Early Years – Celebrations
As part of our second Unit, ‘How We Express Ourselves’, we are exploring stories, games and celebrations. The transdisciplinary nature of the PYP requires that as much as possible, all three dimensions of the Unit are incorporated into the learning experience. Together with the students, it was decided that the best way to implement this would be to organise a real celebration in class to enable students appreciate the concept. Then during this event, party games could be explored and stories could be shared.
Early Years hence set out planning its first group celebration. Learners, as usual, were at the centre of the planning, freely donating items and assisting with set-up and décor. On the eve of the party, the room was colourfully decorated by the learners, with assistance from teachers, Aunty Delali, and our Head Janitor, Uncle Tony, as we affectionately call him. Learners could simply not contain their excitement.
The D-day eventually came on Wednesday, 6 November, coinciding auspiciously with the birthday of Miss Angela, our Kinder One Teacher, Oye, a Grade One student, and Mrs. Kudah, a parent. Members of the learning community were not left out of the celebration. The team invited our PYP Coordinator, Administrator, Uncle Tony, Kitchen Staff, and IT Systems Manager, as well as Primary Teachers. As was to be expected, the Early Years team pulled off the most amazing birthday bash ever witnessed at the Primary School campus.
We expressed our excitement by singing, dancing, listening and responding to stories; playing games; blowing out candles and cutting the birthday cake with the celebrants. No party is complete without food, drinks and goodwill messages, and ours was no exception. The music flowed, and we had loads to eat, drink and be merry. It was a truly live and fun learning experience. That is what we call experiential learning!
Lower and Upper Primary
Assessment in PYP
Assessment is integral to all aspects of teaching and learning. It is central to the IB PYP’s goal of thoughtfully and effectively guiding students through the essential elements of learning ie., the understanding of concepts, the acquisition of knowledge, the mastering of skills and the decision to take responsible action. In its simplest form, assessment is everything we do that guides students to answer the three most important questions they have as learners ‘Where am I?’, ‘Where do I need to be?’ and ‘How can I close the gap?’ Effective assessment must always be ongoing, varied and purposeful, and it must also be a collaborative process that involves students, families, teachers and our community.
To that end, the strategies of Assessment at TIS PYP fall into three domains:
- Assessment AS learning
- Assessment OF learning and
- Assessment FOR learning.
These domains can be understood as follows:
Assessment FOR learning are the strategies and tools teachers utilise to gather data on student progress for the purpose of helping them learn. The focus here is not on grading, reporting or judging. Rather, teachers are intently involved in trying to understand exactly how students are interpreting and understanding their work, in order to accurately plan for the next steps in each child’s learning. No grades or final judgments are attached to assessments FOR learning Assessment AS learning focuses on the meaning the student is making of the assessment process. It is the way in which the student benefits from reflecting on assessment. Assessment AS learning is not graded; its sole purpose is to support students in owning their experience and navigating their personal journey as a learner.
Assessment OF learning is the type of assessment that most people think of upon hearing the word, ‘Assessment.’ This is the measurement of the extent to which students have mastered the learning goals. It is the type of assessment which usually ends up in grades and report card comments.
Strategies and Tools for Assessment
Some assessment strategies used to evaluate students’ learning include:
- Performance Assessments
- Transdisciplinary Skills Assessments (Research, Thinking, Communication, Self Management and Social Skills)
- Open-Ended Assessments
- Selected Response Assessments (Tests/Quizzes)
- Portfolios, etc.
- Tools such as Rubrics, Exemplars, Checklists, Anecdotal Records, and Continuums are used for varied assessments.
In the picture below, the Opal class used a rubric to guide them in designing a poster to display their understanding of the earth’s physical geography. They also used a rubric to assess an oral presentation on migration.
Again, they worked with a checklist to write historical narrative stories about ancient civilisations. As a collaborative learning technique, students are sometimes allowed to evaluate their peers’ work. Here are some of their reflections on the exercise.
‘E-Assessment’ is the use of digital technologies to create, distribute, assess and provide feedback for formative, summative, diagnostic or self-assessment. Technological developments have afforded new ways of assessing student learning and providing feedback. One of these technologies is Edmentum, a platform whose main goal is to make personalized learning an achievable reality in every classroom.
Both Opal and Onyx classes took a diagnostic test on Edmentum this week, after which each student had a clearly defined learning path, based on their performance. This platform seeks to help students overcome their learning challenges as well as take charge of their own learning. From the picture below, we see how engaged students were in their personalised learning journeys.
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