learning story

Cultural Festival Reception and Year One

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What do all these key words have in common? Learner agency, differentiation, time line, maps, history, family, traditions, culture, heritage, community, action, awareness, international mindedness, documentation, celebration, reflections. Well if you are a Reception and Year One learner at the Intercultural School of Bogor, it all comes together in a cultural festival during the unit Where We Are In Place and Time.

In a nut shell:

Tuning into the unit Where We Are in place and time; students started their inquiry into their own family histories. They completed a KWL chart by saying what they know, wonder and want to learn about the UNIT. During class time the students were able to identify their home country flag and map where their home country is on the world map. Students automatically began to share who they are and how their host country is different to what they are used to. This allowed the students to obtain a big picture of how diverse their class actually is. During the inquiry students sorted out information about their family by using family trees, family photobooks and information they brought from home. Going further the students collected all their information in a central exhibition board where they were able to share information with the class and make conclusions of their journey and discoveries. This dynamic UNIT sprouted into action by sharing the learning with the school community during a cultural festival morning.

What does it actually look like in action?

It all started with one music lesson where children learned about their music teachers’ favourite traditional instrument and song from his childhood. Being inquisitive and unpacking the meaning of the song, you can imagine how this triggered a huge interest. As the subject matter dealt with rice and music, the children wanted know more about rice and the traditional instruments.

Figure 1. Children exploring the Kacapi Sundanese musical instrument.

The inquiry allowed children to set off to discover traditional rice cooking with our Bahasa Indonesia Specialist. Instantly the excitement started and lead to various questions. What does our own traditions look like? Where are we from? Who are our grandparents actually? Do I know enough about who I am and where I come from? One of the children said “our instruments look different in Brazil” another said “my grandmother play a drum in Korea, but it is not like the one in music class”. The big question was “How do you cook rice at home?”

Figure 2. Bahasa Indonesia specialist teacher models the writing of the names of the different utensils used during traditional rice cooking.


Figure 3. Then and now: reflecting on cooking rice in the past. Traditional tungku stove used by Indonesians.


Figure 4. One of the children preparing the rice before cooking by washing it. The rice is in a woven basket called a bakul.

Following our discussions about cooking rice we decided to try the traditional way in our host country Indonesia. As we were collecting sticks and laying them out in the sun to dry workers began to ask the children about what they were doing. This was interesting to watch, because as soon as the children began to physically do something different outside the classroom in the school yard they had others’ attention. We then sat down with the Bahasa specialist teacher and looked at all the different utensils needed to cook the rice. We named and labelled the utensils in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. We looked at shapes, texture, material, size, colours, pattern, weight and anything else the children were interested in. The children enjoyed predicting what the various utensils would be used for. Children stacked the sticks, washed the rice and watched a volunteer parent lit the fire. They went off to class and returned at lunch time to see what has happened. To their amazement the rice has steamed to perfection through the bamboo cone. As the children were cooling the rice with the hihid, I was sceptical to whether or not they will be risk takers to eat the rice. However they loved it! Soon the scent of traditionally cooked rice filled the school drawing even the office to come and have a taste. Ground staff said that the smells reminded them of their childhood and made them miss home in the kampong. All of this in one day unlocked the power of what was to come during this unit.


Figure 5. Allowing water to boil to create steam that will be used to cook the rice in cone shaped basket called a kukusan.


Figure 6. Using a fan type utensil called a kipas of hihid one of the children is cooling the rice before eating. The wooden spoon in called a centong-nasi.


Figure 7. Not before long everyone is out and about following the smells of long forgotten memories. The school’s finance lady is just checking up on the children to ensure they have done a good job.

Back in class children reflected in groups on their rice cooking experience and used their knowledge of procedural writing to explain the steps that they felt were important to document. The reflections were displayed along with photos outside the Bahasa Indonesia room, where it caught the attention of parents and other students. By sharing the process cultural awareness was created among the school community. I realized that this is the start of feeling international mindedness.

Figure 8. Display outside the Bahasa Indonesia class with children’s wonderings, reflections and photos.

After the rice adventure many other extraordinary learning windows opened. For the purpose of this article I would like to share how we embarked on our own personal differentiated learning journeys of culture, family and awareness.

