where we are in place and time

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!


Creating “Ondel-ondel”

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For the grade 5 unit of inquiry on “Where we are in place and time”, students created “Ondel-ondel”, a large puppet that originated from the Betawi ethnic group. The unit of inquiry has the central idea, “exploration of land, sea and space can lead to discoveries, challenges and new understandings.”

1Our students designed “Ondel-ondel”, which was introduced by the Betawi tribe, the native inhabitants of Jakarta. It took two units of inquiry for the students to complete the male and female “Ondel-ondel” because creating the puppets involves a paper mâché technique, where students need to cover boxes with two layers of newspaper and kitchen tissue paper. After the students have completed the two layers, they need to cover the boxes with fox glue, let them dry, and then paint the boxes.2

The students worked in groups in creating “Ondel-ondel”. Last school year, each group, consisting of four to five students, designed the small version of “Ondel-ondel”. This academic year, however, students created the big type of “Ondel-ondel”.

For the big “Ondel-ondel”, each group consisted of 10 to 11 students. The learning engagement started with students’ research and investigation about the characteristics of female and male “Ondel-ondel”. After doing their research, students shared their findings about “Ondel-ondel”. When all the groups had presented their research, we summarized the characteristics of “Ondel-ondel”. Afterwards, students worked on their “Ondel-ondel” using acrylic paint.

3.jpgCreating the puppets taught the students to be inquirers and knowledgeable since students had to explore the history and characteristics of male and female “Ondel-ondel”.

Students also learnt how to work together, solve problems within their groups and respect each other. Furthermore, creating the “Ondel-ondel” taught the students to be responsible in finishing their artwork on time and taking care     of their art tools, including the need to clean them up before class dismissal.

By: Irma Dwi Savitri

Visual Art Teacher



PYP 6-A Journey of Lasting Legacy and Art

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Enthusiastic and willing to try new things, that’s the spirit that appeared when 73 PYP 6 Sekolah Ciputra students and 9 teachers journeyed to the city of art and culture, Jogjakarta, 4-7 October 2016. This is part of the PYP 6 program within the unit Where We Are in Place And Time.  The aim of the trip was for students to study the history, art and culture of along with ways to preserve Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage. . The city of Yogyakarta is an ideal choice because the people of Jogja carefully preserve their art and culture. Jogja also has a lot of  interesting historical and archaeological sites that the students were able to explore.  Jogjakarta is also a place where students can directly observe how culture unfolds in society, interact with cultural actors, and learn to appreciate the richness of their cultural heritage. The knowledge and experience that students gained during the study tour gave them important insights when they were challenged to analyze the significance of cultural heritage and how it connects to society in today’s life.

To learn about the elements of visual arts, the students visited the Kasongan village, known for its pottery and Batik Kelik for batik making. Students learnt to be creative in making and painting pottery.  At Kraton Yogyakarta,  Borobudur and Prambanan temples, students saw real examples of how culture is both preserved and experienced by today’s society.  At Padepokan Seni Bagong Kusudiardja,  gathering place for artists of Javanese culture, students were able to interact with artists and learn about creativity in dance and theatre directly from the experts is.

The most interesting experience was when the students visited the Tourism Village of Kebon Agung, just 1 hour from the city. In this village students interacted with people who still live traditionally in a rural setting. Students plowed a rice field and planted rice in a paddy. Moreover, students learnt various skills, such as Javanese gamelan, stringing coconut leaf, processing of rice, and making munchies ‘jemblem’.

The four-day study tour created a lasting impression on the students. In addition to gaining knowledge, they also learnt independence, self-management skills and appreciation for history. This was an important step for our students in learning to organize themselves and adapting to a different social life where the people still uphold cultural values. These life skills will be beneficial for them in the future.



PYP 6 Team Leader Sekolah Ciputra Surabaya




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PYP 2 students  just finished learning about how processes work in creating products, under a unit of HOW WE ORGANIZE OURSELVES.  Students had shown prior knowledge of some concepts, such as function,  change. process and product.  I sent the students a link of a movie that I made at the beginning of the unit. They have to discuss the movie with their parents at home. When they came back to school the next day, they came with some ideas to share, and were ready to classify some products that I brought from home.  I usually call this teaching strategy a Flipped Classroom approach.

Students were learning by  visiting a cow farm to feed the cows and goats, milk cows, and they went to  hydroponic garden to see the  examples of  the cultivation process.  They experienced processing the raw materials such as milk into pudding, or other materials such as paper into a story book or crafts that they made  in the classroom.

