Leading up to our Unity in Diversity Day and as a part of our yearlong Who we are unit of inquiry; our current inquiry into How we organize ourselves; and our language focus Writing to Instruct/Explain, we read Jon J Muth’s version of Stone Soup. This is a story about three monks who try to understand what makes one happy. During their journey, they visit a village with frightened villagers, who keep their doors and windows locked. When they cleverly entice the villagers with making soup from stones, the villagers discover how much they each have to share and what they can gain in return. The story ends with a big feast and offering the strangers a place to sleep.
Our initial reading session focused on creating curiosity about the story (and print in general); using illustrations to predict and respond to the story; making links to the students’ own experiences; the structure of the story (how information is presented); the information shared (e.g. how to make Stone Soup); and the big question ‘What makes one happy?’
In order to address our inquiry into how information can be gathered and sorted and how it can be documented, we introduced a new graphic organizer. We explained that T-charts can help us to examine two facets of the monks’ inquiry into what happiness is? The students were invited to use Post-it notes to brainstorm about happiness. They made ‘draft’ drawings and in a quick personal teacher-student interview, comments to these drawings were documented, before the students sorted them using the T-chart. The students had a lot of ideas about what makes them happy, e.g. “Thinking about school”; “Playing together” and “She is at the playground. She is so happy”. Although they concluded that there were less ideas posted about what doesn’t make them happy, they thought that these few thoughts matched their personal experiences very well, e.g. “She pushed the boy” and “Somebody doesn’t want to share”.
With the older students of this combined Early Childhood class (4-6 yr.), who stay after lunch, we read a much older version of Stone Soup by Ann McGovern. After revisiting the Chinese version we read in the morning, we compared the content of the story, the message and the symbols used by the illustrators. The students noticed the bright yellow color of the little girl’s dress versus the poor clothes of the young man. They compared the black cat with the black bird. And they thought that the young man had taken advantage of the old lady (old version), but that the monks had brought happiness by teaching how to share.
After reading these stories, the students initiated to use elements of the Chinese version of Stone Soup for their play. They collected stones from our Sensory Path and started a lovely cooperative play elaborating on the books’ ideas. Their play expressed the desire to make real Stone Soup.
Our upcoming Unity in Diversity Day, with a focus on Food Sustainability, offered an excellent opportunity to make this cooking activity a more meaningful experience while including all the Early Childhood students. As a provocation, we took all the food items from the home corner and asked the students to think of criteria to sort them. Two sorting circles were formed one for possible Stone Soup ingredients and one for ‘others’. The students were invited to think about ingredients they might be able to find at home and using this sorted ‘data’, the students created a visual reminder to take home. We discussed and compared the pros and cons of each student bringing something from home, which helped the students to understand sustainability. It was fantastic to observe how the students’ thinking evolved into thinking about “pollution if you go shopping by car” and comparing it with more sustainable ideas like “you have to take your bicycle” (Dutch student) to “using an electric car”.
We invited the parents to collaborate by respecting the children’s thoughts re. shopping and our intention to focus on foodstuffs that do least harm to the planet. The children concluded that they should all “bring just a little bit” so there “we don’t waste food” and that “we need to share if a friend brings no food to wash and cut”.
The morning of the Unity in Diversity Day, the students proudly presented their ingredients. After the flag parade, assembly and photo shoot, we started with addressing the expected learning outcomes for the actual cooking activity:
- personal hygiene
- fine motor skills
- food choices can affect our health
- cooperate with others (share and take turns)
- celebrate the accomplishment of the group
- understand the impact of their actions on the environment
We labeled the ingredients and discussed how to wash and cut them. We revisited the instructions on how to cook Stone Soup and explained which areas to use for their cooking activities. We included the youngest Early Childhood students and together they created a very rich, sustainable Stone Soup which they ate together with their teachers.
Here are some comments the EC3 students shared about our ‘sustainable’ community vegetable soup:
JA: “We made our own ‘to do’ list.”
