Parent communication is crucial in any school. Communicating with parents ensures parents are informed about their child’s education, including the curriculum, upcoming events, school expectations, homework, etc. Consistent, effective communication that is easily accessible is key to getting parents on board.
This year at ACG School Jakarta, we have introduced Weebly sites as our main form of parent communication. Each classroom or year level has a site that is updated at least once per week. Each site is organized in the same way, so that parents of children across year levels are able to find information easily, but the content is specific to the class or year level. On our sites, we have upcoming events and reminders, our Learner Profile of the Month focus, a blog about the learning happening in class, photos, useful links, weekly home practice, unit of inquiry information, class schedules, and more.
Check out a few of our sites here:
In addition to our class and year level sites, each specialist group also has a site with information relevant to their subject area. Their blog entries showcase the unit of inquiry integrations they have been working on at the moment. In order to give more information related to the PYP and the programme as a whole, we also host a PYP Coordinator site, which includes a blog, a page for each Learner Profile of the Month, the programme of inquiry, and links to support parents.
Check out these specialist sites:
Parent feedback on this new form of communication has been wildly positive. We are excited about continuing to grow our sites, and learn more ways to share the great things happening at ACG School Jakarta with our parents!
Jennifer Kesler, M. Ed.
Head of Primary at ACG School Jakarta
I have been fortunate to have been involved in developing, managing and improving the assessment system in my school. During that time, I have seen and still see some misconceptions about assessment in the PYP, especially in terms of what is formative assessment and how student portfolios can be used as a tool for formative assessment. Based on the IB PYP definition, formative assessment should be interwoven within the teaching learning process and aim to improve planning for the next stage of learning; however many teachers still misunderstand this purpose. Rather than use student portfolios as part of formative assessment or a documentation of the students’ learning process, many teachers still use portfolios as a showcase for best learning products rather than as a documentation of learning process.
At the moment, we are working towards improving our formative assessment practices and we have adopted a single online platform for use across the school to support our learning in the area of formative assessment. We are currently is using Seesaw as a platform for students’ learning journal or portfolio. Based on my experience, I would like to propose some reasons why Seesaw (or any other online portfolio platform) is a great way to document learning and help to improve our formative assessment practices:
When using seesaw, teachers and students will be encouraged to focus more on the process of learning. We can post students’ learning journey any time instead of only posting the final result of learning. Teachers do not need to wait until the end of the unit to upload the students final product which is usually a summative product. Whether it’s a evidence of best work or evidence toward achieving goals or even a product that was particularly challenging for a student, posting it will inform parents and students about students’ progress.
The documentation is done when learning is happening and when students are actually showing their understanding. Authentic assessment become easier because this online platform provides tools for capturing the learning process and current thinking as it is happening.
3. Instant feedback
Feedback is really important to support students’ learning. By using Seesaw, feedback can be given by peers, teachers and parents directly to the student at anytime, using the Seesaw app. Feedback is the soul of formative assessment and this benefits not only to students’ learning but also give valuable information to all parties involved in the learning process.
4. Multimedia and technology
It supports 21st century learning skills. Learning can be documented in various formats: photos, videos, drawings and voice notes. Using the app, teachers and parents are able to give feedback not only using text, but also voice notes.
5. Safe and reliable
Formative assessment and feedback should be private for each student. The learning journey documentation is also kept secure within the school community. It is also fast and reliable which makes formative assessment more effective and efficient.
This article is not an advertisement for a certain online portfolio provider (in this case: Seesaw), but it is a sharing of knowledge and insight that might be helpful to those who have not tried to step into the 21st century world of education. An online portfolio platform is just a tool that helps us to improve the assessment system, but whatever tool that we use, the most important thing is still our understanding of assessment itself. It is important for our PYP beliefs or philosophy of assessment to be reflected in our practice.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Copy the link of the file, video, website or social media page that you want to share.
- 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.
- 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
Sekolah Cikal Cilandak
The PYP librarian roles in PYP is nurturing internationally-minded, lifelong learners and readers. Those roles are expanded more than either collection maintenance and development or circulation & reference service.
Cikal Baca-Baca is how we called our library. The transformation of library function has challenged to the librarians because there were paradigm shift to move up from a conventional library to 21st Century Library.
Our library programs have been developing progressively by collaborating to Unit of Inquiry and integrated to some subjects. Those programs are happened as a valid result of working together with cross level teachers to support any teaching and learning process at school. There are two activities students could learn and explore ; Library and computer visits for learning library and research skills . Those visits are the students gain skills about how to get information from any platform of paperback or online. The students hopefully could differentiate which information is credible, relevant, reliable and current or if it is phony and bias. Those skills are fundamentals for independent learners anywhere they are whether it is for learning or pleasure.
The spread of powerful mobile devices has put the World Wide Web at our fingertips. So, what changes of the horizon for…LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE. Students explore how the internet could give them amazing ways to collaborate with other people and subjects. However they do not realize about how much important of internet safety is as a lead to be digital citizenship. Being a good digital citizen is more than knowing their way around the web. It is about connecting and collaborating in ways they did not even know were possible and also give credits any information by citing sources.
The library of 21st provides a welcoming space to collaborate, creative, explore, innovate among students, teachers and community by bringing physical and digital learning.
Teacher-Librarian Sekolah Cikal Cilandak