Friday, February 26, 2016

We're Internationally-Minded! A song about the IB Learner Profile

Central to the mission of the International Baccalaureate Organization is to "develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect."

In order to accomplish this goal, authorized IB programs use the IB Learner Profile, a set of "10 attributes valued by IB World Schools. We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help individuals and groups become responsible members of local, national and global communities."

In our PYP, we introduce the IB Learner Profile to our kindergarten students right away when they start the year with us and throughout the next subsequent six years, continue to provide students with opportunities to further develop their understanding of these 10 attributes. Our students collaboratively create classroom displays, highlight particular attributes when reading and recognize when those around them demonstrate attributes of an internationally-minded person.

In addition to these and the many other ways we bring the IB Learner Profile to the center of our life at our PYP, we also sing about it as a way to remember, understand and celebrate the IB Learner Profile.

Check out these second graders singing "We're Internationally-Minded!", an original song we created at our school about the IB Learner Profile. Can you figure out which learner profile attributes they're singing about in the verses? All 10 are mentioned!

If you want to sing this song with your students, check out the lyrics below. If you want to play along, here is a copy of the lyrics with the guitar chords. Note: The second graders in the video are chanting "K-A-P-O-S-I-A" to celebrate our school, but you can easily change the lyric to fit your Primary Years Program.

We’re Internationally-Minded!

Verse 1
We’re curious and we love to learn.
Knowing the big idea is our concern.
We are responsible and act with honesty.

We show compassion to all our friends.
We truly care for them, it's not pretend.
We can express ourselves and listen carefully.

We know, inquire, and care and we are thinkers.
We’re principled and balanced and risk-takers.
We communicate, reflect, we’re open-minded.
(chant school name): We’re internationally-minded! (x2)

Verse 2
We use our thinking skills to make decisions.
We value other cultures and traditions.
We think about the world and ourselves thoughtfully.

We balance different aspects of our lives.
Take care of mind and body, to survive.
We’re brave and take risks when faced with uncertainty.


We’re all in this together.
There’s just one human race.
We want to make Earth better,
to bring peace to this place.
If not now, then when?
If not us, then who?
It’s all up to me and you, you, you!


Friday, February 12, 2016

Teaching Story Elements and Fluency with Minecraft

Since I've been working with students in our MinecraftEdu class, students have had the opportunity to practice and refine math skills in worlds that others have created and posted on the MinecraftEdu World Library

Although these experiences have been worthwhile and students have been able to collaborate, communicate and think critically, they haven't had a lot of chances to be creative and do what Minecraft does best - BUILD.

To address this issue, I decided that I wanted the students to build something; "BUT WHAT?" I asked.

In an effort to start simple, I adapted a version of Little Red Riding Hood, dropped the students in the middle of a flat world and gave them these simple instructions:

Through several sessions, the students worked together, talked through their plans, thought critically about what they'd build and how they'd build it but most importantly, they were able to show their individual and collective creativity. 

On the last day of the project, the students recorded their story as they walked through the setting they had created. They each quickly practiced, making sure they were able to read their individual part with expression.

Here is their final product.

After reading about how I used MinecraftEdu to help students create the story elements of a familiar tale to tell the story in a new way, how could you use MinecraftEdu in your classroom?

P.S. Two years ago, I started to document and share, through this blog, the best teaching practices I was observing around my school . Over these last two years, I have found great joy in reflecting on and sharing what wonderful things are going on in our school. This blog has been visited over 50,000 times by people all over the world. Many of you, in Minnesota and abroad, have offered both positive and constructive feedback - a dialogue that helps us, education professionals, to collectively improve. Thank you for reading, responding and collaborating.