All: “We made the soup together … EC1, EC2, EC3.” LE: “Eating together!”
CH: “Everybody (brought the ingredients).” LE: “We don’t get pollution!”
JO: “It was fun, we could cut our own food.”
JA: “It makes us happy, because it is so yummy when you make it together.” LE: “Happy, because your heart is GOOD!”
LE: “IF you go to the shopping (mall), the smoke (of the care) is not good for your heart or your body.”
JA: “Or you can go on your bike.”
LE: “If you want to go shopping, you need an electric car … no pollution!”
Nicolette Brata-Coolen MA Childhood Studies & Early Years
SENCO & PYP Early Childhood Teacher
Bandung Independent School
The world celebrates “United Nations Day” every October 24 to honor the commendable work done by the United Nations. This day is also celebrated as Internationalism Day. All over the world, several organisations, especially schools, use this opportunity to spread the message of peace, harmony and unity in diversity.
We, at BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, also commemorated this special event with a week-long celebration. Our PYP students celebrated Literacy and Internationalism Week from October 28 to November 4. The various activities which were planned for this event promoted both literacy and international-mindedness.
Our week started with an ‘around the world display’. Each grade level were assigned a region. Each class then chose a country from that region and decorated their door and outside display boards. Artifacts, clothes, flags, information about that country, etc. were used as displays and on one chosen day, all PYP students were encouraged to visit the other grade levels to learn about different countries and cultures. This was also the day when our parents generously provided us with country-specific finger food. What a day of fun and festivities it was!
The first day of this week-long event saw a Costume Parade. All our students dressed up in different national costumes. This event took place in each grade level, and students, as expected, shared interesting information about their chosen costume.
The next day saw several different activities. Grades 1-3 had mural painting, t-shirt painting and banner making with the theme, ‘One World’. Grades 4-5 students wrote free verse poems on the same theme.
November 1 was a day dedicated to promoting literacy. Our EY students started the day with ‘buddy reading’ with their Grade 5 brothers and sisters. Grade 1 students did buddy reading among their four classes. Grades 2 and 3 had a storytelling competition. Two students per class in Grades 2 and 3 participated in the storytelling with their stories from around the world. Grades 4 and 5 had a poster-making competition with the theme ‘Unity in Diversity’.
Mid-week saw our weekly PYP assembly when we honoured the winners of the various activities. Winners for the best class display were announced during the assembly, which ended with a song rendered by our dear teachers and dedicated to our students.
November 3 was our chosen day to visit the various country displays. Several students and teachers had dressed up in the national costume of their country or the colours of its flag. The hours of the day went fast as we all were busy visiting countries, appreciating different cultures and sampling delicious food. Our Grade 1 teachers were innovative and prepared ‘passports’ for their students who went to several countries and got their passports stamped.
The finale of this weeklong celebration was storytelling by parents – mothers and fathers from the early years and elementary. In the past, we have had our parents volunteering as storytellers. However, this time it was different. It had to be. After all, we were celebrating Internationalism Week. We had storytelling by parents not just in Bahasa Indonesia and English but in five more languages representing the mother tongues of our diverse student population. We had storytelling in Chinese, Malay, Hindi, Korean and French. This activity gave us an opportunity to promote the use of our students’ mother tongue. Our enthusiastic parents had prepared slide presentations, came dressed in costumes and brought along props to fully engage our young listeners. Kudos to our volunteer moms and dads!
The event was a huge success. The entire PYP team geared up and worked extremely hard for the entire week – planning, preparing, conducting, and celebrating all the activities. The positive feedback this event has received has ensured it will now become a part of our school’s annual calendar.
By: Priyanka Patni
Grade 3 Level Head and Class Teacher
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
We celebrated “Literacy and Internationalism Week” at our school from October 28 to November 4, 2016. The event involved parents, teachers, and students in the learning process as a whole school community. As the youngest students in the whole school, our Early Years 1 students also participated in this event. This year, every class represented a different country. Our EY 1 class represented Mexico.
