Tag Archives: IB-PYP

Unleashing Learning #2 Conference: Equity and learning…

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I recently attended the Unleashing Learning #2 conference organized and hosted by Mount Scopus. This is a conference by educators for educators. I noted that the conference had a different format, no keynote speakers, but these were replaced by a comprehensive variety of workshops and each day commenced and finished with inspirational talks. Was I inspired? Yes!

What can I share here that might spark your curiosity? What hook or new understanding has encouraged further reflection?

One notion, concept, idea that arose from Stephanie Thompson’s workshop was equity. Stephanie demonstrated how she collects data and uses this data to inform the culture of thinking in her classroom.

What is equity in the classroom?

Is it visible?

How does it differ from equality?

How did this concept relate to the other workshops?

Were there links to equity in ‘teacher talk’ during the conference.

Equality is treating all the same. Equity in education is where students are provided with what they need to be successful. What pedagogy has inbuilt equity?

‘Teacher talk’ is where educators learn from each other and not surprisingly equity came up in many of those discussions. One teacher talked about ‘lean in’ assessment… knowing a student, their story, their strengths and struggles. Another talked about being a ‘warm demander’. Having high expectations, differentiating the curriculum and making learning visible. All discussed the importance of planning and providing a program of learning which could be accessed by all learners. A program which allows students to respond using their learning tools and strengths.

Differentiating the curriculum, visible learning and allowing students to engage in learning using their own tools is fundamental to an education which intrinsically values equity. Equity includes the opportunity for students to show their understanding in ways they choose and to explore their interests.

Learner Agency

Cheers Nina

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Provocation: What force explains everything and gives meaning to life? A letter from Albert Einstein to his daughter Lieseral.

Lieserl, daughter of Albert Einstein gave 1,400 letters written by her father to the Hebrew University. Below is a letter from Einstein to his daughter.

When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us.
This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force.
Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it.
Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.
Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals.
For love we live and die.
Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation.
If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! “
Your father Albert Einstein

Cheers Nina

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IB-PYP Attitudes & Workplace Attitudes: How do you ‘grow’ attitudes?

workplace-bullying-1057606I’m a member of a number of teacher forums and have been surprised by the increasing number of teachers looking to leave our profession. Some of these teachers are still in their first years of teaching and some are very experienced. What I found confronting was… that it is not always the classroom, students, work load or parents creating issues, it is the behaviour of other teacher colleagues and the employment process!

Some comments I’ve received have come from teachers who have been through a competitive employment process within their school. Most have been retained by their respective schools, however, the process has left them feeling over whelmed, isolated and criticised.

Can you build a team environment and promote collaboration when the system of employment is ultimately competitive?

Please email me your thoughts. I receive more emails than comments on my blog and I’m hoping this will bring about future discussion.

How would you change the current system of school employment and is it even possible?

I  recently received a detailed comment from a teacher feeling bullied and isolated. How can this happen in an organisation and world which openly states bullying is not OK? Programs are in place to teach children that we do not tolerate these behaviours and there are consequences. What do you do if the behaviour is coming from a colleague?

All schools have beliefs/attitudes promoted within their community. When walking into a school or classroom these attitudes are clearly displayed for all to see and are crucial to the ethos of the school.

mile shoeThe IB -PYP has attitudes which are essential to the programme. They are: appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance.

These attitudes are taught, valued and embedded within the school curriculum and should be the ‘heart’ of the school. So how do educators ‘grow’ these attitudes in their students and within their community? How can schools insure and assess that these attitudes are embedded, valued and exhibited in the everyday actions of all community members.

How do educators ‘grow’ these attitudes within themselves?

Lots of wonderings here…but I think as learners teaching learners, we should all reflect on our interactions with others and hope that we have been the best we can be.

Maybe, before we think and say something, we should put on someone elses shoes on and go for a walk. Just saying…

Cheers Nina

 

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Powerful video & text: How one action prevented a youth suicide – Why the IB- Learner Profile should be lived and breathed by students, teachers and the community!

A psychiatrist friend shared this video with a message on Facebook…

‘It is something everyone should read – especially school kids.’

I always watch or read anything Angela shares because I know her work. The video is confronting, but so is youth suicide.

The IB -PYP clearly mandates that the Learner Profile is embedded into the curriculum. It is unpacked from the very first day of school.

All schools have values they embrace but I wonder how well the values are embedded across the curriculum. It takes time to unpack the Learner Profile with students in a real and meaningful way. The Learner Profile has to be lived and ‘breathed’ by students. It’s not a wish list, its part of what embodies an IB teacher, student and IB school community.

An IB school also has to meet the standards of the IB to be endorsed as an IB school. There are many checks and balances!

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This is an example of how I unpacked the Learner Profile in my classroom over a year. When a student really understands and lives the Learner Profile, they understand the impact of their ‘footstep’.

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‘Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life.

Thank you for sharing this video and text Angela!

Cheers Nina

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The teaching text we/I need! Just imagine…

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To the many teachers who contact me about the work of Angela Stockman and Steve Peha.

Just imagine having at your fingertips a writing text or texts which take you from curriculum design to implementation to assessment and where instruction is guided from student work… and written for the Australian Curriculum and other curriculums. That would be something because I know there’s a gap. Yes, there is some excellent material out there but it’s difficult to implement. Imagine…. if the text and extras were cloud based as well. I can!!

Just maybe, and I mean maybe, this could happen and I’ll keep all posted here! Fingers crossed!

