30 August 2011

What do PYP schools have in common?

Over the past two days we have viewed a video produced by the International Baccalaureate to show some ways of learning you can expect to see in a PYP school. 
After viewing this film students shared their observations with a partner (Pair Share) and then with the class. We observed that:

  • If we don’t have school we won’t be smart in the future
  • Children have more possibilities to learn, not just writing down on paper, e.g. if you’re learning about rubbish you would go to a rubbish centre
  •  IB schools are trying to make leaders in a changing world
  • Everyone should be principled and included
  • Even if someone looks different or speaks another language you should respect them
  •  The children that learn in the PYP school can have more possibilities. Children say school is fun.
  • Doesn’t matter where you come from, you should be respected
  •  We’re not doing text books, like sheets with one apple plus two apples is three. You’d actually go to the forest and use the apples. It's actually doing.
  •  It doesn’t matter from where you come or your skin colour.
  • Not just learning for a test, but for life
We then went on to explore one of the most important and distinctive features of the IB PYP, the six transdisciplinary themes.

''These themes are about issues that have meaning for, and are important to, all of us. The programme offers a balance between learning about or through the subject areas, and learning beyond them. The six themes of global significance create a transdisciplinary framework that allows students to "step up" beyond the confines of learning within subject areas.'' IB website
  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

We visited our 'wall' in the reception that shows these six areas of learning. It is called our programme of inquiry and every PYP school has one. 
We brainstormed in groups to think about what areas we thought could be explored under each of the six themes. 

Then we compared our wall and the descriptions to discover what is in our school programme of inquiry. Students then taught each other about their group theme through a short presentation. 

After the presentations we discussed what makes a successful presentation. We noted that we had all introduced the main theme, voices were generally loud, well paced and clear, some students used humour, all students spoke and the groups had organised the order of speaking. The audience were respectful and active listeners. 

Most of our learning in school is taught through these six themes each year. It is really important that the students understand how their curriculum is constructed and how it fits together over the years. Each year we study six units of inquiry, each from one of the transdisciplinary themes. Please visit our wall and find out what's coming up this year in the Middle Primary Class. Personally, I think it's a really exciting mix of ideas and inquiries to engage the students and teachers through the year.

Here's to a great year of learning!

29 August 2011

Your First Learning Log

This evening you are bringing home your first Learning Log of the year. Your task is set out below. Follow the instructions carefully and ask if you need extra information.

Learning Log Task:
  1. Choose one of the ten Learner Profile attributes. 
  2. Set up a scene with you illustrating one of the attributes. 
  3. Check the photograph criteria we created in class together pasted below.
  4. Ask a parent to take a photograph. 
  5. Print it out and stick it in your Learning Log.
  6. Also email the photo to your teacher or bring it on a memory stick etc.
  7. Write a paragraph describing what is happening in the photograph and explain how it is connected to the attribute. (For example: In this photograph I am a ............)
  8. Use a line guide behind the blank page. 
  9. CHECK through the task to make sure it's your best work.
  • Your photograph must have you in the picture.
  • You might have other people in the photograph too.
  • You need to show one of the attributes.
  • Think about the background.
  • Make sure you have good light.
  • It can be in colour or black and white.
  • Your photo should be no bigger than A5.
  • No 'photo shopping'.
  • No down loading photographs. This should be an original photograph.
  • You can research for ideas, but the photograph is your creation.
  • Keep still when taking the photograph.
  • It can be inside or outside.
The Learner Profile:

Inquirers - vragenstellers
Knowledgeable - geleerd
Thinkers - denkers
Communicators - communicator
Principled - met hoogstaande principes
Open-minded - onbevooroordeeld
Caring - zorgzaam
Risk-takers - risiconemers
Balanced - evenwichtig
Reflective - nadenkend

Date due: Monday 5th September

24 August 2011

Our Unit: The Learner Profile

Today we launched into our new unit of inquiry The Learner Profile. As a school following the philosophy and curriculum framework of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, each class explores six transdisciplinary themes over a year. We are starting off with the theme Who We Are

Our central idea or the big understanding we are aiming to develop is:

The learner profile is a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate and focus the work of a school community.
We worked together with the Seniors to explore two questions. I've posted some of the responses below:

What is a PYP school?
  • This is a PYP School
  • PYP schools have the learner profile
  • It is a system
  • PYP is the Primary Years Programme, it is a way of learning
  • More freedom to learn and different ways of showing learning
  • PYP leads to MYP which leads to Diploma
  • 3 programs cater for ages 3 to 18
  • Learning by playing, discussing and ``doing``
What is the Learner Profile?
  • Something you can do to improve
  • Helps you learn...helps connect you to people
  • Describes how good you are in different lessons
  • Set of Attributes or profile that describes things that are important in the school
  • Relates to units, things that people in IB school try to be
  • Consists of attributes:

As a pre-assesment to find out what students knew or understood at this point, I asked each student to brainstorm their explanations and ideas about the Learner Profile. Our classroom wall is now covered with their ideas. We also found out some of the vocabulary in Dutch and discovered links between German, English and Dutch.  

23 August 2011


We would like to welcome you all to the new school year in the Middle Primary Class. All the students made a great start today. We begun by making flags of places we feel connected to and decorated our classroom door to feel immediately at home with the finished flags. Next we introduced ourselves and then we had a safety chat about moving around our new surroundings with the Seniors. We ask that students move on the right when going up and down the stairs. We also explained that if a student was late in the morning, they would need to report to the ground floor reception first. We then opened the year with a writing task. Each student wrote to us to let us know about their interests, plans and goals for the coming year. It was interesting to know where each student would like some input from us, so we can take this into account when planning.

After a new routine for eating down at Teuflibach, we returned to think about how we could work together to make our classroom community safe, inclusive and respectful. Each student's ideas will go into formulating our classroom Essential Agreements. Here are some photographs of the students making their 'Y charts' together:

We have been delighted to see students making new friends in class and helping each other out. It promises to be a great year.

A few things to know for the week:
Wednesday: Music
Thursday: Swimming
Friday: Gym

Ms Judy and Ms Adele