During the month of November, our staff focused on developing a better understanding of the Transdisciplinary Skills, which are included in the PYP Planner as an essential element. Another essential element of the PYP is Knowledge – which the PYP defines as, “Significant, relevant content that we wish the students to explore and know about, taking into consideration their prior experience and understanding” (Making The PYP Happen, International Baccalaureate, 2009, p.10). The essential element of Knowledge includes the Written Curriculum, Taught Curriculum, and Assessed Curriculum – These are now combined together on the new PYP Model, and are known as Approaches to Teaching.
During the month of December, we have honed in on developing our understanding of Assessment and what it looks like in our school. Our PL day on December 21 will be dedicated to looking in-depth at Rocky View School’s Assessment Policy, Policy HK. A requirement of IBO is that our school has a written and published assessment policy that is shared with our school community. Our Assessment committee is charged with developing this policy – and in our situation, Rocky View School’s assessment policy will be the major foundation of our IB assessment policy. Some of the questions that our Assessment Committee will explore and discuss with school staff during this process are:
- How should we structure assessment?
- How often should we assess?
- What do we assess?
- Who is responsible for assessment and how?
- How should assessment information be recorded?
- How should assessment information be analysed and reported?
- How will assessment information be reported to students and parents?
- Who will have access to assessment information and where will it be located?
- How often will we review our assessment practices?
Another important aspect of assessment is reflection – it’s important that both teachers and students are given the opportunity to reflect on their work and learning. The reflection process is built right into the PYP Planner for teachers to use. This enables grade teams to look carefully and critically at their units of inquiry and constantly evolve or improve the Units of Inquiry. Each staff meeting and PL day time that our staff shares together, I provide some quick PL on each section of the PYP planner. This allows us to look at each section a little more closely, and allow for questions/explanation of what needs to be included in each section in order to ensure a fully completed, in-depth planner. During our staff meeting today, I created this Prezi to share with the staff in order to aid them in their understanding of what to include in their reflections of their unit. This will be carried forward to the December 21 PL day, when teams will be given some time to go back in this last Unit of Inquiry planner, and think carefully about and reflect on the unit as a whole.
As Christmas break approaches, most grade teams are wrapping up their second Unit of Inquiry and are beginning the third. It is very exciting to hear all of the conversation that teams are engaged in around the continued improvement of their planners!
From all of us at Prairie Waters Elementary, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a safe and wonderful New Year!