Student-led conferences – a lesson in trust

Over the years, student-led conferences have become increasingly popular in schools. Instead of the parents and teachers talking about the child while the child sits at home, the child is there not only to hear the conversation but, in theory, lead it. Yet how often do the children get a choice in: The artifacts... Continue Reading →

Decluttering pedagogy – creating space to spark curiosity

I'm about three years late reading Marie Kondo's Joy of Tidying Up. The thesis of the book is that if an item doesn't spark joy, then dispose of it. To an international school teacher, living light is a necessity.  Sentimentality goes in the bin along with your unwanted possessions when you are under a strict... Continue Reading →

Classroom eye candy – does it really help with learning?

A few weeks ago, my class made a large wave machine out of jelly babies and skewers as a provocation of a unit of inquiry into energy. We did some maths figuring out how many skewers and jelly babies we would need and how much they cost. We made the Jellybaby machine. One of the kids... Continue Reading →

Teaching kids how to win… and how to lose

I thought I'd made it through the year without having to negotiate the football wars. A few weeks ago, the fighting and bickering started up. Who gets to play on what team and which position This person fouled me Trash talking I got hurt and it's all that person's fault A few incidents of pushing and shoving... Continue Reading →

Learning to be bored

One of the most useful pieces of advice I've been given in my teaching career is 'always leave them wanting more..' It's a good piece of advice. Bored kids are kids that get into trouble. Bored kids bully. Bored kids break and destroy school property. Bored kids get into fights. Yet now I wonder if that... Continue Reading →

The kids are ok – AKA lighten up

One of the challenges of teaching is that progress isn't always easy to point to when you are in the thick of lessons, meetings, extra curricula demands, writing reports. Over the last few weeks, I've been a bit down. Despite my best efforts, I didn't feel like the learning in class was particularly innovative or even... Continue Reading →

When children lead their learning

Another rounds of learning conferences. Having experienced parent teacher, 3 way conferences and learner led conferences my favourite is definitely the latter. By documenting throughout the year the children had a rich source of artefacts ready to share with their parents.  They could find different samples to compare and show shifts over time. Having too... Continue Reading →

The beauty of concept based learning

The joy of concept based learning is being able to take multiple contexts and start looking for patterns. A fashion unit looks at beauty over 100 years from different countries - Iran, Korea, USA, Germany. Some eras have more jewelry and make up, some countries split in two with opposite looks,  a dramatic change in fashion in... Continue Reading →


You can tell a lot about a school by the way the teachers are valued... senior leadership stops to praise the team at ISHCMC.Andy's opening speech reinforced by messages on the wall. Why we are all here. Getting meta during a photo scavenger hunt during the workshop I led.... Teachers sorting ideas in response to a... Continue Reading →

Re-thinking the crafting of Essential Agreements

In a Primary Years Programme (PYP) school, the formation of a team - whether staff or students - always starts off the same way creating an ‘essential agreement.' Rather than teachers imposing their rules on children, everyone in the group works together to establish an agreement of how the class will function. Like many international... Continue Reading →

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