Educating the whole child

One of my favourite things about the PYP is the balance of the 5 elements.

Knowledge: What we want our students to know.

Concepts: What we want our students to understand.

Skills: What we want our students to use.

Attitudes: What we want our students to show.

Action: What we want our students to do.

I loved the 5 elements because I felt they equally valued all the things needed to make good humans.

But then I took a close look at the rubrics we use to assess our Units of Inquiry.

I noticed that our rubrics heavily valued the knowledge gained in a unit, and sometimes the understanding of the concepts but there was no acknowledgement of the skills that were developed, the attitudes that were shown or the actions that were taken. This really got me thinking. If our rubrics are only focused on the knowledge and the understanding, isn’t that a reflection of what we as teachers were valuing as well?

The answer was yes.

As we started to reflect on this with our teachers it became very clear that we were taking the time to select the skills and attitudes that we wanted to work on throughout the unit and  identify them in our PYP planners– but then not doing anything with them.

So in our latest planning meetings we decided to step back, and design a rubric that acknowledges all 5 elements of the PYP. Our hope is that by having all the elements explicitly on our unit rubric we as teachers will be more mindful of balancing the 5 elements within our day to day learning experiences. We’re also hoping that this style of rubric will inspire us to create a summative activity that gives students to chance to show the knowledge they have gained, the concepts they have understood, the skills they have acquired, the attitudes they have developed and the actions they have taken.

Here is a sample of our “balanced” rubric.

UOI Rubric Template

UOI Rubric Template

A few teachers from each grade level are going to try this rubric as a pilot and then we will reflect on the benefits and challenges of using this type of rubric and whether this rubric helped us as teachers to do a better job using the 5 elements of the PYP to help make good humans.

As this is something new we are trying, I would love to hear  your questions, concerns and insights surrounding this pilot rubric and the bigger issue of properly acknowledging, balancing and valuing all 5 elements of the PYP in efforts to do a better job educating the whole child.

6 thoughts on “Educating the whole child

  1. Adam Hill May 19, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    This is fantastic! I’m so glad you shared it during the PYP chat. I will share it with my colleagues today. Since introducing it in 2014, has it proved to be a success?



    • tbondclegg June 7, 2016 / 4:33 am

      Hi Adam, Not too many teachers felt ready to use it and experimented with gathering data about the essential elements in other ways. As I head back into the classroom I am excited to try it and will let you know how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adam Hill June 7, 2016 / 4:34 am

        Please do. Thanks! Adam


  2. jewel jackson June 7, 2016 / 4:24 am

    This looks wonderful. Can I please ask would you use this at the end of a UOI for your summative assessment? Would you use it each time ?
    Thank you


    • tbondclegg June 7, 2016 / 4:31 am

      I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and I’m thinking of using it throughout the unit. My current thinking it to give a student-friendly version to students on the first day of the unit to encourage them to self-assess what they already know, understand, show, use and do. This will hopefully give me a good idea of where they think they are starting. Then I’m thinking at the end of each week handing back the same version and in a different colour having them reflect on where they think they are now and it this point start to record some evidence and next steps. At this stage I would want to conference with each student about their self-assessment and share and add my perspective to the rubric as well based on what I have observed. Doing this each week in different colours would allow them to see their growth over time and also to set goals for the upcoming week of what they need to learn more about, show more, be more or do more. Then at the end of the unit, Id have students self-asses a final time to see where they think they are and then I would conference with each student to share where I think they are, and then together we would come up with their final level achievement and comment for their report card.

      That’s the vision I have in mind… I’ll have to wait until next year when I am back in the classroom to see how it goes in practice! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s