Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Teaching and Learning in the PYP

So what is teaching ? What is Learning?

Those were the big questions we were all interested in knowing more about during the three day workshop in Beijing.

As a workshop leader and practicing class teacher, I have to say that I do not enjoy preparing for workshops in isolation. The whole joy of being a learner comes from collaboration. I have a great PLN with whom I can share ideas and learn from. Unfortunately, there are, I have found, educators who are loathe to share their knowledge and experience. What a pity! They are never the ones who change people's lives! And we are in  the business of changing lives.

Edna Sackson, thank you!

Here are a few snippets and glimpses of the workshop.

The teachers were from different parts of the world. Ireland, Russia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and India. Some worked with kindergarten children, while others had taught TOK in high school at some point in their lives.  The room was abuzz with vibrant, knowledgeable, enthusiastic educators. But their greatest gift to  all the participants of this workshop, was their respectful demeanour which was maintained throughout the three days. It was a privilege to have worked with them!

It was quite a task to keep this group of teachers engaged and challenged. Using a variety of strategies and tools in order to drive home the point was fun. I learnt so much from them in the process!

David and his lovely wife. I hope they have had their baby by now!

When I look at this picture, I can only marvel at how these teachers thought deeply about EVERYTHING. What an inspiration they are! They did cheat on the artifact task though :)

Assessing their schools.

Sharing time.

Metaphors at work.

A continuum using our artifacts.



Testing out.

Dots doing the talking here...

Bum's up activity, well...sitting on chairs.

I loved how they worked in this group using one of the Visible thinking Routines.

Diamond ranking

It started snowing on the first day!

Presentation of personal inquiry cycles. 

Group work

Going solo.

Using a treasure box.

Atlas shrugged!

Our philosopher!

 I do hope to cross paths with these amazing educators sometime soon!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Learner Profile Attributes and Metaphors

The Grade 6s came up with a very unique idea of displaying the Learner Profile attributes as metaphors. These attributes, you have to admit,  are abstract and hard to pin down even with a few choice words or a definition.

Take a look at what they came up with.

 A piggy bank represents "Knowledgeable"

Can you tell us why?

 Opened -minded is represented as a tent with its flaps open.

Balanced takes on the guise of a pair of corrective lenses.

The body language of the old lady says it all for Reflective!

Caring is a box not of chocolates but hearts. We had a great discussion on why people choose the heart symbol to describe emotions such as love.

Risk-taker is the champion swimmer who braves the cold waters and scoffs at all the big sharks and pounding waves.

Inquirer takes on the metaphor of shoes. Guess why!

See if you can come up with rich metaphors that represent the learner profile attributes!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Moving to Japan

Exciting times. I have always loved exploring new countries and when I landed in Haneda airport, Tokyo did not disappoint me. It has a very distinct character of its own and if you want to know more about this lovely country, hop on a plan and come visit!

I had been on edge ever since the class lists were assigned to us. I worried about whether the students would take to me. The first few days were crucial for building bonds. I realize now that it doesn't matter how many years one has spent teaching, we all go through the same levels of anxiety.

I have been assigned 23 lovely students. They are vibrant, vocal, and have very strong opinions. This is my first year teaching 6th grade so my work is clearly cut out for me. 

One challenge I face is  remembering names!

A great app which helped me address this (I learnt their names within a day!) was Fotobabble,  an app which allows you to take pictures of students and attach an audio component to it. I have always known of this app but never used it in this way. Do give it a try next time you have trouble remembering your students name. It helped me with pronunciation as well!

This is not much of a post. I wish I had the time to continue this blog. When time permits I will. In the meantime, miles to go before I post!