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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 the IB PYP Learner Profile to Life

What kind of a learner are you? Consider the question. Are you more of the lion type of learner or perhaps you're more of the hamster? This is a simple activity that I use at the beginning of the school year, as we are getting to know, not only our class community but also ourselves. As I am building this community of  learners, I want them to have a greater understanding of who they are as learners and to recognise and appreciate our diversity.   And that, as we know, all stems from the IB Learner Profile. Let's begin with an inquiry into who we are as learners.

  With a simple question and fun images, the children are asked to relate themselves to the pictures. You can choose to use words or simply begin with only the images. This adds to the thinking. I have done it both ways, depending on the students abilities with language, the vocabulary of the PYP and their thinking skills etc. Ask them: Are you more of a lion when it comes to learning, or are you more...

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Mindfulness in the Classroom – An IB PYP ATL Skill

 

What is mindfulness exactly? And why would we need mindfulness in the classroom? According to Wikipedia, mindfulness is:

  • a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
  • the quality of being aware or conscious of something

When I consider those definitions in relation to mindfulness in the IB PYP classroom, the key words that jump out to me are:

being aware, focusing, present, accepting, feelings, thoughts, therapeutic. 

Connecting with the Learner Profile

All very similar to being reflective, don't you think? Since we have a whole child approach to teaching, this makes perfect sense that we would help to develop awareness of self as an approach to learning. If we think about how many attributes within the the Learner Profile align with mindfulness, we can then see how, through taking time to explicitly teach mindfulness...

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5 Things You Don’t Have To Do As A PYP Teacher

When it comes to being an inquiry teacher and an IB PYP teacher, there are a bazillion articles and blog posts and podcasts and books telling us what we can do: become an effective facilitator, research new curriculum,changes to practices, to assessment etc. etc. and on and on,  all while making sure we follow through with the latest buzz words -this is all well and good and no doubt valuable. But sometimes it becomes, and I'm speaking from personal experience, totally and utterly overwhelming.  Well, to add a variation to the theme,  I'm here today to tell you what you DONT have to do! :) Ready? Here goes. You DON'T HAVE TO.......

1. Give Feedback Daily

But how will I know if they are meeting the objectives? How will I know they understood the concepts? What if they are falling behind?  These are a few of the questions that I used to ask myself back in the days when I was rushing around in a stressed out state, trying to ensure that I had enough evidence of...

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Student Agency, Engagement & Independent Inquiry in your IB PYP Classroom

Well, let's talk (again) about student agency and how to increase it within your classroom. Keeping in mind that it is far more than flexible seating and independently gathering resources, and more about giving the children voice, choice and action in their own learning, I'm heading straight to student engagement and developing independent inquiry. And there's a FREE sample for you too.

Student Engagement: So, What Does It Really Mean?

Student engagement is a challenge that each of us has encountered at some point within every year. It’s a lot to expect children to devote their full attention to school for eight hours straight. It is natural that they will lose focus at times, but there are strategies we can use to help them to increase this Self-Mangement skill of maintaining their focus.  It’s also important to remember that engagement also involves interest, curiosity, and motivation. Are you familiar with Phillip Schlechty's five levels of engagement? His...

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The IB PYP Student Portfolio

Hello there! It feels like its been a while since our lengthy conversation on Assessment Practices in the IB PYP. I’d like to wrap it up with a chat about the Student Portfolio and the role it plays with inclusive assessment. I will cover the different formats, the value and function and how to incorporate reflections by Pre-K/Early Years children. 

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.

It is particularly important that the children, right from the very beginning, understand the purpose and value of their portfolio. We want them to understand that this is an on-going, working document that is specifically used to document their learning, progress, accomplishments and challenges. It is more than simply a task to be completed at the end of every unit. Equally important, is the...

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