Distribution Concept

In the 4th week, students started to learn how products are distributed. It  still needed one more process to reach consumers.  I asked them to have a short chat with their neighbour about any products that they have used.  Then they explored some products made in other countries that my partner and I provided.  The students came up with the ideas of brand, package, location and destination of the products, and also the ideas of export and import.

Students have had enough experience to start to interview their parents and did some research to find more products which were exported or imported.  They watched movie to find out more information about it, too.

Showing a world google map is one of the strategies that  provoked the students to think about how products are distributed around the world. They were challenged to imagine how long  products to arrive in a destination by looking at the map.  They also thought about the transportation needed to distribute large amounts of products.  The students constructed their own conceptual understanding about distribution by finally making a flowchart of how they produced their own product at the end of the unit.



Sekolah Ciputra-Surabaya


Reenactment to Provoke Student’s Inquiry in Learning Indonesian History

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Do you remember how you used to learn about history? I remember memorising so many dates, so many names of heroes, so many names of places and so many other things that I had to memorise to pass the history test. But did I understand why the Diponegoro War happened? Why our beloved country is the way it is now? Why history can influence our life in the future? I am not so sure about that.

In our grade 4 unit of history, with central idea: “Understanding the history of a nation allows us to reflect within ourselves and build future nationalism”, the teachers were thinking about what would be the best way of provoking students inquiry. What would be the provocative activity to get them wonder, and thinking about what’s going on?

At the beginning of the unit, teachers dressed up as college activists with loudspeaker on, they gathered students and provoked them with yells and chants such as; “Turunkan pemerintahan! Turunkan harga sembako! Turunkan harga beras! Turunkan harga minyak! Turunkan presiden! Kami mau reformasi!”


Students were surprised with what’s going on, they followed the teachers to the Multi Purpose Hall, where there were some teachers, dressed as Indonesian armies, tried to block the mob. They all went through the big door, where there was a big paper with “Gedung MPR” posted on the wall. Inside, there was a podium in the middle and students sat on the floor, with the pretend college activists still yelled and chanted all those provoking words.

Suddenly, a very sad well known Indonesian song “Gugur Bunga” echoed and built a sacred ambience around the hall room. A teacher, dressed as President Soeharto gave his last speech of resignation. The Indonesian armies and police officers were behind him. It was the day when Indonesian Reformation happened. It was May 21st 1998.


The college activist cheered with happiness, followed by the students. It was like the day of victory.

And then what?

After the activity, students asked questions like; What was that? What just happened? What is reformation? Is that what happen to our country? Why the president did resign? Why people of Indonesia have all that demands? Why people of Indonesia wanted the president to resign? Can that happen again?

Actually, that were the questions that the teachers are waiting for! That is, a provocation activity all about. The goal to make students interested to the unit was succeeded. From that moment, the teachers and students went back to trace the Indonesian history, starting from May 1998 event, Indonesia’s Independence day event, and went a long way before that.

Students will think about Indonesian History, as an event that they never will forget because they experienced the events. And they don’t have to memorise the dates because they sure remember because they understand. Because history, is in the heart of the people, is in the heart of the students.

Marsaria Primadona (Pima)

PYP Coordinator

Courtesy of Year 4 Teachers

Sekolah Cikal

Our Tuning In Activity – Where We Are In Place and Time

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To help students connect to the unit: Human migration is a response to challenges, risks and opportunities, we started with students’ prior knowledge and experiences. This is what we called “tuning in” stage. The aim of tuning in is to get students thinking about what the unit is about.

What did the students do at the “tuning in” stage in this unit? This is what they did; they were asked to move to other classes. They had to gather with different teachers and students from other classes. In the new class, students studied with their new friends and different homeroom teachers.

The next day, students were given a chance to choose which class and activity they want to join. After they had finished with the activity, they came back to their own classroom and shared their feelings when they were forced to move to other classes and when they chose where they wanted to be.

Finally to get students to tune in is to reflect. Some guided questions were given to help students shared their feelings and experiences. Below are the questions:


  • How did you feel when you were forced to move?
  • Why did you think it happened?
  • What  were the changes?
  • What did you do to adapt to the situation?
  • How did you feel when you have a freedom to choose where you want to be?


Most of the students said that they were shocked, confused, and sad when they had to move to other classrooms. But when they were given freedom to choose where they wanted to be, they were so excited. They also were able to come up with ‘migration’ in our class discussion. Bravo kiddos!

