who we are

Year 5 Who We Are: Puberty and My Tweens’ Class

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Puberty is the life phase that will be experienced by every single person in this universe, and it is inevitable. Our PYP students are now facing this challenging moment. Some might be cherish it, while the others find it a never ending horror story in facing it. Therefore, the big question comes up, “How do we prepare our tweens students to be aware of their changes and being responsible of their own choice during puberty since it is considered Taboo in Indonesian culture?” Tricky topic? Indeed it is. Being involved in pre-teen drama is the least expected problem I need. Well, that is an irony as well, since I, as a Year 5 teacher will deal with it for the whole academic year, and I think I am not-so-ready-with-it. Things such as peer pressure, self or body image, crush matters, or even mood swing, will I be ready for a teenage conflict?

So that in this very first term, our Year 5 team decided to start the academic year with “Who We Are” as our pilot episode of UOI learning series. It came up with the compact central idea, which was “Awareness of the changes of our body allows us to deal and adjust with growing up.” Means that we were exploring the function of human reproduction system, physical and emotional changes during puberty, and responsibility of own choice as a pre-teen. Wow.. fancy and sounds sophisticated. Hold your breath..1..2..3..yeah how am I supposed to start with? This question keeps haunting me.  

First of all, I gained their prior knowledge by provoking them with a movie and the choice went to a movie entitled “Little Manhattan” starred by a young Josh Hutcherson who experienced emotional changes when he started having a crush with his classmate. It followed by reflection session using Six Thinking Hats as a tool. I prefered to use three hats out of six, the White Hat to gather the facts found in the movie, the Red Hat to relate students’ feeling and experience with the movie, and the Black Hat to share their concern related to the character changes in the movie and the connection with their own life. The responses were quite hilarious, when some of the students said they have experienced having a crush before and they were clueless about the sudden emotional changes happened towards the character. While few of them felt uncomfortable to see particular changes happens within the characters. The use of Six Thinking Hats itself helped me a lot with the reflection session, since each hat represented the information I wanted to gather from the children. It was also helped them to stay focus on the discussion topic.

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Next, we started the class discussion about what we were going to learn as the first UOI in this year and KWL charts is the best thing for me to start with. Well, in my opinion, it helped my students to show how far they know about the topic, as their prior knowledge and what made them curious the most, along the learning process. By the end of the learning, we got a chance to see how far they got the understanding by filling in the “what I learnt” column. I used this chart, after I revealed the topic and central idea of the UOI. Most of them related the puberty topic with some embarrassing stuffs and mostly emotional thingy and puppy love. I should say it entertained, should not I?

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After knowing what we were going to learn, we had a tuning process. This time I asked my student to draw a chart that shows their changes from Reception level up to Year 5. The chart needed to present their physical and emotional changes. Some of them admitted that their voices was changing by the time, they also get pimples or acne, and they were not really sure why the teachers asked them to have grooming kit in their locker. Well, before their curiosity being resolved, I found that some of the students find it hard to show and share their experience or being more puzzled towards puberty topic. Therefore, to cope up with it I had discussion with my students to make a special Essential Agreement with the pre-teens pals of our class. The essential agreement covered the essential points that as a scientist in this topic, they had to:

  • Respect the learning process,
  • Be open minded and talk appropriately as a scientist
  • Be a wise, smart and responsible inquirer

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As it was expected, it went well. Then, we were able to continue our learning journey with finding out process. It was included tons of activities to give them appropriate exposures for them by providing articles, guest speaker, videos and boys-girls talk time with school counselor. We had reading jigsaw that followed by filling up the graphic organizer based on the article they have read. Each group had three members and in the end of the session they had to present it in front of their friends. By having doctor and school counselor sessions, they had chances to find out more about their reproductive system. They were free to ask any kind of questions related to puberty that burden their minds privately, by sending it into a secret box provided by the teacher. Also we watched the video together as a group of boys and girls. Furthermore, we were seeking for how far they knew well about each organ in their reproductive system, so usually I got a quiz with them.

Besides, I also asked them to make a sketchnote based on what we have learnt. In creating the sketchnote, they needed to draw their understanding about physical and emotional changes happened during puberty while the other one I let them to have one different case based on their gender. The boys need to draw the process of semen production, while the girls need to draw their menstrual cycle. Their drawings were so splendid! This way was great to assess their understanding without having any worksheet to fill. Yeay! And the most important thing that the students enjoyed the activity because they did not have to follow the particular template to show their thinking process. They were free to make flow chart, mind map, graphic organizer, or anything they would like to create to express their thought.

