'Learning to Learn' in the PYP and launching the first units of inquiry

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Kindergarten
'Learning to Learn' in the PYP and launching the first units of inquiry
Serrin Smyth

We have had a joyous welcome back to Seisen for PYP students in Kindergarten and Elementary and we are extremely grateful to back on campus together.

Our focus in the PYP (Elementary) during the first two weeks of school was "Learning to Learn" and in the PYP (Kindergarten) was to develop a safe and secure relationship with the environment and with teachers and peers. During these weeks, students have engaged in a range of learning experiences to understand themselves as learners and develop a culture of learning through building a sense of a community. Some of the ways this is established is by;

  • Getting to know the learner; Who am I as a learner? What are my interests? How do I learn best? What are my academic strengths and areas I wish to improve on? What can I help others to do? 

  • Building Language Agreements; What languages did you use or will you use today? For what purpose? What languages are used in your home? Our class? Our community? Our country? What are some of the different ways we use language? What choices do we have to make about language at school? What do you like about language?

  • Offering the opportunity for students to develop their own language profile: Who do you speak only your mother tongue (home language(s)) to? What language do you speak with your siblings? What language(s) do you talk to yourself in? What language(s) do you think in? What language(s) do you prefer to read in? What language do you prefer to do arithmetic in? What are your language goals?

  • Building the Learning Community by exploring ideas of the learning pit, having a learning mindset, the approaches to learning, the learner profile, the stretch zone.

  • Class Essential Agreements: What can we do in our class to make it run as smoothly as possible? What do you hope to learn? What will help you to learn this best within our classroom?  What helps me learn? What hinders my learning? How can we incorporate this into our agreement? What will you need to do in order to be successful this year? What can your teacher do to help you be successful? What can we all do to help each other be successful?

  • Technology Agreements: What is the purpose of using a technology at school? How has using technology helped your learning? What is challenging about using technology?

  • Positive Discipline: Essential skills development for setting up the culture of class meetings.

  • Connecting with parents to understand their child by finding out their interest, passions, outside activities, languages, hobbies, strengths and areas for growth as a learner.

  • Setting up Routines: including health and safety protocols.

Our beliefs and agreements in Kindergarten - Violet 

What we know and believe about langauges in Grade 5B

Assembly Central Idea: Taking risks as communicators helps us to become part of a caring and inclusive community. Students have been learning about how to feel comfortable in Seisen by learning faces, names, and facts about the teachers.

Routines: Students in Grade 1 engaging in Word Study Routine. 

Identity; Exploring the meaning of my name in EAL Class.

Students in Kindergarten enjoying the new play equipment!

Approaches to Learning: Communication Skills - Students share what does it mean to me to be an effective communicator, what are my own personal goals for communication and how can my family, teacher and friends help me to achieve this goal?

Grade 2 students reflect on who they are as a learner. 

Launching the first Units of Inquiry!

The first units of inquiry have launched in the Primary Years Programme. Our Programme of Inquiry provides you with an overview of the units across the grade levels:

In addition, an overview of how the units of inquiry cover perspectives from a local, national and global context, including connections with the Sustainable Development Goals:

Below you will find details regarding each grade level's first unit of inquiry, examples of some of the learning engagements students have explored, the SOLO taxonomy for the units, guiding questions to support parent/child discussions at home and word vocabulary lists.

SOLO Taoxnomy:

This parent version of the SOLO taxonomy may support you to have discussions with your child by asking some of the guiding questions. The questions develop across the SOLO from a shallow understanding where factual knowledge is developed to a more deeper understanding where conceptual understandings are formulate.

Vocabulary Lists:

The Vocabulary Lists are a guide for the possible vocabulary that may be explored throughout the unit of inquiry. You may wish to explore the words within this list with your child in their mother tongue. Perhaps you may talk about the concept of some of the words in English and also in your home language in order to deepen their understanding of them. 

Kindergarten: Who We Are - Friendship

Students will be exploring the central idea: 'Friends have qualities that can help each other learn and grow.'

They will be inquiring into:

  • the qualities of a good friend
  • how friends help each other
  • where and how we make different friends

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on students being open minded about the common humanity of all people, exploring and understanding diversity within friendships and learning about and respecting others perspectives, cultures and beliefs. Students will be exploring this through local, national and global perspectives by investigating ways to make friends at school (Local), and how friends can help or learn from each other (National/Global).

Kindergarten SOLO Taxonomy & Word Vocabulary List

Grade 1: Who We Are - Relationships

Students will be exploring the central idea: 'We develop a sense of well-being through building relationships and exploring our identity'.

They will be inquiring into:

  • Exploring our own identity

  • Ways to build good relationships within our home, school and community

  • Ways relationships contribute to our well-being

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on exploring identity & cultural identity (such as self perception/self concept through nationality, ethnicity, religion etc...), diversity and an awareness that the world is much larger than the community in which we live. Students will be exploring this through local, national and global perspectives by investigating ways to build and maintain good relationships at school (Local) and ways to build and maintain good relationships at home and within the community (National).

Students reflecting on their own identity through the creation of identity maps. 

Students learn about the concept of 'values' and consider what values or important to them, and therefore form part of their identity. 

