What is the PYP? From the perspective of new-to-PYP Teachers

We have 25 wonderful new PYP staff. They have been working SO hard to make sense of a completely new education framework. They have spent 9 weeks after school reading IB documents, browsing blogs, teaching one another and sharing ideas. Now comes the time for consolidation and sharing… aka a “summative”.

To provoke their thinking about summatives, we first gave them a 4 page “PYP Test” as a provocation to experience what it is like to be on the receiving end of a test and to hopefully challenge the thinking that summative means tests. Their reactions and reflections about being “tested” were fascinating:

  • I was instantly fearful
  • I went blank
  • I knew everything, but I just couldn’t explain it in words
  • I remember learning it but I didn’t have it all memorized
  • I was worried about failing

This lead into a great conversation about shifting the notion of “summatives” away from tests and more towards authentic opportunities to share one’s learning with others. We used the RAFT format to structure our real PYP summative.image

So here they are! 25 PYP summatives where our new-to-PYP staff share their current understanding of the PYP with all of you! We’ve got songs, videos, raps, drawings, models, Prezis, journals, blog posts and more! Enjoy…

Blog post: IB in Kindergarten? Yes, IB in Kindergarten.

Prezi: Examining the PYP




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How creative, confident, reflective and knowledgable are our new-to-PYP teachers!?!? We feel very thankful to have 25 teachers who are truly living the IB learner profile.

After they finished their summative task, they assessed their own understanding of each line of inquiry and the central idea. Our hope is that at the end of the year we can pull the new staff back together and have them self-assess their understanding of the PYP again and see evidence of the growth and progress they have made over the year.

Do you know one of the most interesting discoveries throughout this process? I, as the ‘teacher’, couldn’t pull myself away from reading, watching and exploring their summatives! So often teachers dread marking. Maybe that is a clue that a summative is not actually an authentic sharing of learning, because apparently when it is… you actually look forward to exploring their summative and providing feedback!

Please help us continue to learn and grow! 

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

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.