Tag Archives: IB

Life-long Learner #sol18

For the past couple of days, I’ve been attending the IB Global Conference in Singapore. Different than a workshop, where you are focused on one topic the entire time, the conference allows you to dip your toes into many different topics throughout the conference. At the moment, I’m trying to process all that I’ve learned. My thinking has been challenged, and I realize that I need some time to reflect on the new information I’ve gleaned, synthesize it, and decide whether it’s valuable and applicable to my school context.

So far, what’s excited me most is this whole idea of student agency and how we can empower students to take charge of their own learning. I’ve listened to teachers and leaders present their experiences with an entire grade level who co-teaches in an open, student-centered space where students make their own schedule for the day, share their experiments with letting students choose what, how, and when to learn, and heard about how the shifts in the PYP will put student agency at the forefront.

Another idea I’ve been drawn to this weekend and been thinking a lot about is how to differentiate professional learning for teachers. Attending a few sessions centered around PD has given me much to think about. One thing I’ve come to realize is that I need to change my teachers’ perspectives on what PD is. I am energized to unpack the ideas I’ve gathered, pair it with the research I’ve read and my own ideas to come up with a bigger understanding.

Since this week is my Spring Break, I’m looking forward to having some time to really reflect on everything, rather than jump back into school like I usually have to do. I hope to post more of my thinking in the coming days and weeks.

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My Personal Inquiry

Lately I’ve been inquiring into how to lead our annual Programme of Inquiry (POI) review, where we take a look at our units of inquiry, and the POI as a whole, to evaluate their effectiveness and make improvements for next year. At my previous school, I’ve taken part in leading our POI review for the last 3 years, and it’s gone well, but I’ve been wondering about how I can structure it for my current teachers, who are new to PYP. I want it to be meaningful and engaging, rather than something they feel like they have to do because the IB says we have to do it.

In the past week, I’ve been in the tuning in stage of inquiry, actively thinking about how to do it, asking myself questions, and gathering resources. Today, I ended up working late on some other stuff for work. Despite being at work for 12 hours, I was motivated to delve more into my personal inquiry into the POI review. I printed off a few of the articles I had found earlier on the topic (I like reading hard copies when researching), and headed over to The Montrose for some dinner and a change of scenery. I set up shop at my usual table in the back, where I can be alone, spread out, and get work done. Diving right in, I began the process of finding out and sorting out, as I took copious notes from my readings, as well as jotted down things I knew I wanted to include in this year’s review.

Anyone who knows anything about inquiry knows that it leads to motivation. I continued to work for hours, without stopping. Usually when I’m working on something, I get off topic, take breaks, get distracted, etc., but not tonight. I was so energized by the planning and work I was doing, that I couldn’t stop.

After I gathered notes on the POI review, my mind drifted to teacher orientation planning. This is another topic that’s been floating around in my head lately. Like the POI review, I want it to be engaging and purposeful for my teachers. I want them to walk away feeling prepared for the year ahead, motivated to learn more about PYP and inquiry teaching, and equipped with a toolkit of teaching strategies that they can implement in their classrooms. To this end, I began making more and more lists, gathering strategies for orientation and the big ideas I wanted to be sure and include in this year’s orientation. Before I knew it, it was 11:00pm, and even though it was late, I didn’t want to stop working! Obviously I did, because I’d be a zombie tomorrow if I didn’t. I feel good about the work I did today, and am motivated to continue this process in the coming days. After I finish sorting out, I’ll go further and begin planning how I’d like to approach both the POI review and the teacher orientation. Can’t wait to see it all put together, and then in action with the teachers!