What do you do on….

…your birthday in class?

Today is my 29th birthday. As millions of teachers are already enjoying Easter break, we have four days to go. Not that I mind, I love what I do.

However, all weekend I was wondering what to do on my birthday in class. Anything special? In Germany it is quite custom to bring a treat for your colleagues and possibly your students too. We did anyway at my old school in Berlin. But in Italy, by law, we cannot bring anything home-baked, etc in without a list of ingredients. Then there is a vegetarian (no eggs) student, a lactose-intolerant students and me, who doesn’t add sugar to anything at the moment. Out of 11 people!

So, I am going to ignore my birthday, like every year, and hope that we get through the day without too much. I shall enjoy a lot of quality portfolio work this morning though.

Collaboration, Part 3890

I do love to collaborate. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know. I love to collaborate within my school, locally, regionally, nationally, worldwide and online.

This week we had some great collaboration opportunities at school. Let me outline them:

  • The head of the school visited another school in Bologna. The quick meeting there resulted in more collaboration, with the PYP Coordinator coming to visit us in the near future. The exchanges resulted in better understanding of certain practices.
  • The head of the school and I visited the school in Modena again. This meeting was both about our network efforts, as well as collaboration. I am still so new to the PYP and my learning is still quite overwhelming. Reflecting over the past few months, the learning curve is so great. We talked about maths, language policies, authorization visits and so on. It was a great exchange, we all, hopefully, learned a lot.
  • The students in my class have been collaborating in the garden. After a great start to their science project (self-initiated), they hit conflict, solves it, and moved on. It is a great effort, and I love to observe it.
  • The two Italian teachers and I have been planning the next unit of inquiry. We were thinking of a way for them to collaborate with other Italian teachers around. They will now collaborate with two teacher (Mother Tongue programme and Italian as an additional language) from Modena and this way the students collaborate with their students. Looking forward to it.

What a great week!

Professional Development Plans

Another thought on my mind today…

Are there any schools out there already using PDPs with their teachers? How do you go about this? What are your foundations for the PDP?

Recently, while reviewing the action plan, and during our Pre-auth visit, the need for the action plan to become as much part of the team as every team member, made us aware that just “reviewing” it together won’t do.

As a result, we thought about connecting PDPs, which we currently don’t have, to the action plan and vice versa. I have done this at my old school, as well as in my university education.

Looking at the action plan, the standards and practices would be a good way to start with the PDP. I think teachers could be given the opportunity to reflect against each standard, and this reflection could be used as a basis for discussion, and setting of goals, identification of strategies and more.

What do you do with your PDPs? Is it based on the standards and practices? How do you implement that? Thanks for sharing!

PYP Scope and Sequence documents, assessment, recording and planning for teaching and learning

The title is long! But it really is a bit of a complex problem we are trying to solve at our school at the moment.

The PYP released new scope and sequence documents for Language and Maths in Feb 2009, and for The Arts and PSPE in November 2009. At the moment my school is focusing on the Language and Maths scope and sequence documents still.
As a result of implementing them, we discontinued our original curriculum mapping, as we found that this was not in line with the new documents. Now we are asking ourselves about how to use the scope and sequence documents effectively to inform teaching and learning, and for recording.

What have schools done?

Our current thinking is a spreadsheet arranged in phases that will allow us to map out the students’ individual development.

I think this is an important part of the implementation of the new scope and sequence documents, and so far I have had no feedback from anyone who has implemented them yet. So lets talk about it!

ICT in the PYP

I have been using more and more ICT in my classroom. Our resources remain quite limited, but we have found a way to work through that.

Now all students in my class are equipped with their own Google account, so we can email, and use Google Documents. The response to this has been enthusiastic, and the students are improving their ICT skills all the time. I have gotten so many emails that show learning and engagement that I didn’t ask for. It is nice.

The unit of inquiry now, Life Cycles, has led us to search for images and video, send images, make our own images. We will also use VoiceThread later on in the unit, especially for their summative assessment task.

I love the way that technology has enabled us to do more. Now, how do I get everyone else to do it too?

Botanical Gardens

Today we went on a trip! We love trips! We went to the botanical gardens in Pisa, as part of our unit of inquiry “Life Cycles”.

And it was a beautiful day… we got to observe some life cycles and life processes…. but the intriguing thing was the independent, and collaborative way of working. The students in my class are between 8 and 10 years old now, and some of them are quite protected and even “spoiled”. A lot of work has to be done on being independent. It was nice to see them follow the ancient tree trail in their groups and to observe them and their orientation skills. It was a beautiful day, but now I’m tired!

Catching up

I haven’t been blogging much! That is mainly due to two reasons: I have been doing other things, and I have been well-balanced.

Let me explain!
At the beginning of the month, I ended up in hospital. Nothing too bad, but a few days of rest and reconsideration of life style. I changed that as a result too. I spend a lot more time with my husband, and doing sports. I eat better, have cut out most sugar, etc. I feel amazing, my work is better….

But don’t worry, I will post more again. Sometimes we are just so busy with other things. I have a few posts in the making though!