Tagged: IB PYP

Looking forward…

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

So life has thrown me a bit of a curveball in the past month, so while I am hoping to be able to complete Course 5, I might need to wait and see what the next few weeks bring. I’ve given some thought to possibilities for Course 5, and this is what I’ve come up with. 


Design Thinking

Design thinking. What is it? A quick google gives an endless number of “design cycles”. But which one is correct? Which is the best for student learning? After looking through a few of them, it is clear that there are many similarities between them; however, there is still an overwhelming number of variations. 

Design Thinking in Action

We have just completed a unit in my Grade 5 community that leant itself nicely to the use of design thinking. In this How the world works unit, students work collaboratively as “engineers” to construct their understanding of simple machines and the ways in which we use creative thinking to solve problems.

Throughout this unit students work together to in a series of design tasks (described in greater detail below). We thought that this was a authentic way to introduce students to a design cycle. This was an opportunity for a natural connection to our previous unit where we explored the idea of a creative process.


Unleashing Deep Learning

Last week, our school celebrated Climate Action Week. The events from Monday through Thursday were organized by the ISD Green Team. It was the intention of this team of students that this week coincided with the Fridays for Future march that was taking place in the city on Friday afternoon.

As an educator, I have always struggled with weeks like this – kindness week, spirit week, earth week, etc. While they encourage positive actions, I believe that it is our job to have discussions with students about how we ensure these actions continue in some way, even when these weeks are over. It was this very point led to a great discussion on Friday during our Grade 5 Gathering. 


Setting the Stage for Deep Learning.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the more I dig into all of the resources focussing on “New Pedagogies for Deep Learning”, the more connections I am able to make to my own collaborative teaching and learning journey over the past four years. 

Looking through Dr. Monica R. Martinez’s deep learning planning resources really struck a chord with me; specifically, phase 1 – Establishing a Vision. 

Start with the Why

Simon Sinek‘s Golden Circle

Back in the Fall of 2015, the Leadership team at my school shared their vision for the future of learning. Teachers would work collaboratively in a flexible learning space to develop a new model of education. I was excited and intrigued, so I put my name forward and was selected to be a member of this new team of five teachers. (Copied from previous post to provide context.) 


Course 1 Final Project – Increasing Voice and Choice

Wow! I can’t believe we’re already at the end of the first course! It has been great working through this course as it’s forced me to take the time to reflect on my practice and really think about the reasoning behind why I do what I do. I have enjoyed reading through the posts of others and look forward to continuing on this journey in Course 2!

Increasing Student Agency

My teaching team has worked hard over the past few years to open up a lot of our units to allow for a lot more student voice, choice and ownership in their learning. Here are a few examples of this. We start the year with How We Express Ourselves, in which students explore the concept of originality as they work as an artist in a medium of their choice. In our Who We Are unit (with the central idea – transitions are a part of life), students engage in a guided inquiry looking at the physical, social, and emotional changes that children go through during puberty. They also have the chance to construct their own personal inquiry into an area of their choosing that relates to the central idea.

By opening up these units,  we have seen huge growth in students’ engagement and in their approaches to learning. Students learn how to be good learners. They learn to manage their time and materials. They learn about goal setting and self-motivation. Arguably, the biggest benefit is the perseverance and resilience that begins to develop. So with all that said, the unit I have chosen to modify for this final project is one that we haven’t spent as much time working on, and doesn’t have as much choice for students. (more…)