played by our students
By: Nancy Benedicta, Grade 3 Team Teacher and Eka Fridayanti, Grade 3 Co-Teacher
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
We all know that eating right can help us maintain a healthy body .Students created a “Healthy Eating Plate “which was well labeled and with a brief write up .The main message of the Healthy Eating Plate is to focus on how our food, drink, and activity choices affect our health. Healthy Eating Plate guidelines can lead to a lower risk of diseases. This was related to our unit Body system.
This gave the students an opportunity to develop their active learning process through inquiry and investigating skills as they asked descriptive questions to collect information connecting different food to different body system.
It promoted positive attitude toward learning how to keep our body systems healthy. They took responsibility for their own and family health and physical wellbeing.
While working on this students came up with debate on “Is healthy eating the same as going on a diet?” and many more how and why statements came up related to our body system and how different food effects different body system
My Healthy Plate serves as a motivational rather than prescriptive tool!
Ms. Reena Dhar
Homeroom Teacher Grade 3
GMIS – BALI
To fulfill the IB aim of developing internationally minded students and encouraging them to be more active, compassionate and lifelong learners, it is crucial to set placed and integrate the learner profiles attribute in their daily activities right from the beginning of the school year.
My second graders were learning about ‘Role Models’. As they gained the understanding on the definition of ‘Role Model’, most of them turned to their closest ties, mother or father as their role model. When they explored further to the inquiries, they came up with both the positive traits and negative traits of several public figures they had previously known. They drew up their own conclusion of which traits to be and which are not to be followed. To expand their experience on what other people thought, Grade 2 students had an interview with the fifth graders to find out who their role models are. Through their activity reflections, I could see that interaction with the older grades was very exciting!
As part of their formative assessment, I designed a writing assignment where they could put themselves into one of the most powerful position in the world, a President! They had to come up with ‘President’s working programs’ and had to explain which learner profiles they had to perform to make the program worked.
The snapshots below are some of their ideas. Very interesting indeed!
Ms. Yuliana Ratna Dilyanti
Homeroom Teacher Grade 2
GMIS – BALI