We shared our own excitement about the event to show that it was not just a regular event. This helped our three to four year old students understand more about internationalism.
A week before the celebrations, we talked to the students about Mexico and the different things that represent the country. Together with their parents, students made objects representing Mexico, such as maracas, banderitas, pop-up cactus, small Mexican flags, and paper moustaches. The students also brought from home Mexican items such as rosaries, a guitar, and tortillas. The artifacts were displayed in front of our class door together with some other Mexican decorations that we made in class.
Talking about Mexican food with the children Our Mexican displays in front of our class
Surprisingly, our Mexican display always caught the attention of our students and sparked their curiosity every time they entered the class. Right there and then, their learning was triggered and they became so interested, they wanted to learn more about Mexico.
Throughout the week, the students were engaged with different activities about Mexico. They enjoyed learning facts about Mexico, including the flag of Mexico, Mexican clothes, animals and plants found in Mexico, and famous food from Mexico. They made Mexican flags, cut pictures of Mexican animals, food, and clothes, made maracas, completed puzzles of sombreros and the Mexican flag, and tasted different food from Mexico and other countries.
The students also learned a Mexican song titled “La Cucaracha”. They all danced and had a lot of fun singing the song together. They also took part in a costume parade and strutted and sashayed their outfits in front of the judges. As the closing to this event, all Early Years students had fun playing with a piñata.
Although the event is over, the students still remember the activities and things they learned about Mexico. They keep talking about our “Literacy and Internationalism Week”. As a student-initiated action, one child created her own lyrics to the tune of “La Cucaracha”. Some children have mentioned the Mexican creatures when they played with their toy animals. Others talked about outfits representing different countries when they saw pictures taken during the costume parade. The students also could remember the winners of the activities we had during the celebration week.
The activities we conducted during our “Literacy and Internationalism Week” nurtured the curiosity of our children and allowed them explore various countries, becoming more open-minded towards different cultures in the world.
By: Geertruida Maya and Atika Priska Gunawan
Early Years 1 Teachers
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
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.
We celebrated “Literacy and Internationalism Week” at our school from October 28 to November 4, 2016. The event involved parents, teachers, and students in the learning process as a whole school community. As the youngest students in the whole school, our Early Years 1 students also participated in this event. This year, every class got different countries to represent. Our EY 1 class represented Mexico.
One important thing to start with to make the “Literacy and Internationalism Week” not just a regular event, was to show our own excitement about the event. This helped our three to four-year old students understand more about internationalism.
A week before the celebration of “Literacy and Internationalism Week”, we talked to the students about Mexico and the different things representing the country. Together with their parents, students made objects representing Mexico such as maracas, banderitas, pop-up cactus, small Mexican flags, and paper moustache. The students also brought from home Mexican items such as rosaries, guitar, and tortillas. The artifacts were displayed in front of our class door together with some other Mexican decorations that we made in class.
Surprisingly, our Mexican displays always caught the attention of our students and sparked their curiosity every time they entered the class. Right there and then, their learning was triggered and they became so interested to learn more about Mexico.
Throughout the week, the students were engaged with different activities exploring about Mexico. They enjoyed learning facts about Mexico, such as the flag of Mexico, Mexican clothes, animals and plants found in Mexico, and famous food from Mexico. They made Mexican flags, cut pictures of Mexican animals, food, and clothes, made maracas, completed puzzle of sombrero and Mexican flag, and tasted different food from Mexico and other countries.
Although the event is over, the students still remember the things they had done and learned about Mexico and keep talking about our “Literacy and Internationalism Week”. As a student-initiated action, one child created her own lyrics to the tune of “La Cucaracha”. Some children mentioned the Mexican creatures when they played with their toy animals. Others talked about outfits representing different countries when they saw pictures taken during the costume parade. The students also could remember the winners of some activities we had during the “Literacy and Internationalism Week”.
The activities we conducted during our “Literacy and Internationalism Week” nurtured the curiosity of our children and made them further explore various countries, becoming more open-minded towards different cultures in the world.
