Category Archives: Learner Profile

Trans-disciplinary Skills Development

The International Baccalaurate defines the five essential elements of the Primary Years Programme as:

  • knowledge
  • skills
  • concepts
  • attitudes
  • action

Every unit of inquiry addresses those elements, as well as the Learner Profile attributes. When it comes to those, attitudes and skills, meaningful links can be made.

But this post is focusing on transdisciplinary skills development and what this could look like.

In Grade 3 we are focusing on Research and Thinking Skills. The skill I want to write about is the skills to formulate questions, which is essential for so many things, but in this case for research and inquiry.

This is how we are asking and formulating questions:

  • Wallwisher – the students can post questions at all times on the computer OR on the real-life WonderWall (they have been advising each other on how to make the questions “better”)
  • Thinking Aloud Reading Strategies – During shared reading, we stop and share our wondering
  • Stop and Think Reading Strategies (those also address the development of thinking skills esp. comprehension) – Again a strategy where we can formulate questions to help with understanding
  • The Big 6 information and technology skill development approach helped us to formulate our task and to focus on questions we should know answers to as experts in a particular field

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Filed under Grade 3, Language, Learner Profile, PYP, PYP Essential Elements, Skills


Grade 3 at ISM responded to change today.
As I outlined in my previous post, the class moved from their classroom to the Design & Technology room today (also called the packed lunch room, which, in all honesty, might not have been a smart idea… the smell of food after lunch is a bit yucky!).

In the morning the learners (I don’t like the work students and I don’t think of the kids as “students” in the traditional sense either, so I am trying to use the term learners instead) were greeted by a message on their classroom door saying “Grade Three are in the DT room today”. That message caused confusion, because the room is not well known by its official name, and is usually referred to as the lunch room. However, I did stay in front of the room down the corridor, so I was able to direct those confused minds.

The questions came in right away. Why are we here? What are we doing here? Are we having lunch here? and so on… It was really hard not to say anything. I want to the students to have the experience before I make it explicit.
The chatting was hard to control in the morning, so I used the opportunity to continue talking… but about why we think we are here. There were some interesting thoughts, but I didn’t give a reason in the end. We are just in there.

I didn’t move anything much from the classroom, only pencils, their new reflective journals, and some books. To change their shoes, learners walked back to class. They did this 4 times today. To get materials for Math, they walked back to the classroom. This is in line with what I expected.

The learnerss responded in different ways…. there was confusion and more talk than usual, there was playing around with stuff from the DT room that they had never seen/used before. There was a lot of walking back and forth. Some frustration.

I am curious to see what will happen. It was business as usual though, we continued our normal class life.
At home, the students will tell their parents about today, and then complete some reflection…. I will do the same here.

1) What was different today. How and why?

I think I have already covered that up there!

2) One thing you found challenging in the DT room: I thought it was hard to find good ways to work in a room that is meant for something completely different. I missed my setup in class.

3) One thing you enjoyed in the DT room: I loved the way the students were so intrigued. I think this is a good provocation, so lets hope it will continue to develop…. as we continue to respond and start to adapt.


Filed under Concepts, Grade 3, How the world works, Learner Profile, PYP

Summative Assessment part 2 (Classroom)

Rights and Responsibilities has now come to an end, with a massive celebration today (more about that later) and our final reflections.

My final reflections are still to come, but I have to say that the last two weeks were the best of the unit, the students taking control and again showing me that this is the best way to learn.

The summative assessment was an open-ended task. The stimulus was the central idea, and the students chose from a range of ways to respond to “Rights and responsibilities are important aspects of community life”.
We determined the following criteria:

  • use of persuasive language (beginning, using the structure of persuasion)
  • show the clear link between rights and responsibilities
  • show the positive effect that responsible members have in a community


The students in my close chose role plays and cartoons (using toondoo) to present their ideas. It was great!

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Filed under Grade 3, Language, Learner Profile, PYP, Who we are

Rights and Responsibilities at ISM Modena

At the beginning of the week I joined the mother tongue Italian kids in my class in their Italian lesson, which is a mixed group (Grade 3 and 4). They were presenting their summative assessment projects.

As Chiara already explained in her post, they looked at how the the UN Charter of Children’s Rights is reflected in the PYP attitudes, Learner profile attributes and the school’s mission statement.

The projects were great, and some of the students in my class really surprised me. I really didn’t understand that much (I don’t speak Italian *really*), so I would love if Chiara could add some more information about it here.

My Reflection: I loved the assessment and I think it would have been great to collaborate on an assessment in the homeroom and the Italian room. In the future, I think this is something we can develop, especially for the mother tongue kids.
I also saw that one of the students in my class had a completely different way of working in the Italian language. Much more focused and much more engaged. This has made me reflect on the language practice in my classroom once more.


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Filed under Grade 3, Language, Learner Profile, PYP, Who we are

Essential Agreements

It’s been quiet here, as the current units come to an end. Students are engaged in summative assessments, and a lot is happening in our school.

As part of the “coming together” of the unit, we are also working on our essential agreements for the class. The need for them is quite obvious, and we have been thinking a lot about how we like to be treated and what makes us feel safe.

Over the next few days, K., a mom in my class, is coming to moderate sessions for us on rights and responsibilities and establishing our essential agreements. This voluntary action is also helpful for her, as she can count the hours for her professional development. I need to double-check what it is again!

I am excited about tomorrow, and will let you know how it goes!


Filed under Grade 3, Learner Profile, Who we are

Being a responsible member of the community

Grade 3 at ISM Modena have been exploring the communities they belong to. It is quite amazing how many communities we are part of, and how many different roles we take every day.

Over the past and next few days, Grade 3 are observing how someone else takes responsibility in a community. And in class, we are asking ourselves “What is my role in that community?”, “What makes me a responsible member of this community?” and “Why are we responsible?”

Can you tell us how you are a responsible member of a community you belong to?


Edit: Through this post I just realized a great connection I can make in the classroom. We have started to use and share a space with Grade 4. In order for this to work, general agreements have to be made. I think it would be a great idea to ask ourselves “How can we be responsible members of this online community?” which should lead us to netiquette, and general online behavior.

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Filed under Grade 3, Learner Profile, PYP, Unit of Inquiry, Who we are

Perspectives in Grade 3 (ISM)

One of the key concepts we are exploring during this unit of inquiry (Rights and Responsibilities) is perspectives. To support understanding of the concept, I have used some very thought-provoking books:

  • I am the dog, I am the cat by Donald Hall (that is on the agenda for tomorrow)
  • Voices in the park by Anthony Browne
  • Luke’s Way of Looking by Nadia Wheatley and Matt Ottley

They have helped the students to connect to the idea of perspective, point of view and how they can differ.
The students had a close look at the exhibited School Bill of Rights, which is illustrated in the hall way of the school, and they chose the one they considered to be most important. We linked this back to the idea of points of view.

Further we managed to connect this to our current writing focus to persuade. The students have to persuade others of their opinion, their point of view, yet also appreciate the fact that there are different perspectives.


Filed under Concepts, Grade 3, Language, Learner Profile, PYP, Unit of Inquiry, Who we are