We are almost exactly one year to the day in celebrating our first year anniversary of becoming an authorized International Baccalaureate World School offering the Primary Years Programme. We have been working diligently to address the recommendations that were provided to us by the IB in our authorization report, as well, these align nicely with the goals that we are trying to achieve with Rocky View Schools’ Communication of Student Learning, and the 21st Century Competencies.
Our learners are becoming much more competent in the development of their individual digital portfolios, most will have a least one piece (if not more) in their portfolio to share with their parents as our learning conferences approach at the end of this month. The goal of our digital portfolios is multifaceted, as part of RVS’ Communication of Student Learning and the development of 21st Century Learner Competencies, we are aiming to better inform and include parents on their child’s learning journey, as well as encourage students to become more self-directed, and take ownership of their learning. This aligns with the PYP’s Approaches to Learning (Transdisciplinary Skills) in terms of Thinking Skills. We want our learners to be metacognitive (thinking about their thinking and learning and how they may improve upon it in the future). Reflection is critical to a portfolio. By reflecting upon their work, the learning that occurred, and the process they went through to gain knew knowledge and understanding, our learners will be able to better monitor themselves independently and and initiate strategies that will help them improve going forward, rather than relying on others to provide them their sole source of feedback. While our digital portfolios are private and password protected, we would still love to share them with you! Feel free to come on out to Prairie Waters any time and pop into classes or join our admin team to take a look at some of the work that has been going into our learners’ portfolios.
Another recommendation from IB was that we try to expand our presence and participate in the global IB community to the best of our ability. Last week, we had 7 teachers from Edmonton Catholic come down to spend the day with us. They were visiting from 2 other PYP schools and had the chance to visit our classrooms to watch our inquiries in practice, see how we are integrating and using technology and social media to propel our learning and ask questions and collaborate on ideas of how to better align our respective school’s individual Programmes of Inquiry. We feel very fortunate to be able to share our work with other schools, and hope to take advantage of the open invitation to go and visit their schools as well to learn and improve in our practice. Currently, I’ve also been in communication with a few other PYP Coordinators across North America who are throwing around the idea of organizing a North American #pypchat EdCamp style Professional Learning gathering. It would be great to be involved in both the planning and the product!
As our learners develop their research skills, we want to ensure that every child is successful in their personal or group inquiries. Our staff technology blog provides different posts, which share tips and tricks on how to provide learning environments and tools to our students so that they can reach their own personal level of success. A couple of the most recent additions to our blog are about using the speech function on laptops and iPads as well as making an audio comment/reflection on a digital portfolio piece, rather than a written reflection. By teaching our learners these tips, tricks and tools, we hope that they are again able to become more self-directed and confident in their own abilities to find, make sense of, interpret and do something with the information that is presented to them.
There’s always something exciting going on at Prairie Waters! Come hang out with us for a little bit, let our grade 5’s teach you how to create something on their iPads, let our Grade 3’s show you how to SPARK your learning by being active and getting your blood and heart pumping, get outside with our Grade 1’s as they explore and look for patterns all around us in the natural world. Our door is always open!