Our IB PYP Exhibition Journey!

Our IB PYP Exhibition Journey!
Serrin Smyth

Getting Started - The getting started stage of the Exhibition Journey aims for students to develop and consider all the possibilities for their in depth inquiry, leading to them taking action. 

Therefore, our Exhibition journey began with students exploring; What is a global issue, opportunity, topic or passion that ignites my interest?

This question was explored through the learning experience - Connection Webs. Students wrote connections for a range of issues and opportunities.


As the overarching Transdisciplinary Theme of the Exhibition is How We Express Ourselves, students engaged in a picture sort where they analyzed a range of pictures and considered what parts of the 'How We Express Ourselves' descriptor (An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic) the pictures may connect with.

This activity aimed to encourage creative thinking around the possibilities of concepts that could be explored for an inquiry. 

Students watched a range of videos looking at the actions of children who did something because they cared about it. They then reflected on the questions; What do you care about? What ideas stuck with you? 

They collaborated in small groups to consider: What do 'we' care about? What matters to 'us'? What problems are associated with what we care about?

“We” means our grade 5 cohort + as a school citizen of Japan + as a global citizen.

All about us activity.

Developing groups activity: Students reflected on who they were as learners by creating a colour coding system to identify a range of statements that highlighted; their personal strengths, learning needs, and skills or qualities they need support with (from their group members).

Once students were placed within their Exhibition groups, developed by considering who they are as learners, they created essential agreements for how they were going to work together as a team. 

Choosing a topic to inquire into: Hexagonal Thinking Routine

Students wrote a range of their big ideas and specific ideas onto hexagons. They worked within their team to see where the connections were between their ideas collectively. 

Idea Equations: They shared with each other the ideas that 'excites them the most' and which ideas they thought would meet 'the needs of their group' in order to help them make final decisions. Each team developed an idea equation, taking three related concepts and seeing how they might connect together.

Setting up their Learning Environment:

Each group set up their learning space within the classroom by considering:

- how they physically work best as learners

- how they will document their to do lists

- how they might organise the space to ensure they are productive


One Idea/Many Ideas: Research!

After selecting their inquiry, students wrote questions using the key concepts and developed their lines of inquiry. They developed the first section of their SOLO in order to identify how they might begin to research. 



The research stage had officially begun...

Students have been using the MISO (M = Media, I = Interview, S = Survey, O = Observation) method to consider where they may obtain a wide variety of research and perspectives for their inquiries. 

Developing a survey to gather perspectives from the community. 

A group Interviewing Mr Brittain on his experience with the 2011 Earthquake. 

Students share the new knowledge they are gaining with each other and consider where this sits within their SOLO/learning outcomes they have developed.  

 Note taking using their preferred method. 

The Learning Environment: Teachers and students use the environment to document their learning journey as it develops. 

What have we achieved each week? Where have we come from and where are we heading?

Visible essential agreements and plans for researching. 

Word Wall: What new vocabulary has our group learnt? How can this help us in our research?

Along the way, students support each other to succeed! They share their ideas, ask questions of each other and offer advice and suggestions in order to challenge their thinking.

The Hot Seat! Students develop into risk taking communicators as they share their current understanding of their topic with the class. Their peers ask them questions such as: 

- What does ___ mean? 

- Can you tell us more about ___?

- What do you mean by ___?

- Can you give us some examples of ____?

 The journey continues... Part 2

Connecting Ideas Stage

As students moved into the 'connecting ideas' stage of their inquiries, they were analyzing, comparing/contrasting, relating and justifying the research they had in order to deepen their understanding of their topics.

Learning experiences throughout this stage included; 

- Comparing data and research from different sources or countries

- Interviewing experts via Zoom (by comparing their research notes with interview answers in order to formulate new questions and understand their concepts in more depth)

- Attending workshops led by Mr O'Shea and Mr G exploring how to dig deeper into data - How can we make sense of our survey data? What is the data telling us? What patterns are emerging from the data? How can this data help us with our developing knowledge? 

- Using Venn diagrams as a tool for comparing and contrasting research

 The Written Element: 

  • Writing helps us to process new information and understand more clearly what we have learnt in connection with our Lines of Inquiry.

  • Writing helps us to organise our thoughts and communicate our learning confidently and effectively.

  • Writing encourages us to put into action the new academic language we have learnt. 

  • Writing helps us to reflect -  ‘what knowledge am I missing?’

Students independently wrote an information report with three main sections connected to their lines of inquiry. This process also allows for students to apply all of the skills they have gained through the Writer's Workshop during their time in Elementary. 

Throughout the 'connecting ideas' stage, students continued to share their developing knowledge with others. Asking probing questions to each other in order to strengthen their confidence with how they express their ideas verbally. 

Going Further!

In the 'going further' stage of the inquiry, students are encouraged to consider how they might take action and 'do' something with all the knowledge they have gained. They were provoked with ideas through a workshop where the concept of 'taking action' was explored further. They considered the five core elements of action in the PYP: Participation, Advocacy (including advocacy through art and technology), Social Justice, Social Entrepreneurship, and Lifestyle Choices, 

 After planning, students 'pitched' their ideas to another Exhibition group where they asked questions, such as 

  • What are you hoping others will ‘do’ as a result of your action?

  • How does your idea challenge others to take action? 

  • Can you give me an example of an action you are hoping someone might take in response to your___________(e.g lesson)

  • How will others interact with your action?

Taking Action!

An interactive game encouraging the player to step into the shoes of a person being body shamed.

How can we keep our social health flourishing during Covid-19 times? A penpal system designed for students in Grade 1 - Grade 5 to support their social health and encourage letter writing over the Summer months. 

A 'shop' selling products designed for calming frustrations when having an issue with a friend - products sold to Grade 4 and Grade 5 students. 

Sports is genderless! Students teach the Grade 3 students touch rugby, with a mini lesson about the stereotypes of women in sports and how we need to push these boundaries through embracing all sports. 

A board game with a focus on 'equality' - teaching people about the experience of those a part of the LGBTQIA+ community presented to our Middle School Students.

A podcast: "To preserve mythology by talking about myths that aren’t well known on our podcast. And to spread mythology to people who don’t know about mythology. Another reason why mythology is important is because of the morals the myths give us. The morals can make us better people. Mythology has also affected our language for example: idioms. Idioms can help us express ourselves in creative and fun ways. Without mythology, we wouldn’t have any of our mythological idioms."

A lesson for our Grade 1 & Grade 2 students with a focus on cultural and gender representation and misrepresentation. 

An experience of teaching: "Our purpose for this initiative is for kids, preferably younger than us, to be able to get support they need for learning. We also want to stem out better attitudes, and powerful growth mindsets."

Our Exhibition goes LIVE this Wednesday 12th May. We will be sharing a link to the website, an interactive space for feedback and questions from our audience and a Zoom link to the online Exhibition Celebration on Thursday 13th May at 6pm. 

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Happy Holidays!
Serrin Smyth

Thank you for a wonderful 2020-2021 school year!