Thursday, October 20, 2016


This blog will be used to support the IB PYP Regional Workshop Making the PYP Happen in the Classroom which will be held in Mumbai from 20th to 22nd October 2016.

We hope you will find the information in the blog posts useful and that you will join our learning community by adding your comments and reflections.

In the 3 days of this workshop we will be looking at 3 big questions:
On Day 1 we will be looking at the Why? - this is the philosophy behind the PYP
On Day 2 we will be looking at the What? - this is the theory behind the curriculum.  We will be looking at the written and the assessed curriculum.
On Day 3 we will be looking at the How? - this is our practice and how we bring the curriculum alive.  We will be looking at planning for inquiry, teaching and learning.

Transdisciplinary Theme:  How We Organize Ourselves
Central Idea:  The PYP is a philosophy and curriculum framework for an international education
Lines of Inquiry:
  • the essential elements of an international curriculum
  • inquiry as a stance
  • teaching and learning of the whole child
  • planning and assessing to inform and transform teaching
Key Concepts:  form, function, causation

Session 1: Beliefs

Individual teachers' beliefs about the experiences related to teaching and learning impact on the way they teach.

Aim: Reflect on own beliefs and practices within a community of learners
No learning occurs in a vacuum We construct meaning personally and uniquely, building on our prior knowledge, feelings and engaging within the context of our current learning environment.

We will be using the Concentric Circle Model to explore our own beliefs and values and to discuss commonalities for the group.

This session will also give you a brief introduction to the IB and its history. You will be able to highlight the links between the various aspects of the PYP on the diagram as we cover them.

Finally in this session we will be establishing essential agreements for the workshop using the PYP attitudes. These are the dispositions which are expressions of fundamental values, beliefs and feelings about learning, the environment and people.
Refer to Making the PYP Happen page 24

Our Essential Agreements:

  • Understand everyone's uniqueness
  • We will co-operate by leading and following
  • Encourage each other to creatively share, motivate and learn from one another
  • Appreciate everyone's perception
  • We demonstrate tolerance through active listening and open-mindedness
  • We will respectfully listen to points of view
  • We will ask questions
  • We build confidence through encouragement and acceptance of failure
  • We will be committed towards our learning throughout our course
  • We will enthusiastically participate in all activities
  • Maintain a high level of integrity and mutual respect in our classroom in regards to our professional and personal beliefs

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Session 2: International Mindedness

International mindedness is encompassed in the IB Learner Profile.

We will start this session with Burning Questions which you will categorize using the Key Concepts Cards.  Organizing your questions will tell us about you and teach you the power of questions.  Questions can be posted at any time during the workshop for consideration.

Key Concepts:
Form - What is it like?
Function - How does it work?
Causation - Why is it like this?
Change - How is it changing?
Connection - How it is connected to other things?
Perspective - What are the points of view?
Responsibility - What is our responsibility?
Reflection - How do we know?

Thinking Keys
Stephanie Martin - International School of Amsterdam

Who are you as a cultural being?
Save the Last Word for Me

Explore and develop understanding of internationalism

International Mindedness - What is it?
Quadrant Brainstorm with a definition at the centre that all share.

International Mindedness, the IB Mission Statement and the PYP

From the IB Mission statement

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Our definitions of International Mindedness:

  • To synchronize our differences and be open to have a better world.  Practice tolerance and take action.
  • Accepting of different cultures, beliefs and perspectives.  willing to take chances and be open to change.
  • International mindedness is a mindset with tolerance, acceptance, sustainability and equanimity as the core values to a better world.
  • Knowing, accepting and respecting different individuals, cultures, beliefs and values and the willingness to learn the diverse perspectives and act accordingly.  
  • Understanding and embracing different cultures and beliefs of the past and present.
  • Respect and understand everyone's freedom to be independent and creative.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Session 3: The Learner Profile

The Learner Profile is the expression of the PYP and contributes to being an international person.

In the PYP, the school’s curriculum includes all those student activities, academic and non-academic, for which the school takes responsibility, since they all have an impact on student learning.

What do we want our students to be?
Diamond ranking in table groups.

Persuasive presentation with visuals on which attribute of the Learner Profile is most important to international mindedness - within a school, within a class and within a subject area.

Our Visuals

from Making the PYP Happen

What, then, is a PYP school? It is a school that, regardless of location, size or constitution, strives towards developing an internationally minded person. What is an internationally minded person? It is a person who demonstrates the attributes of the IB learner profile.

