Saturday, January 19, 2013

Action in PYP

These moments should happen more often in my classroom.

My students were busy creating  videos, powerpoints, booklets, and posters in order to show their learning. Their unit of Inquiry was about Health and Wellbeing. 

Their task : 
Identify someone in your environment who is not leading a balanced lifestyle. Based on your understanding of what you have learned in this unit, create a week's plan that your patient needs to follow.

Some students were busy borrowing glitter paint and colourful tape (I admit I do get irritated when they rush for these things without a plan, but as they were focusing on time and self-management skills, I had to curb my instincts and hold my tongue...hard job this is!); other students were video taping each other. The class was abuzz. Students were busy. Well, except one.

My eyes fell on a child who was doing nothing  apart from watching others at work. At times, he would rush to their aid and hand them a pair of scissors or a crayon. When I checked upon him, he had managed to staple a few papers it was written in large bold letters...MUNDAY..then scratched out and re-written correctly. The other pages were blank. I asked him if I could help him. He shrugged,smiled, shook his head and proceeded to look out of the window.

The deadline for submission of the assessment had arrived. Students were ready to present their work. Using the class generated rubric, they assessed each other. As I walked around the class, I realized that a few students has actually ignored many facets of their learning. They were focused on the product and had forgotten many basic facts that were needed to show their conceptual understanding. Many students who were always eager to participate during class discussions and enjoy highly challenging tasks, had actually forgotten to create a diet which was balanced.

I approached my Munday's child. I asked him if he had anything to show. He told me he had left it at home. I shook my head, frowned, tutted, and walked away.

And today, I changed my mind about him. He impressed me the most. Not because he did nothing in class. He was actually quietly absorbing the learning. He connected with it unlike any other student in the class.

This is what he did. During the 3-Way conference, the parents quietly listened as I spoke of my concerns about him. I, of course praised him, but I made sure I pointed out the fact that he had not completed his assignment and that he should set some specific goals for himself which can help him address my concerns.
After I had finished talking, the mother told me something that stunned me.

This child had called for a meeting at home. He lives in an extended family. Once the whole family had assembled, he explained to them that junk food was not good for them. He drew pictures of the heart and arteries and showed them how cholesterol lined the arteries and in turn caused high-blood pressure, which in turn, results in a heart attack. (concept of Causation). Later that day, he asked his mum for  her phone, and called up his dad, who travels a lot. He explained to his dad how worried he was about his unhealthy lifestyle, then suggested a few dietary changes and recommended daily exercise. Today his dad told me that for the past one week, he had stopped eating meat and was considering becoming a vegetarian. He had also started exercising. This 8 year old had used what he learnt in the unit, and changed an adult's life!

That was all I needed to hear. I was not interested in the final product. It seemed so irrelevant at this moment. The student had applied his learning to his own life and made a change for the better. He had attempted and succeeded to solve a real-life problem without creating a product!

I was speechless. I could only fumble and apologize for assuming that he had learnt nothing. I am so proud and humbled by this child.



  1. Great example of action as a result of significant learning. Thanks!

  2. This is a brilliant story. Well done!

    Exactly the kind of thinking that needs to be reflected in lesson plans and preparation. And worthy of discussion too. could use your input.


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