Making Global Connections

This past week I have been reflecting on my practice through the lens of our Principles of Learning and find connections with Jay McTighe‘s article: “Three Lessons for Teachers from Grant Wiggins”

by Jay McTighe

Common Understanding of Learning 

At ISM, we understand that learning is a lifelong, ongoing process.

Learners develop understanding by acquiring knowledge and skills, constructing meaning and making connections through inquiry, action and reflection.

Principles of Learning
Authenticity, Inclusivity, Independence and Interaction, Challenge, Creativity, Reflection

International School Mainfranken

The three main ideas from Grant Wiggins are:

  • Lesson #1—Always Keep the End in Mind
  • Lesson #2—Feedback is Key to Successful Learning and Performance
  • Lesson #3—Have Empathy for the Learner

As I began to reflect on my practice and create these connections I noticed that as a PYP teacher I wanted to bring the ATL skills, PYP key concepts and the Learner Profile into this picture as well.

This year my students are participating through our Units of Inquiry in several global projects to ensure authenticity as they are constructing their understanding of the abstract ideas and transferring meaning into concrete structures and schemas. These PBLs are designed to enhance our inquiries and the technology is used to transform the learning engagements into authentic experiences that will ignite our intrinsic motivation into appropriate action.

Empatico – Empatico empowers teachers and students to explore the world through experiences that spark curiosity, kindness, and empathy. A combination of live video chat with guided activities designed to foster meaningful connections among students from different cultures.

PYP Connections – Concept: Perspective; LP: Reflective ATL: Information Transfer and Reflection and Metacognition
ISM Connections – Authenticity & Reflection

#Goalsproject – Remove barriers!
The Goals Project is designed to be for everyone! Anyone, anywhere; those with past experience with the Sustainable Development Goals or new altogether to global collaboration. We want it to be fun, free of barriers, and not a drain on time! It is meant to be the start of a conversation around the Global Goals and social good. Some classes will take an hour to get their project set and others may choose to go deeper. Mainly, just know any level of participation is welcome, and we are here to help every step of the way!

PYP Connections – Concept: Perspective; LP: Open-minded; ATL: Exchanging Information and ICT
ISM Connections – Challenge & Inclusivity

Climate Action – For this global project more than 500 schools over 100 countries will collaborate on climate change topics over the course of four exciting weeks! Students from across six different continents will explore, brainstorm, discuss, create, connect, present and share their findings via weekly videos. During the final week of the project, all participants will have the opportunity to have a live, virtual interaction with their global peers. 
This year, as part of the project, we will do a global tree planting. Will you join PlantED? Together, we hope to instill a greater understanding in our students of the importance of taking action against climate change.

PYP Connections – Concept: Form and Causation; LP: Inquirer, Open-minded; ATL: Exchanging Information and ICT
ISM Connections – Independence and Interaction

Global Read-Aloud – Global collaboration is necessary to show students that they are part of something bigger than them. That the world needs to be protected and that we need to care for all people. You can show them pictures of kids in other countries but why not have them speak to each other? Then the caring can begin. The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. We learn to use tools like Skype, Twitter, Padlet, and Flipgrid to connect and collaborate with students around the world. Through GRA We get a community to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring us to continue these connections through the year.

PYP Connections – Concept: Connection; LP: Caring, Principled; ATL: Interpersonal
ISM Connections – Creativity, Reflection

Mystery Skype –  is an education game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions. It has totally transformed the way students learn about the world and how technology can be used to inform us.

PYP Connections – Concept: Function; LP: Knowledgeable; ATL: Information Literacy and Media Literacy
ISM Connections – Challenge, Authenticity, Reflection

These projects all lead us towards our culminating project: the PYP Exhibition, through these projects the students are able to develop and practice their Knowledge, Skills, and Understandings.


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