This is the kind of student we hope will graduate from a PYP school, the kind of student who, in the struggle to establish a personal set of values, will be laying the foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish.

The school promotes international-mindedness on the part of the adults and the students in the school community.

The school provides students with opportunities for learning about issues that have local, national and global significance, leading to an understanding of human commonalities.

To summarize, when seeking evidence of international-mindedness in PYP schools, teachers need to look at what the students are learning, how they are demonstrating that learning, and how to nurture students within the school community. They need to consider whether students are making connections between life in school, life at home and life in the world. By helping students make these connections and see that learning is connected to life, a strong foundation for future learning is established. In striving to make it happen, and in looking for indicators of success, teachers, principals and/or heads of schools need to look everywhere, since all aspects of the school, from overarching philosophy through to policies and their ensuing practices, will reflect either the presence or the absence of a sensitivity to the special nature of PYP schools.

Think-Pair-Share with someone from your school: How does the IB Mission Statement compare with your own school's mission statement?

Bus Stop Activity
What can a school do to promote the Learner Profile attributes and what would that look like?

Reflection and Action - please add comments to the blog later.
Reflect on the Learner Profile and yourself - which attributes are well developed and which are challenging for you?  What can you do to develop these during the course of the workshop?  How does your school develop international mindedness.  What will change on your return to school?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Session 4: Learners Constructing Meaning

At the heart of the curriculum cycle is the learner constructing meaning.

Summative Assessment Task and Criteria
You will be working in groups. Show understanding of and connections between the 5 Essential Elements.

What does an environment for constructivist learning look like?
During this session you will be thinking about an effective/not effective learning experience that you had. What contributed to the success/failure of the experience. On post-its list these and display on Promotes Learning/Hinders Learning posters.

Feedback from the group:
Promotes Learning:

  • Encouragement
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Fun, activity based
  • Child centric
  • Praise and flattery
  • Feeling successful
  • Being shown the clear results and progress due to hard work
  • Exploration
  • Good questions
  • Doing it
  • Choice
  • Relevance - relating and connecting the content to the students' lives
  • Fun
  • Breaking the process down into steps and giving feedback
  • Active classroom
  • Opportunities to present
  • Positive and reinforcing comments
  • Warmth and acceptance
  • Safe environment
  • Interesting topic
  • Variety of instructional methods/learning activities
  • Being able to take a risk
  • Interest
  • Strong instructor/teacher
  • Open-mindedness, enthusiasm and curiosity towards learning
  • Innovative teaching methods like games, quizzes, debates
  • Appreciation
  • Experimentation
  • Teacher giving extra time
  • Clear instructions
  • Willingness to change
  • Hands-on tasks
  • Passionate teacher
  • Constructive feedback
  • Sense of humour
Hinders Learning:

  • Condescension
  • Feeling like I was the worse one in the group
  • Closed minded
  • Too much structure
  • One instructional method/no variety in style
  • Rigid questioning or structure or curriculum
  • Lack of dedication
  • Only lecture - no engagement
  • No interactions with the teacher - lack of connection with the teacher
  • Fear of failing
  • Boring - didn't care
  • Lack of clarity/unclear instructions
  • Lack of relevance
  • Too much information/ too much theory
  • Sarcasm
  • Putting people on the spot
  • Being yelled at - demotivation
  • Judgemental
  • Sitting in seats all lessons
  • Labelling a child
  • Reprimands
  • Unfriendly or overly strict teacher
  • Limited resources
  • Forced learning
  • Laziness
  • Minimal scope for experimentation and discovery
  • Unwillingness to change
  • Unsafe environment
  • Ridicule
  • Lack of interest
  • Partiality
  • No differentiation
  • Criticism
  • No student choice
This is a Visible Thinking routine for connecting new ideas to prior knowledge.

Use this Visible Thinking routine as you read Kathy Short's Inquiry, Curriculum and Standards.

Children's Literature that promotes International Mindedness

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Session 5: The Five Essential Elements

The five essential elements resonate throughout the entire curriculum

In this session we will explore the essential elements using the Jigsaw strategy.