Students did a reflection about the tuning in activity.

svp 4

Irma Mustafa

Homeroom Teacher of Grade 5 Barito



Connecting and Cultivating Relationships with Students

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By: Corita T. Silapan, Grade 5 Class Teacher and Level Head, BINUS SCHOOL, Simprug


During my first year of teaching primary children, I was very strict.  As a new teacher in an exclusive school for boys, all immensely rich and spoiled brats where some come to school in a helicopter and with at least two bodyguards because they are sons of the president, senators or congressmen, I was warned by some of the senior teachers. I lived by the principle “First impressions last”, and my understanding was students need to get that impression that I am very strict on the very first day of school. By that I have to make sure that they get my message: “You have to be quiet every single day. You can only talk if I ask a question.” My classroom was like a military camp – every single noise made during individual activity was dealt with seriously.  My lessons were straight to the point, meaning, there were no segue, purely business.

Purely business.  That was my relationship with my students was like. No personal conversations. No sharing of experiences. No storytelling. No connections.  I admit I was quite satisfied because I was not getting tired from teaching. Noise gives me migraines. I knew there was something missing, but I did not dwell much on the thought. When the school year ended, I celebrated. I thought I was successful as a primary teacher. The following school year opened, and most students were visiting their former teachers. No one came to my class. That hit me hard. I thought I must have misinterpreted the senior teachers’ warning. True enough, I did.

Fast forward. Like any other stories, I’m sure you can surmise what happened next. There was total transformation. Through the years, I have developed a stronger personal connection with my students and vice versa. I read books and articles on fostering positive student-teacher relationship.  I learned to praise students; be sensitive to their individual differences; include them in decision –making; give them support and constructive guidance; listen to their stories of fear, anxiety and happiness; and share my own personal stories with them. It is always noisy during class discussions, but I call it “positive noise.” It still gives me migraines, but I always have paracetamol or mefenamic acid on hand.

I want to share the most successful learning engagements I’ve done so far in terms of “getting personal” and being more connected with my students. Most of them are related to our units of inquiry:

Grade 1, Who We Are:

We were learning about family traditions, and I made a book titled “When I Was A Little Girl”. It contained information about our family activities when I was young. I also included some of our real family pictures depicting the activity. The grammar focus for this unit was past tense form of verbs, and I was able to link it to the unit.  For every page of my book, there was one sentence about an activity I did with my family when I was young. For example, “When I was a little girl, I went to the beach a lot”, “When I was a little girl, my father taught me how to play chess”, “When I was a little girl, I slept every afternoon because my parents said it would make me tall.” While I was telling the story, the children giggled and whispered to each other. They couldn’t believe seeing photos of me while I was young. I gave the children their chance to share their family practices among each other, and I was glad to witness the learning engagement that transpired- children all happy and excited.

Grade 2, Where We Are In Place and Timebinus 1

The focus of this unit were choices and decisions involved in a journey, changes experienced because of a journey, and impacts of journey on individual. I made a slide presentation of my journey to Indonesia, the first country I’ve ever traveled to. My slide presentation had the background song “Journey” by Lea Salonga and the students were surprised to know that the singer of Mulan’s theme song is from my country, Philippines. I shared with them why I made that choice (later on they learned that one of the reasons is “economic”) and the changes I experienced such as cooking and doing laundry on my own, learning to speak Bahasa Indonesia, living in an apartment for the first time, and having to adjust to the Indonesian culture. The students were shocked to know that it was my first time to ride an airplane! After the discussion, many of them approached me and asked me to tell them more stories about my journey. They asked how I like living in Indonesia. I reckon they were happy to hear the positive things I said about their country.

Grade 4, Who We Arebinus 2

Last Christmas with my father (Showed this photo to my students)

I am not sure whether my deceased father would be pleased or vexed with me for always using him as an example in this lesson. This unit is about body systems and impacts of choices of lifestyles. I would share a personal story to my students of how my father used to be a chain smoker who loved to eat just meat all the time. At the age of 57, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Two years after, he succumbed to the disease. I think telling the children a real story of the suffering of someone close to me was more convincing and had a more impact on their decision to live a healthy life. There was a lengthy discussion after this as children recounted how their family members also suffered from diseases.

There are other ways of teachers sharing more of themselves and connecting with the children. For example, sharing with the students how your weekend went and asking them how they spent theirs will set a positive mood for the week. The experiences need not be always positive. The students need to know that in real life, there are always desirable and undesirable events. Another example is filling in this activity sheet on the first day of school and sharing your responses with the children (e.g. favourite food, book and childhood memory, an accomplishment I am proud of, person I look up to, etc.). Starting with it will also help shy students open up.  binus 3

Reference: https://firstday.wikispaces.com/General

It’s been 13 years after that alarming realization, and I have changed a whole lot as a teacher. I still live by the principle “First impressions last” but in a totally different approach – not a commander but a friend, a counselor, a guardian, a mother, and a storyteller to the children. I still celebrate success every end of the school year, and I feel these successes are more genuine.