We unpacked our central idea followed by Kath Murdoc’s Inquiry Cycle. We continued our tuning in with a KWL chart and needless to say a very successful KWL chart brought out wonderful knowledge and wonderings that filled our sails for an unforgettable journey. Keeping in mind that the youngest in the group was 4 years old and the oldest were 6 years old, we were ready for whatever learning was going to come.

Figure 9. Unpacking words in the central idea to differentiate understanding among children’s perspectives.

What do you know about your family? And what do you wonder about your family?

Priceless responses such as:

“When I was born my sister was already 5 years old, I know my family have many allergies, and I know my sister drew on my face when I was a baby”.

“I have 2 grandmas and 2 grandpas. One of my grandpa lives in Thailand and my other grandma lives in Indonesia, my family is half Indonesian and half Thai.”

“I wonder if my dad was born on a farm, I wonder if my mom was sang to when she was a baby.”

“I wonder if my mom is the same as my grandma. The same height, the same colour, the same size, what did my mom look like when she was born.”

These responses allowed for differentiation and learner agency. They all had differences and similarities that would construct the path forward. Each learner was given an exhibition board to display their findings and explorations over the next 6 weeks about themselves, their family, culture and history. During the unit they used art to paint and draw, they made connections between their knowledge of patterns to decorate their boards that lead to a discussion about patterns used in their home countries. Children used their writing skills to make family books, they conducted interviews with parents and grandparents. Some learned traditional songs and came to share it with their friends in class. Parents were sending video clips of themselves singing traditional song and of grandparents dressing up in traditional clothing. Children were interested in the world map, comparing distances form the host country to their home countries. Traditional story books came to school, photos and favourite toys also made their appearances. Then came the lovely discussion about birthdays and timelines. Children drew their birthdays as number lines and began to discover the real meaning of their age. Not even to mention the family trees that were created. Children looked at country flags, they compared height and weight with each other and to those of animals, and they created graphs and so much more.

Figure 10. Children are looking for their own identity as they search for their flag among the others in class.

Figure 11. Knowing that your weight has changed from birth until now, how would you currently compare to other baby animals. The only way to find out is by measuring your weight, researching and comparing results.

Figure 12. Children accessing art material independently as needed during the unit. Allowing children to be responsible for their own choices builds independent thinkers.

Children brought random objects, clippings, sketches and photos from home with stories; stories that tied all the concepts, knowledge and their unique understanding into a present called active learning.

Interview question that were sent home:

  1. What’s your first memory?
  2. Who’s the oldest relative you remember (and what do you remember about him or her)?
  3. How did your parents meet?
  4. Tell me about your childhood home.
  5. How did your family celebrate holidays when you were a child?
  6. How did you meet your spouse?
  7. Tell me about your wedding day.
  8. Tell me about the day your first child was born.
  9. What were your favourite school subjects?
  10. Tell me about your favourite teacher.
  11. Tell me about some of your friends.
  12. Describe your first job.
  13. What did you do with your first pay check?
  14. What was your favourite job and why?
  15. Who are some of your heroes?
  16. Where were you when you heard that President Kennedy was shot? (Add or substitute other important historical events.)
  17. What is your experience with or opinion of computers? (Add or substitute other modern conveniences, such as television, microwaves and cell phones.)
  18. Tell me about some of your favourite songs (also books, movies and television shows).
  19. Tell me about some of the places where you’ve been happiest.
  20. What haven’t we talked about that you’d like to discuss in the time we have left?

We used technology to explore change over time (https://youtu.be/RDEST6UGNv4 and https://youtu.be/j6f8LIwx32Y ) the two links were examples of how you can see people change over time, just as we can see we have changed over time reflecting on our baby photos.

Figure 13. Creating a family portrait for the exhibition board by using various materials and different mediums of art.


Figure 14. Taking a closer look at the exact detail of the Brazilian flag. Being clear and precise of the facts will allow for an authentic representation of the country.


Figure 15. Using the knowledge of observation to complete an accurate representation.

Figure 16. The children brought extraordinary footage from home with evident parent involvement. This is a photo of one of the children with her grandparents. Information is clearly laid out by the parent to facilitate further discussions in class.

Figure 17. Spontaneously working together as a group while looking at the Garuda National emblem of Indonesia. This is definitely the heart of PYP where social constructivism takes centre stage in the classroom with the teacher as facilitator and fellow learner.


