Q& A 3-way Conferences

Question and Answer

Number one factor:

3-way conferences involve all stakeholders: the student, the teacher, and the parent. Our conferences are conducted to give the teacher and your child an opportunity to discuss their learning with you. Teachers and students reflect upon student work samples from the student’s portfolio and we set goals for the future.

What does this mean?

Three Way Conferences a.k.a. Goal Settings

 

Where will you go?

Depending on your child you could visit the following learning environment:

  • The homeroom classroom
  • Any specialist Learning Area

What happens during the conference?

Students and teachers will discuss and reflect on samples of work that they have chosen to share. These samples have been selected with guidance and support from the teacher and could be from the student’s portfolio. Some classrooms will also be set up with interactive learning activities so that your child can show you how they learn. As the majority of the talking is done by students, they do an incredible job reflecting on and verbalizing their reflections about their learning and themselves as learners. This way, parents get many valuable insights about their child’s learning.

What is a student portfolio?

A student portfolio is a record of a student’s progress in learning that demonstrates success, growth, higher order thinking, creativity, assessment strategies, and reflections. It is the celebration of an active mind at work.

What does a student portfolio look like?

This year we are starting to embrace the technology potential. So, a student portfolio may be a hard copy book, or folder containing student work. Depending on the grade level, students may also have an electronic portfolio. As this is a year of exploration and discovery our portfolios might look and feel very different from last year.

 

What do I do during the conference?

Please remember the main thing is to always be positive and encouraging.

These questions may be helpful when your child is showing you his/her portfolio.

  1. What are your goals this year?
  2. What have you learned this term?
  3. What would you like to learn that you do not already know?
  4. Are you proud of your portfolio?
  5. Which piece of work are you most proud of?
  6. Which area is difficult for you? Why?
  7. What makes you happiest at school?
  8. Which occurrences frustrate you at school?
  9. What would you like to accomplish by the end of this year?
  10. What are three things you hope to change in the future?
  11. How can I help you achieve your goals?

I’m a new parent, is there any new parent advice?

Your child will be ready to help you through this process together with the teacher. They are reflective and enthusiastic.

 

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Welcome back to School

 Welcome back to another sensational term!

And a massive welcome to all new students and their families as well! It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces flood into school this morning. Even though with all this cool weather upon us everyone looked relaxed and happy to be back and ready to take on the challenges of another term. I do hope that everyone had an awesome time over the holidays; relaxing, charging their batteries and spending precious time with family, and friends.

This term will be another big one with highlights including 3-way conferences, residential trips, and the CIS/PYP evaluation visit at the end of February.

We will be hosting our regular Parent Forums and Workshops so that all new and returning families will have all necessary information for a successful goal setting conferences and how to participate with the evaluation visit. Stay tuned for those SEA messages later on.

 

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KIS Hour of Code 2017

Thank you all for another great showcase of creativity and commitment. I have been so impressed with all our students showing their growth mindset and being risk-takers by trying to code our robots and creating swirly art.

How can we support our students to continue to code?

Learning trough Playing

Many parents and teachers wonder, “When will I have time to teach them how to code?” Or maybe the more precise question is, “I don’t know how to code, so how can I expect them to create a project out of code?” The answer to these questions is simple: If students are choosing to create something out of code, then we need to  provide them with the resources and send them on their way.  It is important to provide our students with time to play, experiment, and create something out of passion and interest. I personally love coding, but do I think that it is for everyone, no I don’t. My take on this is that coding by itself is a way too narrow skill set for what it has been branded for. The real skill set is computational thinking and logic.  As educators and parents we should be looking beyond coding and facilitate a more comprehensive solution.

That said, I do suggest using resources like Code.org and Scratch.org and playing with all the possibilities they offer.  As for younger primary students I do recommend something a bit more hands on, something that can be manipulated and experienced beyond the screen.  Lego serious play offers a comprehensive modular STEAM environment that never ends. With Lego Mindstorm students that build, code, and see their own robot designs come to life and perform tasks that they want.

Be sure to visit our Hour of Code website for more ideas and pictures

See this wonderful post for more coding resources.

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Importance of Building Common Understandings

PYP Evaluation

During PYP Evaluation cycle there are many opportunities for self-assessment and reflection of one’s practice, understanding of the programme, and of course one’s pedagogical beliefs. One of the main tools for us to do that is the PYP Self Study Questionaire that enables us to build a common, communal, understanding of the PYP Standards and Practices and mirror them against our Vision and Mission -statements, thus enabling us to engage into an agentic dialogue with our peers and colleagues.

Teachers as Change Agents

In an International School, it is very important that we engage our multinational and -lingual academic staff into a dialogue of best practices and pedagogy from early on. All teachers arrive at school with preconceptions that might or might not be a good fit with our understanding of quality education and especially inquiry-based learning. Therefore we need to instill our teachers with a growth mindset, a mindset that allows them to be risk takers and change agents. A teacher with an agentic attitude towards learning and teaching will be able to take an authentic teacher leadership mentality and will embrace the change as a positive position.

PYP Self Study as a tool for Change

As previously mentioned, PYP Self study can be used a natural provocation and pre-assessment tool for staff development through self-assessment and reflection. In KIS we have been engaged in various forms of collaboration and strategies to enable our personal and professional growth:

  • Committees
  • Workshops
  • Questionnaires
  • Action Plans
  • Rubrics
  • Evidence Collection
  • Panels
  • PD -days

All these aforementioned activities have now been collected into a report, a plan, and catalogs of evidence. Our final learning experience before submitting our evidence is one that I am most excited about: Building an understanding of how PYP Standards and Practices are connected with our PYP Unit Planners.

Single Point RubricWe are going to be using A Single Point Rubrics to assess our own planners against criteria from Standards and Practises. This will ensure that our current teaching staff will have a common vocabulary and understanding of:

  • What will the evaluation team look at as written evidence
  • How should the planner be presented in our context; eg  KIS Best Practice
  • Why we use the planner for all planning

 

To a PYP Coordinator, this is a golden opportunity to engage and extend our knowledge and understanding of PYP as a programme and highlight the essential elements as tools for building a conceptual framework that evolves organically around guided and open inquiry.

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