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Other thing that we used to dig up more about puberty was making connection with their parents by having Out of School Project. We named it “When They were Young.” Students are asking to interview the parents about their parents’ puberty. This activity created a great bonding time for both, since the students also asked their parents for the advice to survive puberty. Furthermore, they had to report the reflection of this activity by making a video on flipgrid. Flipgrid was an educative online website where teacher and students can share a short video about assessed topic. It was so much like Instagram Story or Snapchat, but limited for those who had access to it.

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Hey.. we still had one more concept to go! Yes, “Responsibility”! Let them show how to be responsible by their own choices This was the part of going further step in the inquiry process.. I and the team found out that the activity called “Dear Emily.” It will be the best way to review and find out their responsibility as tweens who faces puberty. Basically, the students had a role as a columnist in a magazine. This columnist was in charge to reply the reader’s letter who is facing puberty. Emily should mention and explain what was exactly happen to the reader also give them advices. The other challenge I gave to my class, was to write their own letter with the puberty problem inside. It could be their real issue or they could make it up. Then, they were going to give the letter secretly to their friends by putting the letter in one of their friends bluebox. That was so much fun! The one who receives the letter should reply it as Emily reply her reader’s letters.

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Now, we are working on our product for this unit. The product is a piece of writing. The student may choose to write between two genres, fiction or nonfiction. Since, I integrated the unit with Language and Literature as well, and some other subjects such as PE, Religion, and Science. They will start with their draft and then develop it into the kind of genre they have chosen. Instead of having an open-ended test, writing an article or even fiction short story will show their understanding best. So far, my students had done with that graphic organizer draft and will continue to write down their draft.

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I was thinking that teaching this unit will be difficult as you have to be as open-minded  as you can. There were so many unexpected questions from my students, and I cannot take it for granted. There were also many social issues that came up in my class discussion, such as gender role as someone grow up, or gender phenomenon, or simply about the bird and the bees, which is not that simple to be explained. Well.. research and talk with the expert such as psychologist were what I and my team had done. We also communicated and have workshop with parents to have a super-close discussion with their children. Because indeed, this unit needs collaboration between every parties who stayed around the students. By doing a great collaboration, teenage conflict and curiosity were not that scary to be faced and can be a great topic to discuss with your students.

Lianisya (Ian) – Year 5 Homeroom Teacher (Sekolah Cikal Cilandak)

 

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Me, Myself, and Us

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As the first semester has been beginning, classes gathered to create groups of learners. Variety of students are divided into a well-considered composition of classes with proudly elected teachers to be their homeroomers. At this time of the academic year, multiple levels of adaptation are taking part and at Year 1 level of Sekolah Cikal. It is a moment to know our personal self through exploration, adaptation, and socialization process among students. We begin our new class with the unit about self-development that students learn about themselves, their preferences, strength, weakness, and how to be a better contributor. We believe it will build a foundation of togetherness as they get to know themselves and each other through the whole learning process. We get to know everybody and Who We Are.

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Becoming part of our school community, Year 1 students are already familiar with IB learner profile terms. This unit is explored deeper to understand each meaning and how we can characterize those profiles in every person. We take five profiles which are considerably closed to their daily lives. Those are Thinker, Risk-taker, Communicator, Reflective, and Open-minded. They showed their prior knowledge about the profiles mostly by defining familiar words such as “Think” in Thinkers means a person who likes to think, “Open” means open and “Mind” means our thinking so it is what we think openly about everything. “Take” is a familiar words and so is “Risk”, so a risk-taker is someone who is brave enough to take risk or, as they interpret it, challenges. They were less familiar with “Communicator” and Reflective” but through an interactive discussions we came up with a person who can speak his mind and feelings fluently (communicator) and a person who never hesitates to admit their mistakes or to apologize and evaluate the impact of their actions (reflective).