In Grade 1, students use the analogy of a 'mountain' for the SOLO taxonomy. As they learn knowledge in the unit and therefore deepen their understandings, their learning moves up the mountain. They reflect on their responses to the guiding inquiry questions and at the conclusion of the unit students self assess their growth as a learner using the 'mountain' format.

Grade 1 SOLO Taxonomy & Word Vocabulary List

Grade 2: Who We Are - Learning Communities

Students will be exploring the central idea: 'Our approach to learning and our interactions with others can impact a learning communit'.

They will be inquiring into:

  • Being active and engaged learners

  • Ways collaboration can support our learning

  • How we can contribute to a positive learning community

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on exploring identity & cultural identity (such as self perception/self concept through nationality, ethnicity, religion etc...), learning about and respecting others perspectives, cultures and beliefs and the ability to see oneself as a responsible member of the community and a global citizen. Students will be exploring this through local, national and global perspectives by investigating who I am as a learner and how I contribute to a positive learning community (local).

Our classroom is a community, and making connections with people in our community helps create a positive classroom culture and environment. Students map who they are and draw connections between themselves and others.

The Learning Pit analogy is important in that it gives students control over their own learning. The goal of the Learning Pit for students (as well as parents and teachers) is to understand that learning is supposed to be a challenge. Students are able to recognise when learning is hard, when they are in the pit and what positive self talk can support their thinking when they are in the learning pit. 

Grade 2 SOLO Taxonomy & Word Vocabulary List

 

Grade 3: Who We Are - Well-being

Students will be exploring the central idea: 'Balance in our lives can promote health and well-being'.

They will be inquiring into:

  • Different forms of health (Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Relationships)

  • The impact of our choices on well-being

  • Ways to maintain health & well-being

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on exploring identity & cultural identity (such as self perception/self concept through nationality, ethnicity, religion etc...) and developing an awareness that the world is much larger than the community in which we live. Students will be exploring this through local, national and global perspectives by looking at their own personal choices on well-being (local), examining government actions to support well-being (national) and different perspectives of well-being around the world (global).

 

Students share their opinions on a range of statements about healthy living and learn from the perspectives of their peers. 

Students question, debate and ponder different elements of health and place them in a Venn Diagram in order to consider if they refer to Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Bodies, or connect to 2 or all of these concepts.

Grade 3 SOLO Taxonomy & Word Vocabulary List

Grade 4: How We Express Ourselves - Symbolism

Students will be exploring the central idea: 'People use symbolism in art to express complex and meaningful themes'.

They will be inquiring into:

  • Variety of themes reflected through art 

  • Different perspectives and interpretations of art 

  • Creating symbolic art to express yourself

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on being open minded about the common humanity of all people and learning about and respecting others perspectives, cultures and beliefs. Students will be exploring this through local, national and global perspectives by looking at their personal perspectives and interpretations of art (local), symbolic art in Japan and the themes expressed in them (national) and exploring themes and current events reflected in art around the world (global). 

Students 'unpack' the central idea by considering the language of the unit, what it means to them and their peers, and the personal connections they can make to the concepts.

Grade 4 SOLO Taxonomy & Word Vocabulary List

Grade 5: Where We Are In Place & Time - Civilizations

Students will be exploring the central idea: 'nerated: Evidence can help us build connections between past civilizations and present day societies'.

They will be inquiring into:

  • Characteristics of civilizations 

  • Ways to uncover history through a variety of sources (e.g. art & culture, storytelling, symbolism & artifacts) 

  • Connections between past and present societies

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on diversity and learning about and respecting others perspectives, cultures and beliefs. Students will be exploring this through local, national and global perspectives by exploring the characteristics of our own civilization and society (local), connections between past and present society in Japan (national) and ancient civilizations around the world (global). 

As a provocation, students were given a range of events through time and had to place these in order of when they thought they took place. They were asked to consider what all of the events have in common and think about which event came first. Some ideas and questions they came up with were: 

- all of these events were discovered by humans

- the unit is about civilization, culture, cities, trade and connection

- History: without these important events what would the world be like?

- How were the pyramids built without machines?

Transdisciplinary learning enables students to build concepts and skills across subject areas, rather than studying subjects in isolation. As part of the WWAPT: Civilizations unit of inquiry, students in PE have been exploring the evolution of sports. They looked specifically at the game basketball and how fans, safety and technique all played a role in the evolution of the game, the rules and the equipment. 

Grade 5 SOLO Taxonomy & Word Vocablary List 

SAVE THE DATE!

We will have our first Kindergarten Parent Virtual Workshop on Friday 15th October 9am - 10am and our first Elementary Morning Tea & PYP Virtual Parent Workshop on Friday 29th October 9am - 10am. More details about the content of this workshop will be shared closer to the date. We look forward to seeing you virtually and further exploring elements of the PYP, teaching & learning and assessment at Seisen.

ACTION

Finally, if you see your child taking action as a result of their learning at school, we would LOVE to hear about it! As action is often taken outside of the learning environment, we often don't know about these opportunities that you as parents are witness to, even a short email telling us about something your child did or said at home as a result of their learning helps us know how the PYP is supporting the development of life long learners that take action! (Please email Ms Smyth, ssmyth@seisen.com or your child's teacher to share these moments.)

Ms Smyth PYP Coordinator ssmyth@seisen.com

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