IB Home School Connection Discussions
Planning a summer vacation or making plans for camps? Include the kids and use the Key Concepts as a guide!
Questions you can ask to engage your children:
What do you want camp to be like?
How do you want the trip organized?
What are some of the things you might not like?
Would you like to plan a day? What do you want to see or do?
Do you think you would do it again?
Other ways to keep children engaged and thinking during their summer activities:
Each family member read a different book on the area you are visiting so different perspectives can be shared.
Keep a journal to monitor expenses (restaurants, transporation costs), favorite moments, "un-favorite" moments, etc.
Use an electronic journal to take a photo and record a sentence in the child's voice describing the moment.
Allow the child to take pictures of what they find interesting. Consider a disposable camera.
Humans are pattern-detecting beings.
Constructivism is the idea that we build meaning through experiential and adaptive learning that challenges and expands our schemas (or mental frameworks). Our schemas organize information into categories and integrate new information. They develop on the basis of our experience and allow us to understand the world.
Our schemas are all different; some are culturally-based while others are based on personal experience. When we bring our schema into play and make use of it in a new way, we are learning and challenging misconceptions—through inquiry and through collaborative, experiential learning. Children need to experiment and prove things to themselves. When they have questions, our response should be “let’s find out!”
The IB Primary Years Program at Wade King Elementary gives children a wide range of schema building experiences from which to construct meaning and expand their understanding of the world around them. The provocation question that launches new units of inquiry is key to challenging students’ preconceptions and misconceptions and growing their schema. When students are asked to reflect at the end of a unit of inquiry, this provides the opportunity to see how their thinking has changed and their schemas have expanded.
Constructivism (philosophy of education)
Constructivism, as perspective in education, is based on experiential learning through real life experience to construct and conditionalize knowledge. It is problem-based, adaptive learning that challenges faulty schema, integrates new knowledge with existing knowledge, and allows for creation of original work or innovative procedures. The types of learners are self-directed, creative, innovative, drawing upon visual/spatial, musical/rhythmic, bodily kinesthetic, verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligences. The purpose in education is to become creative and innovative through analysis, conceptualizations, and synthesis of prior experience to create new knowledge. The educator’s role is to mentor the learner during heuristic problem solving of ill-defined problems by enabling quested learning. The learning goal is the highest order of learning: heuristic problem solving, metacognitive knowledge, creativity, and originality that may modify existing knowledge and allow for creation of new knowledge. Exemplars of constructivist perspective may be found in the works of John Dewey, Maria Montessori, and David Kolb.
Constructivism influences Instructional theory by encouraging discovery learning, hands-on learning, experiential learning, collaborative learning, project-based learning, and task-based learning. Constructivist epistemology, as a branch of the philosophy of science, offers an explanation of how human beings construct knowledge from information generated by previous experiences (heuristic knowledge). It has roots in cognitive psychology and biology and is an approach to education that lays emphasis on the ways knowledge is created while exploring the world.
In psychology and cognitive science, a schema (plural schemata or schemas) describes an organized pattern of thought or behavior that organizes categories of information and the relationships among them. It can also be described as a mental structure of preconceived ideas, a framework representing some aspect of the world, or a system of organizing and perceiving new information. Schemata influence attention and the absorption of new knowledge: people are more likely to notice things that fit into their schema, while re-interpreting contradictions to the schema as exceptions or distorting them to fit. Schemata have a tendency to remain unchanged, even in the face of contradictory information. Schemata can help in understanding the world and the rapidly changing environment. People can organize new perceptions into schemata quickly as most situations do not require complex thought when using schema, since automatic thought is all that is required.
People use schemata to organize current knowledge and provide a framework for future understanding. Examples of schemata include academic rubrics, social schemas, stereotypes, social roles, scripts, worldviews, and archetypes. In Piaget's theory of development, children adopt a series of schemata to understand the world.
January’s IB Home Connection topic was Playworks and the IB Learner Profile, presented by Principal Analisa Ficklin. Playworks is an organization that provides support and training to schools and encourages healthy, inclusive play at recess. The first half of the presentation focused on the historical challenges at recess time, why and how Playworks training was chosen by Wade King Elementary to address those challenges, and the strong connection of the Playworks program with the IB learner profile. The second half was comprised of questions and concerns parents and students have had these first months with the program. Questions about the program included how the program impacts creative, free play, the maintaining of competitive and cooperative games, game rules, and general feelings students have had about the program. Mrs. Ficklin addresses many of these questions in the February Newsletter. Click on the newsletter link on the left side of this page to read her comments.
The topic of this month’s IB Home School Connection is modeling the IB Learner Profile. This 10 point profile is the cornerstone of the IB Primary Years Program at Wade King Elementary!
We know that children learn by example—they copy what they see and learn by imitating behavior. As parents, we can be powerful role models for our children. When we reflect the IB Learner Profile for our children—for example, acting with honesty and integrity, showing empathy and concern, working collaboratively together and listening carefully—we are exhibiting the positive behaviors that we want them to imitate and assimilate.
Recently, the IBO revised the Learner Profile and the new version can be seen around the school (and below). While the meaning of each attribute of the profile has not changed, the voice of the description has. The use of we was deliberately used to ensure that all of the members of the learning community—parents, faculty, staff, and students—strive to meet the aspirations of the profile over the course of their lives. Working together we can create a community of Inquirers, Thinkers, Communicators and Risk Takers who are Knowledgeable, Principled, Open Minded, Caring, Balanced and Reflective.
All children benefit from having a clean, organized space in which to work on their home work. Creating such a space – using three basic ideas – will help your child get through nightly home-based assignments with greater ease and develop good study habits from an early age.
1) Find a space that works for your child.
On the floor, at a desk, in a corner…what works best for them to get their work done? Do they want music when they work – or not? Your job in setting up a work station is finding the place/conditions where they can be successful and produce their best work; let them have a voice in deciding what space works best for them. Some children like quiet, others prefer ambient noise, others like music. Each child has unique preferences about their environment. The evidence of success – or the need to make a change – is in the work they produce!
2) Provide them with all the tools they need so there is no excuse to get up and get something.
· Scissors Glue sticks Scotch tape Pencils Erasers Colored pencils and pens Post It Pads (in different sizes) Folders A ruler Shape templates
· A calculator NOTE: make sure the calculator you purchase uses algebraic logic (What is 2+3 x 5? No, not 25! 17 is the correct answer, believe it or not, if you follow the proper order of operations. TI-10 or TI-15 are inexpensive and do the job!)
· A dictionary A style guide for writing A thesaurus An atlas
· Access to a computer (optional)—NOTE: if your child uses the computer to search for information be sure to teach them about search terms and how to use them to refine their search. “Dinosaurs” produces more than 49 million results.
3) Be available for questions.
Reference Books for Kids
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
American Heritage Children’s Dictionary
Merriam-Webster’s First Dictionary
Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary
Merriam- Webster’s Intermediate Dictionary
Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus for Students
Webster’s New World Children’s Dictionary
There is a book for each grade level!
The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need
Children’s World Atlas
National Geographic Student Atlas of the World
National Geographic Kids Beginner Atlas
NG Kids World Atlas
The Reader’s Digest Children’s Atlas of the World
Math and Science Dictionaries
The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Math
Math Dictionary: Homework Help for Families
Math Dictionary for Kids: The Essential Guide
Ultimate Visual Dictionary of Science
Science Dictionary: Dover Children’s Science Books
Scholastic Science Dictionary
Join us for the next IB Home School Connection Meeting on November 20!
Our featured topic will be “Modeling the Learner Profile”