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Assessing the IB PYP Concepts Through Reflective Thinking

In our ever-evolving educational landscape, fostering student voice and agency is at the forefront of creating engaged and lifelong learners. At the heart of this endeavour lies the importance of concepts, which serve as the backbone of the IB PYP curriculum. Concepts not only deepen understanding but also empower students to take ownership of their learning experiences. You can read more about developing conceptual thinkers and inquirers here. 

I'm excited to introduce a powerful approach to enhance reflection and inclusive assessment in the IB PYP through the lens of conceptual awareness.

Conceptual Awareness: Empowering Student Voices Concepts are the threads that connect all the transdisciplinary themes and disciplines within the IB PYP framework. They provide a unique platform for students to engage in meaningful conversations, provide constructive feedback, and transfer their understanding across various facets of their education. By nurturing conceptual awareness, we can...

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Planning Through the IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills

The IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills are a BIG deal! We think of them as the tools that support independent learning, amplifying the journey as the children progress with their development of those 21st century skills. And it is so important to identify those skills and then acknowledge them. Transparency is key. 

The functional language or action words help us when planning through the ATL skills with the children, to assist with recognising the skills in use, being able to transfer those skills authentically and connect the purpose to their learning meaningfully. Read on for practical ideas and tools for assisting with co-planning through the IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills and watch the video where I share practical strategies for including the children in the planning process.

As you know, the PYP aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more...
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Implementing Visible Thinking Routines in the IB PYP

When it comes to reflection and assessment of our IB PYP transdisciplinary inquiries, we are fundamentally assessing the abstract; understanding of concepts, transfer of knowledge and development of skills. These are not things that can be monitored with multiple choice assessments. (If you'd like to explore more about assessment in the PYP, start with this article here. ) Part of our assessment strategies include on-going documentation of the learning process, which includes the children's thinking and this is where the valuable visible thinking routines assist. I am delighted to welcome my guest writer, Jahnavi Aswani, a homeroom teacher-facilitator with PYP 3 from Mount Litera School International, Mumbai. She is bringing her experience with visible thinking routines and practical ideas to share with our community. As you read through Jahnavi's article, consider the Approaches to Learning Skills that are put into practice within the different thinking routines. Read on for some...
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Surviving Report Cards in the IB PYP School

Love them or hate them, report cards are a much-needed communication for all involved. The IB PYP report card gives you a road map of the standards your student is working on together with those abstract elements that are essential parts of the whole child. If you're new to the PYP report card, it can look a little overwhelming, bordering on an essay in some schools! (I am not kidding!)  However the format, the report card provides an opportunity to look closely at each child’s journey of their learning and, most importantly, from a whole child perspective. If you're looking for some guidance and a free set of report card comments, read on.

The Whole Child Approach

Every child meets or exceeds expectations on a different day at a different time, or quite possibly a different year. The expectation we have to emphasise with learning standards is that it's a journey, not a race.

The expectation we have to emphasise with learning standards is that it’s a journey, not...

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Bringing Student Agency into Assessment in the IB PYP


Student Agency and Inclusive Assessment

Over the years, Ive chatted about inclusive assessment as a practice that needs to become embedded within any student-led, inquiry-based classroom. This message has been spread far and wide that this is a really important part of our daily routine. The IB themselves shifted towards on-going reflection, we have student agency as all the buzz ( and hallelujah for that!), numerous educators within our community are sharing their rationale for the value that inclusive assessment brings and none of this could have come a moment too soon. Yes, its that vital.

If we consider assessment as a key element within education, then we have to reconsider the role our students play within that element.

If you'd like to catch up with my 3 part series of articles,  you can link to those here. They cover the form and function of assessment in the inquiry-based classroom, together with  strategies for developing inclusive assessment in your...

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Reflection in the IB PYP- A Journal for Self Discovery

A brand new year is upon us once more! And a  new year is always a good time for self reflection. (I have spoken a lot about reflection within the IB PYP and offered multiple strategies that can be used in previous posts. You can read more about that further on.) But with this post, I’m focusing largely on self-reflection; developing reflective thinking skills within the children and ultimately bringing each child a greater awareness of their own Learner Profile and personal, social and emotional development.

With reflection having been removed from the IB key concepts and student agency being a key focus lately, I felt that there was a need for us to maintain this big idea of reflection throughout our learning environment and certainly within the process of inquiry based learning itself. I wanted my students to be able to understand the importance of reflective thinking and it’s role in self-assessment and the inquiry process, not to mention personal, social and...

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Assessment and Student Agency in the IB PYP

I recently attended an IB ARMS ( Rocky Mountain Association of IB World Schools) symposium in Denver and found myself in an interesting conversation regarding student agency.  I think that the current buzz word student agency must be recognised for its role of bringing greater awareness to our role of giving the children more pertinent opportunities to use their agency. In other words, providing the children with more authentic chances to use their voice, make choices for themselves, both collectively and as individuals, and to encourage ownership for their own learning. So, let’s look at the area of assessment and how we, as the facilitators, can increase the children’s’ involvement with this part of their learning cycle.

Since this is a lengthy subject, I’m going to break it down into 2 parts. I will also be including free samples of assessment tools. If you’d like to follow along, please add your e mail...

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Assessment Strategies for the IB PYP

Hello again! If you’re following on from part 1 of this conversation, Assessment and Student Agency in the IB PYP, then welcome back. If you missed part 1, you can link to it above if you wish.

Assessment in the PYP classroom has so many different looks to it. Some schools where I have taught have to complete the standardised testing that is required by their school district but most IB PYP schools use a myriad of tools to assess the children, including teacher created tests, formative assessment tools and activities and,of course, the unit summative assessments.

I have listed some of my go-to favourite inclusive formative assessments that encourage self & peer assessment, promoting agency and, not only assess the children’s’ knowledge but also the ATL (Approaches to Learning) skills that they are developing on their journey to becoming avid, independent life long learners. Take a look and hopefully you’ll find something new to try...

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Student-Led Assessment and Student Agency in the IB PYP

Hello again! And welcome to the third part of our conversation of assessment in the IB PYP classroom.  If you’re just joining me, welcome to the end of this conversation about assessment and student agency. You can read parts 1 and 2 right here, if you want to keep it all in context.

Peer reflection and planning the assessment

Following on from part 2, which listed ten forms of inclusive assessment for an IB PYP classroom, I wanted to complete this 3 part conversation on assessment with ways to record the evidence gathered from assessment activities.

By gathering evidence about ongoing student achievement, the evidence can assist both teachers and students in making judgements about their progress and accomplishments of standards and outcomes. It also provides feedback about how each child can improve their skills and their learning. The following list of inclusive assessment activities can be used by teachers and students collaboratively...

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The IB PYP Student Portfolio

Hello there! In this article, I will cover the different formats of a commonly used document of learning across the IB PYP: the student portfolio. I'll share my experience with the value and function of such a document and how to incorporate reflections across the content and the elements of the PYP framework.

Function: The Purpose

With the fact that every school has a responsibility to maintain evidence of students’ learning, the PYP Portfolio acts a source for collecting, recording and storing the evidence. The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) emphasises student agency, inquiry-based learning, and holistic development and the student portfolio plays a crucial role in the PYP. While it is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged and considered an essential part of the programme.

The PYP portfolio serves as a source for collecting, recording, and storing evidence of students’ learning.

Its purpose is multifaceted:

  • Documenting Learning: The portfolio...
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