One of my roles as a PYP Coordinator at SEK International School - El Castillo was organizing the staff's professional development.
The great challenge we had was having enough time for teacher to gather in collaborative learning environments where they could reflect together and conduct their own inquiries into teaching and learning.
I tried several different alternatives to face this challenge, such as online workshops, self-paced inquiry groups, and webinars.
The example in the video below is of a webinar that I created around the concepts and ideas of Visible Thinking and Creating Cultures of Thinking in the classroom. I created this webinar and used it as a tool for information and reflection during staff meetings.
The last few workshops I have led have been paper less. This is a goal I had set for myself a while ago because of the enormous amount of paper that usually gets wasted during teacher workshops.
It is common, especially during a PYP workshop, for the leader to create a workbook that the school or workshop venue prepares prior to the workshop, filled with articles, resources and activities.
I have never found these workbooks to be as helpful as they should, mainly because they are rigid and must be prepared well in advance, which limits my possibilities of making last minute changes to the workshop as I notice the teacher's specific needs closer to the workshop, or even during the workshop.
Using technology, I have been able to develop much more flexible content, catered specifically for the group of teachers I am working with at that moment. It also helps me share out the resources and content progressively, as I see fit based on the needs of the teachers, as opposed to presenting them with a lengthy workbook at the beginning, which sometimes makes teachers feel nervous or overwhelmed.
For the past four workshops I have led, I have used an online workbook in the form of a blog, which I set up prior to the event.
Below are two examples of these. Note that these are for workshops that have already been completed, which means they are filled with information and evidence of the teachers work and learning. At the beginning of a workshop, the blog would only have a few tabs rather than all of those you will see currently.
*For easier navigation, once you have clicked on the link, make sure you select "sidebar" view. This will allow you to see the different tabs for the sections of the workshop.
Blog created for the workshop "Literacy, Math and Symbolic Learning in the Early Years" (Shanghai, China; November, 2017) CLICK HERE.
Blog created for the workshop "Concept - Based Learning" (Copenhagen, Denmark; September, 2014). CLICK HERE
I was fortunate enough to be part of an amazing project which involved the renovation of the learning spaces in the Early Years section of SEK International School - El Castillo.
What was most interesting about this is that it involved an in depth inquiry done by ourselves as leadership and teaching team.
The results were fantastic, and we had the pleasure of sharing these on the official PYP online magazine - Sharing PYP Practice.
It all started with a lot reflection and self-assessment. Each teacher, with the guidance of both me and the Early Years Coordinator, @judecanning, reflected and analysed pictures of their current learning spaces. We used the book "Designs for Living and Learning" by Deb Curtis and Maggie Carter to guide our thinking, and the the amazing feedback from Andrea Muller, from Innovative Global Education, who we were consulting with at the time. As a result of this reflection, we started brainstorming the changes we wanted to implement in our learning environments, and began working with architects, constructors and designers.
The process was very enriching because it was great to see how the ideas we put forth started translating into practice. The result is an amazing looking learning environment, through which meaningful learning and child - centred inquiry is fostered!
Please check out the article on Sharing PYP Practice, which explains the process and the results with more detail!
This culminating event of the PYP is an exciting time for students, teachers and parents. This year was our school's third exhibition, and my first as the PYP coordinator and as a Year 6 teacher.
Having had participated in exhibition before at my prior school, Santiago College (Santiago, Chile), as a mentor and under the amazing guidance of @jessievas12, I had some experience and knowledge about what the exhibition is all about, and this was a great chance for me to continue developing these understandings and taking the risk and challenge of leading the year 6 teachers and students through it.
The process was an amazing success and Exhibition Day was a wonderful moment. Because an image is worth a thousand words, and therefore a video should be worth even more, here is a video I created to share the process we followed and the outcomes we reached.
As the PYP Coordinator at the school I was asked to lead a workshop for parents at the beginning of the year to help them better understand our teaching and learning philosophy and how this translates into our teaching practices.
I planned a workshop in which parents could truly experience the PYP philosophy and like that understand the way that their children learn at our school. Therefore, I included collaborative activities and moments for reflection.
The following is the powerpoint presentation that I used for the workshop, and here you can download the video of the workshop itself.
You can also click here to see the school's blog post about it!