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Afterwards students were encouraged to identify themselves in those profiles through team-building games where we can see how they contribute best to their team. They chose the profile they thought it suit to them most and proved it through games. It was a beautiful experience to see our youngsters learn about themselves and evaluate their actions. After each game, we put on our reflective hat and discussed about what had happened in each group, what made them win/lose, how everyone contributed, and what problems they encountered during the process. They also acknowledged their team-mate’s contribution by telling that he/she was a Thinker in the group because their solution worked best to overcome the challenge. He/she was such a risk-taker to dare to do a trial and error experiment in the process or he/she was an open-minded person who appreciated the team’s opinion and encouraged them to reach an agreement about strategies they needed to apply.

To give you a glimpse of our team-building games. Herewith, some of the challenges that we provide.

  • Save the Egg. Each team are given an egg, a pile of newspapers, and a roll of tape. The challenge is they have to figure out a way to protect the egg using only the provided materials so the egg will not break when we drop it from our tree house to the ground below.
  • Move the Ball. Each team are given a golf ball and a chopstick for each person. The challenge is for them to move the ball from one spot to the other within 10-15 feet distance using only chopsticks. They are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands.
  • Pointy Stick. Each team are given a long stick. The challenge is to move the stick using only their index fingers together.

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In my class, this was a fun journey and they enjoyed it a lot. They also gained rich experience in working together and in making contribution. They learned about losing and talked about it, which is one of the special moments to be part of. They expressed their frustration when they failed but it became a precious moment to learn to be reflective and to be open-minded to appreciate others victory. It was also an “aha” moment where they learned more about themselves and to see that they had strength they didn’t know existed and weaknesses that they never seemed to realise before. We discussed it openly in respect and it was a success in blending them in as a ‘family’ where they start off as acknowledging each other’s strength and appreciating each other’s weaknesses. Something I personally think every group of people should start their relationship with.

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The most important part of this unit is how to improve. After a long journey of knowing and using their learner’s profile as the strength they are proud of, also opening themselves to learn about things to improve, the next question is how? How do we improve ourselves? How should we overcome our weaknesses? Is there a best way to use our strength to overcome our weaknesses? We start by asking how can we contribute better?

In pairs, they discussed about their weaknesses and brainstormed ideas about how to be a better contributor. They came up with conclusions like “I need to be more of a risk-taker because I am often too afraid to try”, “I need to be more reflective because I don’t like losing. It makes me angry sometimes”, “I often don’t know how to share my ideas. I am not a communicator”, and “I just don’t know how to do it. I often forget things. I need to be more of a Thinker”. We encouraged them to make plan on being a better contributor and try to translate it into actions. What can we do? “I will try to convince myself to try”, “I will read books so I can learn new words that will help me speak better”, “I will try to listen more and give my friends a chance to lead”. It may sound difficult to engage their minds into, what it may seem as, an in depth discussion. However it is not, because the topic is actually quite basic. It is all about them! Putting them as the center of discussion is a remarkable moment for their age and it will sure grasp their attention. By starting with what happened, the challenges, and brainstorming ideas on how to contribute better are led an open discussion with “What ifs” that is also initiated an interactive discussion in some classes. Of course, there might be emotional comments or critics even blame on a particular person, however it is a precious moment to teach them how to express their feelings properly. Help them use their words so it will never occur to their mind to put pressure on others inappropriately that might lead to bullying. It will be simple if we think less difficult.

Our biggest hope as teachers in this unit is to in-still a paradigm of respect and responsibility. We believe it will be a useful value for them to carry throughout life. To be a person who constantly think about how to contribute better, know best about themselves, and respect others. These are essential traits for lifelong learners of global citizen in the future. The bonus part is teachers get to think about our own strength and weaknesses too. The question of how can we contribute better may inspire and trigger creativity and challenge us to give more. When was the last time you think about yourself?

 

August 10th 2018

Niza – Year 1 Teacher (Sekolah Cikal Cilandak)

 

DIFFERENT TYPES OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES

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“Well begun is half-done”- Aristotle.

As the beginning of our first unit for the very first term, “Who We Are” it was time to know each other & also have an interesting prior knowledge to take the first step to drive into the IB inquiry path. Keeping in mind one of the lines of inquiry for the current unit, “Different types of multiple Intelligences”. I designed an activity through which we all should get acquainted with each other in the class as well as to understand how different we are from each other in the terms of multiple intelligences.

The students were given old magazines & newspapers from which they had to cut the nouns/adjectives which described them the best & then stick it on the outline of self portrait drawn by them(It also involved their drawing skills.)This was also a good way of integrating English & UOI under one theme.