Figure 18. Integrating handwriting into the unit was very successful. Children used their own photos as a personal starting point to practice various language skills. The experience allowed the teacher to model differentiated needs as children were working at their own pace.

During my own personal reflection as the classroom teacher, I somehow felt as if I was on a journey that was not being connected to reality. As the unit moved forward I felt as if I was standing on the highest peak of a mountain that had the most magnificent view, with the wind pressing against my face and with open arms embracing the magic that was happening.

Wrapping up the unit: the big day arrived to take action and once again share our gift of international mindedness with the community. Involving the whole community we set out to change our assembly into a cultural festival. Parents of the Reception and Year One class were invited to celebrate their children’s 6 weeks of learning by collaboratively setting up a table next to their child’s display board echoing their culture, family and awareness.


Figure 19. A very excited mom sharing her experience and planning leading up to the cultural festival. What an honour to have parents actively involved in the learning community.

Teachers from across the school were asked to not just enjoy the marvellous moment but also to use the opportunity to observe learners from their perspective on how they display the aspect of the learner profile, attitudes, skills and knowledge. Further, learners from the school were involved to document what they liked and learned from each culture as they moved from each exhibition to the next. Lastly, all parents that were attending the assembly were invited to celebrate the community event as an awareness of where we are in place and time.

Figure 20. Home room teacher and PYP Coordinator welcoming the community to the cultural festival.

Figure 21. ELC students visiting the Indonesia: Ambon, exhibition.


Figure 22. Parent enthusiasm is key for successful community involvement. Children are known to copy adults, hence the importance of adults modelling the learning attitudes we want to see in our children.

Figure 23. One of the older students visiting the Indonesia: Flores exhibition. Mother and daughter eagerly await questions and are ready to share their cultural knowledge.

Figure 24. A teacher enquires about baby photos on the exhibition board display.

Specialists from Music and Bahasa Indonesia also had the opportunity to display traditional artefacts from Indonesia. The traditional rice cooking was replicated and shared with the whole school community.

Figure 25. Setting up the traditional rice cooking for the community. Both student and teacher proudly dressed to represent their countries.

Reception and Year One also reflected on what they have learned and enjoyed during the unit. Data collected from the teacher and learners were reworked into a personal reflection report of each child.

The following is an example of the individual feedback form created to capture the various reflections of teachers and students. The consolidation of information opened a whole new platform that allowed insight and discussions.


Country represented at the cultural festival: South Africa

Student name: Caydon

Grade: Reception

Date: 3 November 2017



Part One: School teachers’ observations and comments

Teachers were asked to observe the students. The teachers focused on the student’s ability to display the learner profile and IB attitudes during their presentation and display. 7 Teachers responded to Caydon’s presentation.



Observations by school teachers:

  • An excellent presentation by Caydon, not only for me, but watching him interact with his peers and other adults. Excellent work Caydon.
  • Caydon likes all the animals from South Africa.
  • Caydon explained well and answered questions well.
  • He had a good explanation.
  • He told/explained to me about his photos.
  • He explained confidently. I love the milk tart.
  • Excellent communication, Caydon took Hiroshi by the hand to show his photographs and to explain them. “This is South Africa, I’ve been in South Africa”.
  • Caydon Asked Mrs Ali to try the food. Very supportive with Hiroshi and took control of leading him through his display. He worked so hard to answer questions that he asked (very polite…)”could you go now, I am tired”.

Part B: Feedback from peers grade 2-9.

Students from year 2 to 9 observed Caydon and shared what they learnt from his presentation and display.

  • I learn the cheetah is the fastest animal, because it has lots of muscles.
  • The songs are good.
  • Good food, it is really awesome.
  • Barbeque means “braai” in the Afrikaans language.
  • Good food.
  • It looks fun and very African.
  • How food looks nice.
  • I liked the sausage with cheese.
  • I liked the taste of the sausages.
  • I like the sausages.
  • I liked the pudding. There is cinnamon powder on it.
  • We learned about African puddings.
  • I like the sausage.
  • I like the colours of the flag.
  • Good food.
  • Good food, very good stand.

Part C: Learner self-reflections.

Figure 26. Personal reflection.

Caydon made the following comments on his experience of the cultural festival.

