The IB supports every IB World School by providing high-quality professional development workshops and resources designed to strengthen individual teaching practice and professional learning communities. As a part of their broader IB professional development portfolio, schools can request to have workshops delivered on their own premises or to schedule an online workshop for their educators. During January and February, our teachers are taking some of these workshops. This is one of the benefits of being part of an IB School. As a professional of education, IB teachers are given access to:
• High quality professional development that encourages critical thinking, self-reflection and dedication to lifelong learning and continuous improvement.
• Innovative and diverse education frameworks, unit planners, teaching resources and evaluation tools.
In this way, our teachers apply what they have learned encouraging our students to develop their learning.
Learning through language
Our Primary Education Spanish curriculum seeks training speakers to master their mother tongue with ease, both orally and in writing.
Pearson’s Language and Communication books allow learning through language (students use language as a tool to think or reflect on information, ideas, and issues) (Halliday, 1980).
In this series of teaching materials, we can find a general culture program. Throughout the school year, students will introduce deeply into the culture of six countries. In first grade, we present countries whose official language is Spanish. In second grade, they address countries where English is spoken, and thirdly, French. In high primary school, children know different countries with a great diversity of languages. From the beginning of each unit, we present students with a new series of intelligence bits about each country.
With these teaching contents, students, in addition to forming a cultural background, delve into social and ideological aspects that we share as humans and develop the skills, values, and attitudes necessary to participate in a globalized society and economy, as well as to commit to the search for a more fair, safe and sustainable world.
Why listening and speaking are so important when learning a language?
When we learn a language, we know we have to develop the four basic skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Of these four skills, I consider speaking and listening as the most important. You may ask “why?”. In the child’s language process acquisition, it all starts when they try to communicate a need and they first listen to the people around them to imitate and get what they want. This is how they understand many short instructions such as, “hug me”, “eat something”, “pick up your toys”, etc. Despite they do not reply, we know there is an understanding, so we start a primary form of communication through listening – performing these short actions.
Then, they start with short structures to communicate what they want, like “water”, “milk” or “soup” and this is how we can understand and cover their needs.
Once we understand this, we must have clear on one hand the school’s role and on the other hand the home’s support to develop these skills.
The school’s role is to prepare an appropriate and effective environment with different listening activities for the class like “listening for details”, “role plays”, “debates”, or “filling in the gaps activities”. These activities will give the students the opportunity to develop the skills in different context engaging themselves and anticipating making them feel more confident in class.
But, what can we do at home? It is not that complicated. You can help your kids by playing music in English, watching movies, plays or videos also in English. Then you can discuss what you watched or listened. This will help your kids not only to develop their listening and speaking skills but also to get more vocabulary and most of all to feel more comfortable and secure.
Activities to apply on car trips
I recommend doing some of these activities that, in addition to doing something different, will take the time to practice counting and oral-vocabulary expression.
Your kids can add the first two digits of the car plate next to you or add up all the digits that appear on the plate to challenge them with greater complexity. Add the first two digits of a car plate, plus the first two digits of a second one. To review the multiplication tables we use two digits of a plate. For greater complexity, multiply and then add or subtract the digit of a second plate.
Finally, to orally describe an object or animal seen along the way, play I spy…, giving at least two clues and using the knowledge we have about them. I spy an animal that is a mammal and gives us milk. What is it? These activities will make your transfers more entertaining and enjoyable.
Applying the PYP in the classroom
As part of our 3rd Unit of Inquiry “Renew or Die”, 5th grade students worked on a project in which, as a result of the research of the different types of government and making use of simple materials, such as gummies or sweets, and showing their creativity, they made the representation of various types, such as democracy, monarchy, dictatorship, theocracy, etc. It was a project in which students were able to show their understanding and identify what their peers were representing. It was significant and fun for them as well.
Life Cycles Activity
Once 1st graders learned about different life cycles, they chose their favorite and decided to present it in some creative way, whether it was, with a model, a poster or even using their toys. The most important thing was that they showed an understanding of the different stages that occur in a cycle. Students enjoyed it very much.
Water cycle activity
Freely, 1st graders presented their classmates with the different stages of the water cycle. Some did this using Power Point presentations, posters, or models. It was great to see how, in addition to learning the stages, they enjoyed doing family activity through a differentiated activity.
In the emotional
The moon is tired and maybe, so are we. Tired of the pandemic, the fear, the losses, the masks, the same place, the computer, anyway, so many things. All tiredness announces the logical need for a break and why not? of some caring that contains us and motivates us to move on.
‘Tired Moon’ is the title of a song that has been worked on with children to craft these natural feelings and also let them go. It was the way to seek within ourselves the resource, caring, comfort, and the image that invites us to smile.
The song is by Canticuénticos, a group of music for girls and boys originated in the city of Santa Fe in Argentina. Canticuénticos was declared of cultural interest by the Senate of the Nation (Argentina) for its “trajectory and valuable contribution to the national and Latin American children’s song maker” in 2017 and 2018 was declared Cultural Ambassador of the city of Santa Fe. In his songs and videos, there are aesthetic and poetic contributions.
During a class, Catalina, a 3rd-grade student, highlighted the activity and created her poem to the moon where she recognizes it. Here’s her poem:
‘Beautiful moon, you who light us in the dark, you accompany us to our homes, and at dawn, you leave’.
The message is not only for the children but for all of us. Regardless of the date, if you’re exhausted one day, take a break, look for a power-off (in others or yourself), and move on.
I proudly share that low-grade children drew so that the moon and all of us will continue to appreciate the good things in life, including the new opportunities it brings with it every year.
DATES TO REMEMBER
• DURING FEBRUARY – Parents-Teacher Interviews 2nd period (calendar and schedules will be sent by e-mail)
• FEBRUARY 1st – Class adjourn
• FEBRUARY 2nd – 4th Unit of Inquiry
• FEBRUARY 3rd – Parent´s Making a Difference IB Workshop
• FEBRUARY 12th – Valentine´s Day celebration
• FEBRUARY 19th – Class adjourn CTE (Consejo Técnico Escolar)