Student Reflections: What does principled really mean? Preps and a Lotus Chart.

The IB aim is to develop ‘internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet help to create a better and more peaceful world.’ Source IBO

The IB Learner Profile – Students strive to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced and Reflective.

This post outlines the journey it has taken to get 5&6 year olds to understand what principled means.

The IB states: Principled-‘They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.’

Whoa!’ Unpacking this with Prep students (first year of formal schooling in Australia) has been a challenge. Separating the principal of the school and the word principled has been difficult. In the end I decided that I had to work the principal (school) into the unpacking.

Conversation: As a class we have been discussing the questions below for a number of weeks.

What is a school principal?

Prep Answer: The leader of the school.

What is a leader?

What does a good leader do?

A good leader is principled.

What does principled mean?

How does a principled leader act?

And …it worked. After grappling with this concept, I think (hesitantly) that my students are ‘getting it’.

How do I know? Reflection Activities – What do I know?  The children were put into mixed ability groups to talk about and record their thoughts (words & pictures) about the following.

 A good leader is principled.

How do they act?

We used a Lotus Chart tool. The children and I completed a whole grade Lotus and then  students were asked to complete an individual Lotus. They could use words, pictures or sentences to show their understanding. The photos below show, not only their ability to successfully use a lotus chart but their developing understanding.  I scribed after my students completed their reflections.




This is an example of thinker’s writing. It’s not safe like a journal, new words are recorded and true risk-taking is evident. This is a small selection of my grade and I have selected examples across displaying a range of abilities. Hope you enjoy reading their ideas.


P.S The beauty of the Lotus is, that any of the filled squares can become the centre of a new lotus and be unpacked again and so on….

Cheers Nina

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