Welcome to the International School of Tanganyika’s PYP Website. Here you will find what’s happening with developments in the Primary Years Programme, curriculum, examples of student work and much more. Please check back often and feel free to leave us a message with your ideas, links and good thoughts. Asante!
Our very own Ms Brook has been published in the IB World Magazine!
IB learners strive to be caring
They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
This is often seen as the most straightforward and easy to implement of the Learner Profile attributes. However, there is more to consider than it might at first appear. Being kind and friendly certainly fall under the umbrella of caring. However, we can also care for people we don’t know, for our personal possessions, for our physical and natural environment, and for the planet.
The EC students have just begun to study the idea that we have relationships with other living things that share our environment. By the end of the unit, they will not only understand which things are living or not, and what they need to survive, but they will have begun to explore how their actions can make a positive or negative difference to a variety of living things.
Grade 1 have already considered how our choices affect our environment, and have realized that reducing, reusing and recycling have a big impact on our world. Many of them have taken student-initiated action, including one group writing a proposal to Mr Lorenzini for starting a compost project at school. Check out some of their other ideas for action on their blog
In an upcoming unit, Grade 3 will be exploring the issues connected with the fact that while water is essential to live, the Earth has a limited amount. Their growing understanding of this issue will hopefully encourage them to explore ways they can care for Earth and others by reflecting on and changing their behavior.
Grade 4 students showed an increasing understanding of the rights of children everywhere, and their discovery that these rights are not always met led to many actions. A powerful choice that many students made was to take a vow of silence for a day, in respect for those children around the world who do not have a voice. An excerpt from their assembly on children’s rights can be found on their blog
Some suggestions for how to be caring include:
- Perform random acts of kindness
- Look out for each other’s well being
- Help with housework
- Reuse your water bottle
- Pass on toys and books you don’t need to others
Can you add to this list? Send your ideas, and your photos of people caught being caring to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or add comments below.
December’s learner profile attribute in the spotlight is an appropriate one for the holiday season.
IB learners strive to be open-minded
They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.
At a time of year when many families and communities are celebrating their beliefs in a variety of ways, it is an opportunity to share our own important aspects of our identities with others, as well as to be receptive to and learn about what makes other members of our community special. Another way to celebrate our diversity, there is value in identifying some of the many similarities we share, even with our various perspectives and values.
Grade 1 students have been exploring this very idea in their ongoing unit with the central idea: Communities have different celebrations with similar features. Many of them already understand that everyone, regardless of religion, nationality or culture, has many reasons to celebrate. They are also discovering that all these different celebrations have many features in common, including decorations, special food, and symbols.
Grade 2’s recent Who We Are unit also gave students an opportunity to exercise open-mindedness. They were exploring the central idea that understanding our identities helps us to understand and respect others. They have learned about the visible and deeper aspects of our identities through exploration of the cultural iceberg.
As we share and enjoy each other’s special celebrations, let’s remember to find ways to model and value open-mindedness in ourselves and our children.
Dr Edward De Bono is an international authority on creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking skills. His most famous work is the creation of the Six Thinking Hats, a tool for thinking about a problem or situation from a variety of angles, one at a time. It’s a handy tool for having children think around a topic and communicate their thoughts from different perspectives.
Try the hats on while thinking around the idea of holidays:-
- Red Hat – With my red hat on I communicate my feelings and emotions. Not why I am feeling a certain way but just how I feel right now. Holidays make me feel…
- Yellow Hat- With my yellow hat on I communicate the good points, how something will help us and why it will work. The great things about holidays are…
- Black Hat – With my black hat on I communicate the bad points. I ask – Is this true? Will it work? What are the weaknesses? The disadvantages of the holidays are…
- Green Hat – When I put on my green hat, I express creativity. I share different ideas and make suggestions. In the holidays I am going to try something new like…
- White hat – With my white hat I communicate the facts and information. Last holidays I….
- Blue Hat – If I have my blue hat on, I communicate my thoughts. I am thinking about what I will do in my holidays and planning my first day. I am going to do some cooking. First I will………..then…………and …………..Finally I will……………..
As we continue to focus on the learner profile attribute “communicators” this November, it might be opportune to share with you a newly documented section of our curriculum. Our end of year expectations for oral language have been incorporated into a new continuum covering all aspects of communication.
This continuum focuses not only on oral language (listening and speaking) but acknowledges that communication is also visual, and identifies the strand” viewing and presenting”.
Speaking and listening combine into a transactional process. Listening involves more than just hearing sounds. It requires active and conscious attention in order to make sense of what is heard. Purposeful talk enables learners to articulate thoughts as they construct and reconstruct meaning to understand the world around them. “In an inquiry-based learning environment, oral language exposes the thinking of the learner.”
Presenting and viewing involves interpreting, using and constructing visuals and multimedia, allowing students to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs. Visual text includes advertisements, brochures, computer games and programmes, websites, movies, posters, signs, logos, flags, maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, graphic organisers, cartoons and comics. Learning to interpret this data, and to understand and use different media, are invaluable life skills.