Later they reflected on their work by discussing their pictures in the class. This helped them to comprehend that each one of us is smart in our own way & we all possess different intelligences. It was a very interesting activity as they all were completely engrossed & engaged in depicting their best.

HIME

ANGELENE

By

Ms. Smita Benuskar

Homeroom Teacher Grade 5

GMIS – BALI

Doing is Believing

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IB School aims at giving immense leverage and flexibility to students to apply their learning to real-life situations. PYP curricula prepare the students to explore, touch and feel things as they learn. We say,“ Seeing is believing”. In fact learning by doing is the best way for a learner to develop an enduring understanding of the concepts taught. Making models helps to develop their thinking beyond paper and pen keeping the three dimensions in mind.

I teach Grade 3 and while teaching body systems, I found that students will find it interesting to make models of some of the organs inside the body and visualize how they look like and work. Tuning in the students with different body systems, led by research and finding out more in detail about the role of these organs in our body systems, followed by a visit to the library and Bio lab helped them to gather more information by reading related books and seeing the models of vital internal organs. Now sorting the information and reaching a conclusion to make a model of different body system which led to taking actions of exercising and eating healthy food.

For a 3rdGrader to create a complex model is certainly challenging I was overwhelmed to see the innovative talent in a 7 -8-year child, bubbling with new creative ideas to discover something with their imagination and research. The students were able to demonstrate fine precision and understanding of a complex topic like body systems. By using easily available materials like play dough, balloons, bottle, cardboard, straw, wool, glue gun Styrofoam and paints etc they created models of body systems.

Researching ideas on the internet may not be enough unless it is applied. As a teacher, I always get to learn so much from these young minds how they use their tender muscles to create and build things applying fine motor skills. Then developing public speaking by explaining their project was noteworthy. I love to see the confidence of my students and variety of styles of presentation. Just leave them to do things by themselves, who knows there is an inventor in them. Most things are learned by experience.

A very famous quote by

“I hear and I forget I see and I understand. I do and I remember” – Confucius

 

 

 

By

Ms. Seema Narang

Homeroom Teacher Grade 3

GMIS – BALI

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!

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By

Ms. Reena Dhar

Homeroom Teacher Grade 3

GMIS – BALI

DIFFERENT TYPES OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES

Posted on

“Well begun is half-done”- Aristotle.

As the beginning of our first unit for the very first term, “Who We Are” it was time to know each other & also have an interesting prior knowledge to take the first step to drive into the IB inquiry path. Keeping in mind one of the lines of inquiry for the current unit, “Different types of multiple Intelligences”. I designed an activity through which we all should get acquainted with each other in the class as well as to understand how different we are from each other in the terms of multiple intelligences.

The students were given old magazines & newspapers from which they had to cut the nouns/adjectives which described them the best & then stick it on the outline of self portrait drawn by them(It also involved their drawing skills.)This was also a good way of integrating English & UOI under one theme.

Later they reflected on their work by discussing their pictures in the class. This helped them to comprehend that each one of us is smart in our own way & we all possess different intelligences. It was a very interesting activity as they all were completely engrossed & engaged in depicting their best.

HIME

ANGELENE

By

Ms. Smita Benuskar

Homeroom Teacher Grade 5

GMIS – BALI

Provocation Activities in the Beginning of New School Year

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At the beginning of new school year, PYP 2 are learning about healthy lifestyles under the Transdisciplinary Theme “Who We are”. They are exploring how the choices we make effect our health. We are focusing on the 3 main elements of health (Physical, mental and social). A part of our provocation activities were designed to allow the students to experience social health.

They started by getting to know their new friends and working collaboratively in a series of games. Students built a tower using straws and another with their shoes. This activity required time to share and accept ideas and requires cooperation and collaboration to deliver an effective design. The other game was a moving island. Students were grouped and needed to stay on a single piece of newspaper. They need to cooperate when moving the island (the newspaper) so that all people in the group could remain safe.

How the students work in team and what they were able to achieve together served as a good lead into the social health element. They could reflect on what it means to be part of a group and also where they fit in.

In the next part of their learning journey, they will build on these social health connections that have been made in the beginning of the school year.

Yulita – Year 2 Team Leader

yulita@sekolahciputra.sch.id