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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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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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Tips for Sharing the IB PYP with Parents

Engaging the families of our IB PYP students and getting them on board is so important for all involved and not least for bringing that cohension to our learning community. Often times, it is the parents in our learning community who are the last to understand what exactly it is that we do. I receive many questions and requests from teachers, coordinators and school leaders who are presented with this job of bringing the PYP to the parents. Do any of the questions below sound familiar?

So, what exactly is the PYP?

How is my child actually learning?

What do you mean that you're a FACILITATOR?

I'm a little concerned about this student-led inquiry thing?

Well, here's my advice for you if you've been given the soapbox to step upon and deliver the message of why we encourage inquiry based learning, support student agency and proudly fly the flag of being a PYP school.  These tips are designed with ideas to pick and choose. Obviously, what you do depends on time, space and your...

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Developing Thinkers & Inquirers in the Early Years IB PYP

 

The early years in the IB PYP can be a whole new experience for teachers new to student-led inquiry. It is a beautiful mix of play-based exploration,  guiding invitations leading to inquiry and  provoking wonder all led by the children's natural curiosity.

I do not profess to be an expert with this age-group. Having never taught in an early years classroom, it amazes me when I see creative early years teachers working their magic and bringing the elements of the PYP seamlessly into practice with our youngest learners.

Common Challenges

I often hear from early years teacher-facilitators that their challenges include questioning and developing this skill with the children.  Such struggles include:

  • How do I get the children to ask meaningful questions?
  • How can we use thinking strategies with such young children?
  • They can't  read or write, how do I plan for inquiries?
  • They're too young to ask good questions.

Perhaps you can relate to one or a few? Well, I am...

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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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6 Steps to Setting Goals with IB PYP Students

Its that time of year again……reflection, fresh starts, new beginnings and goal setting.

A New Year or even a new school year, is an exciting time to gather as a class community and to think about all the dreams and goals that everyone wants to make come true. When we begin with this type of thing, it’s a great idea to just make a list of ALL those aspirations. Dream boards are fun ways to do this. I make one every single year! Dream BIG! Think beyond school! Just get them thinking forward.

 

Now, in order to make this list meaningful rather than a forgotten exercise within a few days, we need to encourage the children to turn those dreams into goals.

                                       

Dream boards or vision boards are simple and fun ways to just go ALL out and dream! Goals begin with dreams.

As adults, we know the importance of...

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Implementing Student Agency in the IB PYP

When I first started writing this post, my intention was to jump straight into ideas for implementing student agency in our PYP classrooms. Then I got to thinking that maybe not everyone is wholly familiar with the PYP’s enhancements to be released this year. (2018) And so, I thought I’d take a step back, try to clarify the term “student agency” and go from there.  So, bear with me if you’re up to date with the shifting and changing going on. The ideas follow the chat.  Otherwise, grab a cup of tea and read on.

 

Form: What is agency in the enhanced PYP?

Even though the term “student agency” is the new buzz word regarding our learners in the PYP, it really isn’t altogether new. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not a brand new change but rather a shift towards a greater emphasis of providing more deliberate autonomy for our students, thus developing leadership. This form of leadership can be...

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Using Interactive Bulletin Boards in Your IB PYP Classroom

 

I am so excited about this new tool for IB PYP classrooms! The interactive bulletin board offers so much and can quite literally become the learning hub for many of the approaches to learning skills, the unit of inquiry or a specific curricular area, all centred around the Learner Profile. It promotes international mindedness, communication skills & accountable talk, builds the attitudes of independence, tolerance and  confidence, to name a few, and encourages student agency in our classroom. This tool does it all!

Form : What does it look like?

 

The Learner Profile, being the centre of the IB PYP, is also the central part of this interactive bulletin board display. The  posters  with the Learner Profile descriptors are actually pockets. They are cute and colourful, with the usual kid-friendly description of what it means to be a learner through each trait.

 

These pockets can be stapled or pinned to your board at a kid friendly...

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Planning the IB PYP Unit ……with the Kids!

It never fails to amaze me, when given the opportunity to take the lead, how much our students rise to the challenge. With the enhancements to the IB PYP having recently been unveiled, I felt that this would be a great time to address co-planning the unit…..with your students as your co-planners!

Encouraging greater student agency in your classroom is more than simply listening to the student voice. In my previous post  about implementing student agency, I mentioned the difference between passive learning and active learning. Allowing the children to actively contribute to the planning of their own learning, absolutely promotes meaningful student involvement.

The unit of inquiry has been planned  in a variety of ways over the years:

  • teachers develop a skeleton plan and complete it as they are informed by the childrens’ inquiries and progressing knowledge.
  • teachers may collaboratively develop the unit with their team, before...
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Journey Through the IB PYP Exhibition

The IB PYP Exhibition! The big event that culminates the PYP for the children, where they get to showcase all of their learning of the Essential Elements! If you are an upper grades teacher, you either love it or you dread it! Regardless of how you feel about it, we cannot take away from the incredibly valuable experience it brings to all involved. Personally, I love it!

I’m really excited  to share this article with you. It is FULL of practical tips, a free video sharing steps through the PYPX and a valuable resource that I created specifically for the IB PYP Exhibition.

I was recently a guest speaker with Vasileios Iosifidis, The PYP Traveller, on You Tube. Being an experienced PYP teacher himself, Vasilis shares a TON of great stuff on his You Tube channel.  I have added his video for you, a few paragraphs down.

Guest speaking with The PYP Traveller.

But first, whether you are experienced or brand


new to the Exhibition, I have created a tool...

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