As I wandered around school this week on a quest to find and document communication in action, I saw and heard examples of both expressive (creating and sharing meaning) and receptive (receiving and construction meaning) communication – a glimpse of which is captured here (and not just from students!). The statements in italics are examples of learning expectations from our new communication continuum.
Please share your own experiences and ideas about what good communicators by leaving a comment here, or by emailing me at email@example.com .
Making the PYP Happen in the Classroom (IBO 2009)
IST Communication Continuum
The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 2st century. It is a statement of the aims and values of the IB, and an embodiment of what the IB means by “international-mindedness”.
High ideals, but the challenge is: how can we make this vision come alive?
The IB learner profile is displayed in every classroom, and particular attributes are selected for focus during each unit of inquiry. Adults look for ‘teachable moments’ when we can catch a child demonstrating a learner profile attribute and use it to help others understand what it looks like.
However, the profile should not be a focus just for our students. Perhaps the most powerful, yet challenging, strategy for teaching students these attributes is that of modeling, as all this idealistic talk holds little value and meaning if the adults in our community fail to model the attributes we want to see our students exhibit.
The entire school community – students, teachers, support staff, parents – all need to work together to demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to the attributes of the learner profile. To this end, we are introducing the spotlight feature – an opportunity to take some time to explore each attribute, develop our own understandings of what each means, and strive to demonstrate it in action.
In your IST appointment calendar (created by EPN, and on sale in the Elementary Front Office) you may have noticed that each month, a learner profile attribute is described. November’s attribute is the subject of our first spotlight:
IB learners strive to be communicators
They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.
Here are some ways IB community members around the world have made the attribute of communicator their own:
We are communicatorswhen we listen and observe carefully the thoughts, words, actions and feelings of our children. We recognise that children and parents have 100 different languages. We express ourselves in a respectful and empathetic manner. Parents of children at Wesley College, Melbourne, Australia
I am a communicator when I use my face, body, words, drawings and writing to tell someone how I feel or what I am thinking. A student from K International School, Tokyo
We value open and honest communication with staff, parents and children and encourage opportunities to express our ideas and listen to others. We openly communicate our goals and ideas.Educators at Wesley College
Here’s my challenge to the IST community: let’s make the idea of communicators come alive through words, photos, symbols, quotes – any way we can.
Here are some ways you can be a communicator:
- Listen to everyone and respond clearly
- Let people finish their sentences
- Express your feelings
- Use a different language
During the rest of November, I’ll be on the hunt for photo opportunities around campus that illustrate communicators in action. I’ll also be asking children and adults to tell me what they think it means to be a communicator, or share examples. Please join in by contributing in one or more of the following ways:
- sharing your own photos showing communication in action
- helping your child represent the attribute through pictures, words, or other media
- sharing anecdotes from home of when someone (adult or child) was an effective communicator
- finding stories that illustrate the attribute
Email me your examples of communicators in action and I’ll post them here. Log in to add your comments directly.
You may have already heard a performance of the Learner Profile song in assembly – and might be wondering what the story is behind it.
Here’s the story, in the words of Stephanie Brook:
Last year, when I arrived at the school, I wanted to do my part in the Arts to help students learn the attributes of the Learner Profile. I went online to the OCC and found a song that had been written by Eden Atwood for the learner profile, and set to music written by Carl Orff. This fit really well with my approach, and I taught the song to the younger grades last year.
This year at the opening assembly, our school principal challenged the students to really learn the attributes of the learner profile more thoroughly. More than that, he challenged them to really strive to understand what each of them meant. I discussed it with my Music colleague and we decided to take on the challenge of breaking down the attributes throughout this academic year. We started by teaching the song that I had found on the OCC to all the students in the school, from early childhood up to the last year of the PYP. We added the actions, as written in the music.
Then I sat down and wrote the music for a verse, so that we had a melody to use. I had only two criteria for myself: I wanted it to be simple, and I wanted it to be easily accompanied by Orff instruments (pitched percussion) and/or Ukelele. Once the music for the verse was determined, we decided on how we would get all the students involved. We decided to ask each of the grades to write the lyrics for the verses, giving the three upper grades (Grades 3, 4 & 5) two attributes each. All of the other grades (EC, KG, Grades 1 & 2) were given one verse each and that worked well to cover all ten attributes. Next, we took our first group of students and began to look at the first two attributes in the song. It was decided that Grade 3, who have an upcoming assembly, would write the lyrics for our verses about CARING and BALANCED.
We set about doing this by asking the students to tell us what they thought the attributes meant. We compiled a list of adjectives and descriptors for each attribute, with examples of what each attribute might look like in practice. Then I played the melody for the students and had then sing the verse to the word “LA”. Once they knew the tune, I asked them to try and create the words to go along with the first line, then the second, the third and the fourth. They came up with beautiful lyrics and were very proud of themselves. Most of them had never written any music like this before!
We decided to add some dramatic art to the mix by having some of the students act out what they were singing, to illustrate it to the audience. Grade 3 presented their two verses to the school at an assembly, using music and drama. All of the students at the assembly joined in on the chorus with the actions that they have learned.
I am excited about the deeper understandings that the students will gain about the learner profile attributes through this project, and I hope that it is something that can be carried on into the future.
Stephanie Brook, Music Teacher