Home learning – now in video response

I'm not a huge fan of homework. It takes away from time children could be spending with their friends and families as well as time to get bored. However, I'm required to set it. So rather than give the children a 'task' to do every week, there's a simple statement which the children will then... Continue Reading →

What does inquiry look like?

One of the challenges of moving from the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) to the Primary Years Programme (PYP) has been the amount of jargon to get my head around, Trans-disciplinary themes, the learner profile, essential elements, approaches to learning. On one level I have enjoyed attaching language to learning processes and things I've done in... Continue Reading →

I didn’t have my ‘own class’ this past year – thoughts on team teaching

One of the things about teaching in a recently established school is that you have to be flexible. This past year I've been teaching the bulk of my time in one class and then releasing my team leader's Year 3 class while another teacher teaches the first class. I've had a lot of raised eyebrows and... Continue Reading →

On finishing the school year strong

There are three weeks until the end of the school year. Three weeks. This year has gone by in the blink of eye and despite the lack of christmas decorations, I find myself in countdown mode. Reports are in the final stages of being proofed and ready to enter. The final summative task is ready... Continue Reading →

You can’t force collaboration 

One of the joys for me as a primary teacher working in an international school is that I have access to the specialist knowledge and resources from having a secondary school on site. When preparing for the current unit of inquiry into forces shaping the planet, I sent an email asking one of the physics... Continue Reading →

Provocation – Setting the scene for Inquiry

Provocation is a powerful item in the inquiry learning tool box. It sparks confusion, a strong reaction and above all curiosity.  One of the strongest take aways from spending time at the International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) was how a strong provocation not only gets kids interested in the concepts but seeing themselves as practitioners in the academic discipline to... Continue Reading →

You can’t change the world in 6 weeks – Thoughts on sharing the planet 

Of all the transdisciplinary themes in the PYP Sharing the Planet is the one that brings up a lot of ethical concerns for me as a teacher. This is particularly the case in my context where I teach at an international school in highly developed Singapore. The kids and I live in a bubble of... Continue Reading →

Consistency – I don’t think that word means what you think it means

Language is a powerful tool in education. It can be used to open new ideas and concepts but it can also be used to shut people out of conversations. One of the words that I often find myself hearing in conversation is consistency. We want the children in our schools to exercise consistent behaviour and receive consistent standard of education. “Students... Continue Reading →

Restoring relationships through restorative practices

One of the challenging aspects of working in an international school is navigating cross-cultural differences between children. A harmless playground game can quickly escalate into a major incident when children are not aware of the ramifications of their actions. One such incident occurred last week in class when fooling for one group of children was... Continue Reading →

Sorting out, not tuning in 18/365

It's the start if a new term, a new unit. Instead spending the week tuning in, the children have been sorting out patterns and non-patterns, lines of symmetry in their natural environment. They've been deciding where to go to take pictures to tell the story of life in Singapore. These ideas might seem disconnected. But... Continue Reading →

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