“At the assembly I like it. I was not mean, I was not shouting, I was so nice to people. I tell the people we eat food. Our South Africa food. The food taste yummy. I told them everything I already done about South Africa. I like the food from Amelie, she is from Brazil, Ellena from Thailand, New Zealand is Vesper. Me – I am South Africa. Priciella, Megan from China. Indonesia is Malik and I mmm, remember Mica? Yunjin from Korea, I miss Koshy and Mica. Next time I know I don’t be shy!”

Part D: Feedback from homeroom teacher and teacher assistant.

Figure 27. Family photo.

During the unit, Where We Are in Place and Time, Caydon had interesting thoughts about his family. Caydon was more interested in his dog as part of his family. His thinking opened an exciting window of opportunity to explore his family history and culture. Caydon was a brave communicator and open minded. He was able to interact with various adults and students of various ages. I hope that this opportunity to share personal information with the community will allow Caydon to be more of a risk-taker during future events.


In closing this unit was indeed a worthwhile journey that highlights our responsibility towards education that inspires others to flourish.

Figure 28. Bringing a community of learners together from generation to generation. Reception and Year One learners and parents wrapping up an unforgettable learning journey as a global community.


Digital Media Field trip

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In this unit about digital media, PYP 3 students went to the Graha Pena building for an outing. We visited JTV (a local TV channel), the DBL offices (a basketball enterprise for young people), and Gen FM (a popular radio station).

The purpose of the outing was to give students an opportunity to observe and experience how digital media features in our daily lives. Students had plenty of time to ask questions about features, such as editing software at JTV, and the process of broadcasting information via a radio service. Our students learned about the genres of songs played on the radio, as well as the ratio of male to female radio listeners. Seeing special microphones and a sound mixer, with the DJ adjusting the sound, was a great experience. An unexpected moment occurred when a guest speaker explained that there was a live programme in-progress,​ and our students sang along to a familiar song as they were in the studio.

The DBL offices were a source of particular joy. We all tried out a slide that is used by the workers to provoke creativity. Our speakers also explained how information used to be presented in the past, contrasting this with current media practices.

This was an enjoyable and rewarding day for all involved. We hope our learners are now able to share their experiences with others.

PYP 3 Teachers

Sekolah Ciputra Surabaya


Our Study of Numbers

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The students in Grade 3 showed how they construct their understanding of numbers, from different ways of representing number values, place values to using numbers to make patterns. The situations created for students helped them to make the necessary constructions. We have attempted to aim for more meaningful learning by veering away from too much repetitive number drills in class. Here are some sample works:

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Karen Chacon

Homeroom Teacher Grade 3

Mentari School Jakarta

Healthy Food Healthy Body

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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



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We value reading time the most at Sekolah Ciputra. We read aloud daily to our students. However, this could be challenging for PG B students, especially during the first weeks of school when they are adjusting to their new classes. Only a few of them listened intently to the stories when we read aloud for the first time. In spite of this, we kept reading them a book every day. To grow the love of reading in our class, we picked a book that was based on students’ interests. We noticed that our students were mainly interested in stories that involved animals. Our choice went to We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

When we read the book for the first time, we recognized that more students paid attention to the story and were willing to listen. After reading the book, we watched the movie version. The movie was such a hit among the students. They asked us to watch it during their snack time. We kept reading and re-reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt for a week during our reading aloud time so that the students could fully understand the story. Our next step was to make a picture sequence of the story and did one-on-one interviews with the student to gauge their understandings. This was also one of our ways to develop their communication and thinking skills.

In our third week of school, we noticed that more and more students were willing to visit our reading centre to read. Reading is also a very good opportunity to teach them about caring for books. We modeled for them how to open pages gently and we told them we had to do it so that we can read our book the next day. Everyday after reading aloud, we ask “who wants to help to take the book back to the shelf?” and each time we hear a lot of voices wanting to help put the book back. What a very fun way to learn to take care of our class library and to foster a love of reading!

Yulinar – PYP PG B Team Leader





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The first week at the beginning of the school year is a commencement period, a period to get to know the immediate surrounding and  Cikal community . Back from a long holiday, students are all excited to see what’s new in Sekolah Cikal Cilandak. The building, new classroom setup, new teachers (as they are now in different level), new classmates, and new things to learn and explore.


Usually, teachers take students to go around the school, as a way to get to know the environment and people around the school. This year, grade 3 and 4 students are taking their treasure hunt activity to the next level. They use  iPads to scan the QR codes. These codes are posted on the walls, each one contain clues or instructions, such  as; “Rhythm, beat, is played in here, loud and clear” or “ you need to find the PYP Coordinator”.  When they found the answer, they will see another QR code to scan for the next problem or questions to solve.