Cheers Nina

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Student Agency Part 3: The Teacher

Student/Learner Agency is essential if we are preparing our learners for their future. Student/Learner Agency starts from a child’s first year of school for the teacher. In previous posts I’ve talked about the student and the task and now I’ve added the teacher. All three components are crucial to Student/Learner Agency. Student-Teacher-Task

The Role of the Teacher

Plans collaboratively for student needs based on a sound knowledge of curriculum and students.

Refers to the 5 essential IB elements – Knowledge, Concepts, Skills, Attitudes and Action.

Provides tools and strategies for students to be aware of, and monitor, their own learning e.g. pre-Assessments, continuums, rubrics, exemplars, etc.

Supports students to use evidence when personalising and revising their learning goals.

Clarify students’ misconceptions, in order to refine individual learning goals.

Discusses connections between learning goals, learning activities and assessment requirements.

Help students make sense of connections within and between curriculum areas.

Supports students to identify ‘stretch’ goals and set goals to achieve them.

Plans collaboratively to meet student needs based on a sound knowledge of exemplary teaching practice.

Develops students’ metacognitive skills by modelling the language of thinking, and providing tools and strategies to assist them to be aware of, and monitor, their own learning.

Monitors students for cues and notices when students need assistance.

Makes students responsible for establishing deliberate practice routines.

Provides students with a choice of learning activities that apply discipline- specific knowledge and skills including literacy and numeracy skills.

Facilitates processes for students to select activities based on agreed learning goals.

Supports student to select learning engagements that support their areas of strength and areas for development.

Ensure dialogue is distributed, so that teacher and students both take an active role.

Raises students’ awareness of the characteristics of inquiry and the process of inquiry.

Involves students in adapting the learning space to support everyone’s learning.

Shares responsibility with students for reinforcing agreed learning expectations and refers to agreed routines and protocols throughout the lesson.

Paces the lesson, giving students enough time to intellectually engage with the concepts, reflect upon their learning and consolidate their understanding.

Demonstrates respect for all students’ ideas and ways of thinking.

Negotiates group arrangements with students, appropriate to particular learning goals.

Designs activities that incorporate cross-curricular applications and real world connections.

Present concepts of the discipline in multiple ways to all students and identify diverse perspectives when presenting content.

Supports students to hold each other to account for their contributions to the group’s outcomes.

Facilitate students’ self-assessment by giving them tools to assess, and reflect on, their own work.

When articulating assessment requirements, the teacher uses examples of student work to demonstrate the expected standards.

Organises opportunities for students to articulate what they have learnt and to say which learning strategies are most effective for them.

Explain the taxonomy used to structure the learning activity and to inform the assessment criteria, so that students understand the intellectual demands of the task.

Provides students with opportunity to reflect critically on the strategies they have used to complete the learning task.

Negotiate assessment strategies with students, ensuring these are aligned with learning goals.

Supports students to assess their own use of academic language and measure their own progress in this area.

Support students to critique one another’s ideas, in order to increase the intellectual rigour of the conversation.

Uses a variety of formative assessment activities to help students assess their own progress.

Provides opportunities for immediate feedback. Kunyung PS

Cheers Nina

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Student Agency Part 2: The Task!

In the previous post I wrote about the behaviours of a learner developing Student Agency. In this post I’m describing the elements of tasks which empower Student Agency.

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Supports students to identify their learning goals

Encourages self-responsibility.

Allows students to be immersed in the possibilities open to them.

Provokes thinking beyond the known, opening up further possibilities.

Makes connections to appropriate tools e.g. pre-tests, continuums, rubrics, exemplars, reflection, etc.

Incorporates a variety of transdisciplinary skills.

Incorporates cross-curricular applications and real world connections.

Makes connections to previous learning, reflections and evidence.

Designed to allow students to achieve their learning goals.

Allows for connections between learning goals, learning activities and assessment requirements.

Provides a range of options for students e.g. teacher focus group, peer tutoring, hands-on, thinking routines, etc.

Develops students’ metacognitive skills, providing tools and strategies to assist them to be aware of, and monitor, their own learning.

Makes students responsible for establishing deliberate practice routines.

Provides students with a choice of learning activities that apply discipline- specific knowledge and skills including literacy and numeracy skills.

Allows for students to select activities based on agreed learning goals.

Allows for the use of the characteristics of inquiry and the process of inquiry.

Allows for students to intellectually engage with the concepts, reflect upon their learning and consolidate their understanding.

Allows for group arrangements, appropriate to particular learning goals.

Incorporate cross-curricular applications and real world connections.

Supports students to hold each other to account for their contributions to the group’s outcomes.

Supports students to generate their own questions that lead to further inquiry.

Supports students to use different representations to develop their understanding of particular concepts and ideas.

Incorporate cross-curricular applications and real world connections.

Includes multiple entry points.

Supports the development of academic vocabulary through oral and written construction.

Involves the community – parents, peers, other classrooms.

Various assessment tasks and tools for students to select from to assess and reflect on their own work.

Allows for a variety of thinking routines.

Promotes the use of evidence and assessment criteria to support assessment outcomes.

Provides opportunities for students to articulate what they have learnt and to say which learning strategies are most effective for them.

Allows for the critique of one another’s ideas, in order to increase the intellectual rigour of the conversation.

Builds in a variety of assessment, reflection and feedback systems (teacher, self, peer). Kunyung PS

Quality planning, accurate assessment, point of need learning goals and rich tasks are required to develop Student Agency. Part 3 will outline the role of the teacher.

Cheers Nina

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