Teaching in a Bubble

IB PYP ESL Elementary Educational Blog

Hello IB PYP Educators💟

on June 5, 2017

 

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Happy Monday, Just WOW-I am FINALLY getting around to welcoming all of my fellow IB Educators. I hope that this post reaches both nearest and furthermost “corners” of the earth.  I can’t express how much IB has changed my pedagogical skill set!! Isn’t inquiry the most amazing form of instruction? I currently have 3 years experience instructing at an IB PYP campus and I look forward to more, but currently I am on a little hiatus.

IB has opened new doors and new worlds for me as both an educator and on a personal level. I’ve learned to appreciate my reflective mannerisms as well as to stretch myself while becoming more of a risk-taker. I really feel that I am just as much an inquirer as my students each day. Just as my students have aided molding me into the person and professional that I am, I look forward to collaborating and learning from all of you !

I have to admit that my first year of acclimating with all of the new lingo and terminology had my head spinning. But just as with everything else: practice, failure-yes, I said failure, determination and actually putting the pieces into action gave way to more clarity.

So what is IB you may be asking? IB  PYP stands for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. There are actually 3 componets to the program: IB PYP (early childhood through elementary), IB MYP (IB Middle Years Program-think middle school years) and IB DYP (IB Diploma years program…think high school).  It is an international framework that uses inquiry as it’s main vehicle to instruct students ages 3 to 12 or early childhood through elementary. The framework is actually comprised of several other components: UOI’s (units of inquiry-of which are like over-arching themes that are cross-curricular), learner profiles and attitudes (which are the programs founding personal characteristic traits or behaviors that each scholar should grow and refine), key concepts & transdisciplinary skills.

 

Within all of the above mentioned “frame works” the subject matter are assigned and instructed to include district and state standards. IT sounds like a menagerie of disjointed parts, but I promise-all of the pieces  compliment each other and build upon each other as well.

Yeah, I told you that initially it seems a little overwhelming! Don’t get me wrong, before I discovered IB, I was still all about student choice and student driven projects….I just hadn’t mastered the art of student driven instruction or harnessed the power of student reflection for that matter. I encouraged my students to take risks, investigate and experiment with the world around them. I “gave” them options to select from (because I thought I was so savy, lol). The options that I gave them obviously made it easier for me to “manage”, but I still felt as though I was soooo avant garde. It made my traditional teacher buddies and my admin a little nutty, I have to admit. I think that they kind of view me as—->>> over there in that corner is little miss doesn’t color in the lines, lol.

But when I switched over to IB, I have to admit, my methods seemed to flow with the IB framework and curriculum. In fact, giving students more authentic choices actually re-ignited my passion for teaching and inspired me to think even more outside of the box. One of the first concepts that we instruct students on (as an early childhood teacher) are the learner profiles. This is a set of 10 qualities or attributes that the students learn to embody each day throughout their instruction, inquires and investigations. The ten learner profiles are in no particular order: caring, risk-taker, knowledgeable, inquirer, balanced, communicator, open-minded, thinker, reflective and principled. Students need a great deal of practice embodying the traits through modeling, practice, reflection and good ole trial and error…..after all, we are speaking of our youngest scholars. I mean most of them are still working through social etiquette and social graces to begin with. That is why I love introducing the learner profiles first. They set the stage for what is expected and I usually begin withe principled…..someone who makes good choices given various situations (even when no one else is looking!!!).

Mind you , this is my spin on the IB trait and we are encouraged to personalize a bit to meet the needs of our students and communities. We usually introduce new traits every other week so give our scholars a bit of practice, but spiraling is a year long process. By the Christmas holidays, the students are familiar with most of the learner profiles.We also journal about the traits during reflection time each day. Each student has an IB Journal and they can journal about what ever they’d like in the beginning of the year. As they become more acquinted with the traits then I may prompt them on some days to reflect on how they demonstrated embodying or exhibiting being “disciplined” that day, how they plan to demonstrate it or how they witnessed someone else demonstrate a particular trait.

We (yes, I also participate in reflection journaling as the students are journaling and I share my reflections with them on occassion, but the modeling process also goes a long way towards making it more meaningful and help them own journaling and reflecting).  This helps tie in the action cycle: Choose, Act, Reflect.

Today I want to share one little goody that I use to help me introduce and reinforce the concept of learner profiles: Learner Profile Crowns. I love for students to “make it their own” after the first couple of weeks of discussion and modeling. So I’ve also included blank crowns for students to dictate or illustrate what the traits mean to them in their own lives. I implement them in a variety of manners:

1. Beginning of the year mini-                 lessons

2. Informal assessment to check if         students grasp the concepts &             vocabulary and can apply in a           meaningful manner.

3. Fun and novel reflective  journal       entry,

4. Student-selected trait to focus on, (Action Cycle)

5. Peer nominated recognition for         displaying trait qualities at                 school,

6. Class-wide  Award                                 recognition each weeks,

7. Grade-level recognition each 9            weeks.

8. Artifacts for student UOI binder         and finally,

9. Artifacts for student-led                       conferences.

 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/IB-PYP-Learner-Profile-Crowns-2655463

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I hope that you find this resource useful and as an aid to help make the traits more meaningful to with your students. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below. What do you  utilize  to teach the learner profile traits?

 

XOXO,

Cleo

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