In short, we turn school tour activity into PokemonGO-like game, where the person who play it has to scan the surrounding, not by using augmented reality apps, just QR code reader and print-out QR codes posted the school’s walls.


QR code can be used in the classroom as well, it makes teaching and learning more fun, engaging and challenging. Here are some ideas:

  1. Replacing boring written test or quiz into mobile and more interactive quiz activity. Create the quiz in Google Form, generate the link into QR code, print it on paper, and post it on classroom wall. You can include  QR codes in bus stop activity, each QR code stands for one question /problem. Students can only move to the next station once they managed to  solve the problem.  
  2. Differentiate Task. For example you are teaching about governmental system and you have some videos and articles for your students to go through. Divide the class into several groups, have them watch different videos or read different articles. Post the link into QR codes in several learning stations, have them discuss it in groups.
  3. Treasure Hunt game/ Pokemonlike game. Use the QR code as clues for playing treasure hunt game. Insert links of riddles or clues that can lead the way  to the next station. Just like we did for school tour activity in Sekolah Cikal.

Here is how to make a QR code:

  1. Copy the link of the file, video, website or social media page that you want to share.
  2. Open QR code generator such as kaywa.com, mobile-barcodes.com or beetagg.com, or just simply googled QR generator and it will display many webpage of QR generators.
  3. Once you received a png or jpeg image from the QR generator, you can share or print your QR code.

The children’s face beamed with excitement as they  went around the school looking for  another QR code to be found.  Occasionally we heard them  saying something like, “This is awesome!” and “I like this activity” and “This is the best treasure hunt ever!”.

The use of technology has definitely adds zest in the learning process. Not only for the children, but for the teachers as well. We come to realize, that when handled well it can be a tool to ignite further learning and create ideas.  

Marsaria Primadona (Pima)

Apple Distinguished Educator

PYP Coordinator

Sekolah Cikal Cilandak


The Benefits of Interschool Collaboration.

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Given the difficulties (political, corporate and logistical ) that we face as a company sponsored school based on a mountain top in Papua, we at Yayasan Pendidikan Jayawijaya Tembagapura often find ourselves feeling isolated from the greater IB community. Movement off the mountain is difficult at the best of times and when it comes to trying to get a group of students to be able to visit another school or exhibition, it is neigh impossible. Luckily, here in Tembagapura we have two IBO schools, our own YPJ TPRA and the Mount Zaagham School (MZS), which provides opportunity for collaboration. While the make-up of our two schools is very different with MZS providing education for the children of the expat workers at Grasberg Mine and PT Freeport and YPJ being the school for national and Papuan students; we do share a compound, community and the PYP. With these direct connections, the existence of interschool collaboration is a natural occurrence.

Because of the aforementioned isolation, interschool collaborative learning has significant meaning for bridging the social and educational gaps between our schools and providing much needed collaborative opportunities for our teachers and students. The understanding that our two schools are able to achieve more working together than is possible working in isolation and that the combined effort and resources of our two schools will produce better outcomes than relying each as a single school have led to some very successful collaborations between us.

A great example of this collaborative practice is the recent Kartini Day celebration in which our two schools worked together to create a program in which students grades in one through nine from both schools came together in a celebration of the ideals and values that Raden Adjeng Kartini stood for. One of our teachers Aron Vaughn worked closely with the Art and Bahasa Indonesian teachers from MZS to create collaborative activities such as mural painting, plays and dances that brought our two schools together for a wonderful celebration of the theme of Equality: All Life is Valuable. To all accounts, it was a great success with students and teachers from both schools learning and celebrating together.

Having the opportunity to collaborate with another IB school has afforded other benefits to our teachers and students such as:

-A greater ability of students to view situations from others’ perspectives.

-Creating an environment of active, involved, exploratory learning.

-Encouraging diversity understanding.

-Establishing an atmosphere of cooperation.

-Students develop responsibility for each other.

-The development of tolerance.

-The development of the ability to adopt perspectives and the understanding different from their own points of view.

Taking the opportunity to bring diverse students, teachers and schools together and providing opportunities to construct understanding through a collaborative atmosphere is at the heart of the PYP and one that we look forward to continuing in the coming years.