By: Geertruida Maya and Atika Priska Gunawan
Early Years 1 Teachers
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
The children of Grade 4 watched in horror as the sight of thick smoke and smog filled the screen. They were watching YouTube clips of the rainforests in Sumatra that were being destroyed by forest fires. One of our animals lovers had wanted to share these clips with the rest of class, to initiate a discussion on how to help the animals whose habitats were being destroyed.
The class was studying a unit on economic activity, production, exchange and the consumption of goods and services. As their teacher, I wondered how to make this unit more trans-disciplinary, authentic and engaging for the children – to do something with them that was stimulating, would push them just beyond their comfort zone and to create new understanding while having loads of fun. So, I challenged them to plan, organize and run their own businesses of selling products and services so that they could get first hand experience of how things are organized in the real world.
During the brainstorming session that followed, some of the children came up with the idea of organizing a fun fair in which they would run businesses and invite the whole school and their parents. This way, they felt that they could raise funds to help save the animals and forests of Indonesia that had suffered from the fires. The students voted to donate the money earned to two organizations – WWF and Greenpeace Indonesia, both of whom were involved in protecting the forests and wildlife in Indonesia.
The children formed different ‘companies ‘and came up with many creative business ideas for selling products or services. After designing a survey they went around every class using a show of hands to collect data, to see which businesses would be the most popular.
A question then arose, “Where are we going to get the money to buy the raw materials and other things needed to start the businesses?”
After much thought, they approached the primary principal to ask for loans for their various businesses. He asked them to come up with business plans that included budgets. They also had to convince him that their plans were sound, could make enough money to repay the school AND that they would have to agree to pay the school back a ‘charge’ of 10 percent interest (this was mainly an exercise to integrate lessons on percentages).
The groups worked on their ideas and budgets and nervously presented their business plans to the principal. Luckily for them, he eventually ‘approved’ the loans and the children were at last in business!
Every child contributed to manufacturing, packaging and pricing the goods. Costs were calculated (10 percent added on to repay the loan) and profit margins added. It was decided that all the items that did not get sold were going to be sold at discounted prices in order to recuperate costs.
The businesses included a food court, with restaurants selling sushi, baked goods popcorn and juices, games, a gift shop and an auction – all organized and produced by the children themselves with marketing strategies to make the businesses more attractive and competitive.
And now the question arose – how were they to advertise the fun fair? The students made posters that they put up around the school and put in a blurb in the school weekly news bulletin to let the school community know about the upcoming event.
At the end of the fair the children calculated the gross profit and the net profits and were delighted when the primary principal did not charge the 10 % interest they ‘owed’ the school but allowed them to add it to the profit margin!
The students’ hard work paid off and they raised the amazing sum of IDR 11,400,000 (about USD 870) for WWF Indonesia and Green Peace Indonesia. They received certificates from both organizations and were proud to have made a small but important contribution to help save the rainforests of Indonesia.
What else did the students gain from this project besides a feeling of self-satisfaction?
By being motivated, challenged and actively engaged in tasks that were authentic, relevant and significant to them, the students developed amongst other qualities, the profiles, attitudes and skills of having empathy and integrity, being principled and reflective inquirers, creative problem solvers, being responsible, communicating and cooperating with one another, group decision making and adapting to different roles. In short all the attributes that promote compassionate action as well as the confidence and belief that they can make a difference in the world.
Grade 4, Classroom Teacher
Bali Island School
(Formally Bali International School)
As we celebrated Indonesia’s Independence Day on August 17th, all the students from Reception to Year 6 had a flag ceremony in the gymnasium in the morning. Afterwards, each year level had their own celebration by organizing some competitions or events. Year 2 had some games to play in groups such as transferring marbles from one spoon to another as fast as they could, putting a pen which was tied in the middle of a parachute into a bottle, and dancing with a partner with a ball between their foreheads. Not to forget sharing the special meaning of August 17th’s annual celebration of Indonesia’s Independence Day.
-Year 2 team Global Jaya School-.