Our Tweets about the 5 Essential Elements:
  • Knowledge is acquired through inquiry driven by conceptual questions.  Skills and attitudes are applied to take action to enhance the lives of others.
  • Intentionally designing authentic learning to drive global inquirers.
  • The essential elements ensure the synthesis in the planning, teaching and learning processes.  The student combines knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action.
  • All essential elements are interdependent ... if you want to teach a concept you need knowledge, skills, attitudes and action.
  • PYP Curriculum transcends beyond time and place, balancing knowledge, skills, concepts, attitudes and action, bringing the world to our known backyard where the whole school community participate as one.
Research Skills Continuum from KG to Grade 5

Friday, October 14, 2016

Session 6: Transdisciplinary Themes

The PYP curriculum is concept-driven and transdisciplinary

Knowledge is reflected in the Transdisciplinary Themes and Scope and Sequences. Knowledge is the significant, relevant subject matter we wish the students to explore and know about. The construction of knowledge requires skills.

We will investigate how the individual disciplines support the transdisciplinary themes using a Carousel activity.

Our Transdisciplinary Themes and how the are supported by the subjects

We will discuss the issue of balance between transdisciplinary and stand-alone teaching and how this applies to classroom teachers and specialists.

We will look at our own programme of inquiry and the concepts that are supporting student understanding.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Session 7: Concepts

The PYP curriculum is concept-driven and transdisciplinary

Graphic by H. Lynn Erickson

Transdisciplinary skills are those things that students need to be able to do to succeed in a changing, challenging world.

In grade levels we will brainstorm how research skills (one of the transdisciplinary skills) might be seen in learners of that age group.  We will look at formulating questions, recording data and presenting research findings.  Then we will create a joint continuum.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Session 8: Inquiry

An inquiry process allows students to revisit and revise prior knowledge in the light of new experiences in order to extend their learning

What is the connection between questions and inquiry?
The PYP recognises many different forms of inquiry based on children's genuine curiosity and on their needing and wanting to know about the world.  It is most successful when the questions are honest and have real significance in moving them to new levels of knowledge and understanding.  The most penetrating questions, ones most likely to move the child's understanding further, arise from existing knowledge.  (From A Basis for Practice)

During this session we will be defining what inquiry is.  We will look at different models of inquiry, go through some different inquiry cycles and observe two lessons.  This will be followed by a pair-share session where you will draw up different inquiry actions that you can do in your classes to promote inquiry.

Think, Puzzle, Explore
This Visible Thinking routine helps you to connect to prior knowledge, stimulates curiosity and lays the groundwork for independent inquiry.

Use this Visible Thinking Routine as you read the Edutopia article New Classroom Questioning Techniques for the Best Year Ever.

You can find out more about Harvard Project Zero Visible Thinking Routines here.

Thinking Trade
Our definitions of Inquiry:
  • Inquiry should be a tool to maximize the learning process.  Lessons are consciously planned.  The teacher's role is to coach and facilitate.  Frame inquiries around provocations, essential questions rather than a closed topic.
  • Student-centred exploration guided by open-ended, provocative questions that help activate and scaffold knowledge through the thinking process leading to relevant and transferrable knowledge/outcomes.
  • Inquiry is a learning process that centers around provocative essential questions, that activates prior knowledge, encouraging students to reflect and record, developing rich transferrable concepts that teach us how to learn rather than what to learn.
  • Inquiry is thinking in order to make meaning through provoking essential questions which are relevant and builds on students' prior knowledge.
  • Inquiry is an approach to teaching and learning that involves asking provoking questions and stimulating minds to thinking without giving answers. It gives opportunities to dig for a deeper understanding and aims to instill rich, transferable skills

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Session 9: Assessment

Assessment is integral to planning, teaching and learning and needs to be varied and purposeful

Circle of Viewpoints Thinking Routine
This is a thinking routine for exploring different perspectives. Each person in the group has a different perspective, for example student, teacher, parent, head of school, next teacher, prospective parent.
For more about Visible Thinking routines click here.

Understanding by Design - Jay McTighe
Understanding by Design Guide - Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

Brainstorming on the differences between formative and summative assessment

Strategies and Tools
Formative Assessment

Summative Assessment

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Session 11: Analysing a unit of inquiry

The programme of inquiry and the subject scope and sequences are components of the curriculum, which when used together define a coherent curriculum

During this session you will be looking at the planner you have brought and analysing it with a rubric.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Session 12: Summative Assessment

Going further...

Reflection and action are essential elements of the learning process