Student Voice and Reflection

In the PYP Enhancements April communique we learned that Reflection is no longer a Key Concept.



This was initially met with excitement and agreement on Twitter. Many educators felt that finally there is a focus and a justification of really emphasizing reflection as a tool to improve student learning.

However, I do agree with this tweet from Nicole Jaggers:

This is essentially true with all key concepts as they are macro-concepts, therefore making the removal of Reflection an odd deed indeed.

Key concepts are macro-concepts that transcend disciplines such as change, interdependence, system and relationships. The PYP has identified eight macro-concepts as key concepts to use for the programme.

— Concept-based teaching and learning by H Lynn Erickson

As the discussion matured and more and more people were voicing their support and agreement to the new enhancement I began to wonder whether we were talking about the same thing. I started to wonder if there was a misinterpretation of what fully integrated means or if my own interpretation was inaccurate and that’s when I came across this comment that perfectly summarizes what I had been thinking about

There is a huge difference between being reflective and reflection as a concept.

Student Voice – Becoming a meta-cognitive thinker

Metacognition in the school context is thinking about one’s thinking.  More precisely it refers to the processes we use to plan, monitor, and assess our own understanding, learning, and performance.

To be able to one needs to have a critical awareness of

a) one’s thinking and learning
b) oneself as a thinker and learner

Metacognition literally means “big thinking.” You are thinking about thinking. During this process you are examining your brain’s processing. Teachers work to guide students to become more strategic thinkers by helping them understand the way they are processing information. Questioning, visualizing, and synthesizing information are all ways that readers can examine their thinking process. Through scaffolding and reciprocal teaching, students are able to practice the skills that lead to these overt acts becoming automatic.

— Fountas and Pinnell, 2000

In our Digital World, we can create, capture, curate, and connect student learning in any form. We definitely should be empowering students to independently to document their learning not just in school but everywhere where their learning and action takes place. Digital portfolios, blogs, and social media tools are in our grasp to take this step further, to redefine thinking about our thinking, to document our learning process, and to receive and give feedback. However, if we just document learning, reflect without feedback, and  do routines without thinking there is a chance that even the best intentions become  disjointed from Why:

 Therefore we need to make sure that through our ATL -lense we focus on metacognition and reflection and rise above routines to think about thinking.

  • Reference:
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Collaborative Planning: G-Suite Tools

Using digital tools to improve planning

We at KIS are very fortunate to have a curriculum development and reporting tool Managebac at our use. Managebac is developed directly to address our unique needs; transdisciplinary themes, units of inquiry, and reporting. I am very happy how most of the current workflow happens in Managebac, as a PYP Coordinator I have several tools, forms, and summaries that help me to gain the bigger picture of what my team is planning, how are they addressing curriculum, and how the program is running. However, the planning process, especially collaborative planning process needs to be supported by additional tools. here are my favorite Chrome Extensions to help collaboration between homeroom teachers, specialists, and students.

1. Collaborative Notes

This is by far my favorite part as G-Suite for Education offers three distinctive tools for Collaboration:

  1. Google Keep KeepGoogle Keep must be Google’s best-kept secret. This versatile mobile app works beautifully on the desktop adding value to your Docs, Gmail, etc. What makes this app really useful is that it is completely platform agnostic, therefore allowing everyone to use their favorite device and OS.  PRO TIP:  You can share your Keep Notes and have your team members contribute simultaneously. Mobile Keep
  2. Google Slides is a lot more than a presentation tool. A shared planning template can be used to curate your multimedia and multimodal material needs. Teams can use Notes area for communications and criteria and/or messages to assign tasks after meetings.
  3. Hangouts / Meet have almost completely replaced email since it allows for instant communication and/or video-conferencing

2. Team Drive with Classroom

Team drive is a hassle-free addition to Google drive that eliminates the sharing step from your files, everything that is uploaded into your team drive is automatically shared with your team and the ownership is transferred to the domain. Therefore, when posting and sharing your planning through google classroom you don’t have to worry whether your team members have access to shared documents or not, the answer is always yes. Team drive also can serve as a resource folder for documentation and evidence collection.

TeamDriveTeam drive is also great for sharing photographs across departments and teams.

3. New Gmail with integrations

Google has unveiled a huge update to Gmail. In addition to a new look, Gmail has new features that will impact how you manage your inbox and even the messages you’re sending to others. These changes vary from User Interface to actual Collaboration enhancements, on the right side, you’ll see a strip of icons that link to G-Suite apps:  Calendar, Keep and Tasks (a new addition that lets you manage to-dos).

Now accessible inside the Gmail client:

  1. Keep
  2. Calendar
    You can now appreciate having a quick link to your calendar close at hand direct from Gmail. You can either add meetings inside the sidebar or edit directly in the caledar app.Calendar Integration
  3. Tasks In addition to Calendar we now have an option to include Tasks by either clicking directly on the field or using the Menu option. When using the Add to Tasks Gmail automatically tags your task with the open mail. Tasks

PRO TIP: Email large attachments via Google Drive!
There’s a little Drive icon at the bottom of Gmail’s compose window. It lets you attach files you have stored in Drive or simply send a link. For Google Drive formats — Docs, Sheets, Slides and so on — your only option is to send a link to the file. For other file types — PDFs, Word docs, images — you have the option of sending them as an attachment or a Drive link, which lets you share files larger than Gmail’s 25MB size limit for attachments.

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Reading your child’s MAP report

Understanding NWEA MAP progress report

Soon our MAP test period is over and after next week we will publish the MAP progress report in your child’s Managebac portfolio. Here is a short description of what to look for:

What does the Student Progress Report look like?

Reading the Student Progress Report: Each time a student takes the MAP assessment you will see two bars grouped together on the graph. The first bar on the graph (in blue), labeled “Student RIT,” is the student’s score.

Second bar on the graph (in yellow), labeled “Norm Grade Level Mean RIT,” is the average score for students in the same grade as that student, in international schools who took the MAP assessment for that content area.

After the fall sessions, you will see a bar with diagonal stripes on the far right of the graph labeled “Student RIT Projection.” The projection is generated by NWEA, the creators of MAP. The projection is based on average growth for students, internationally, who started at the same RIT range and were also in the same grade.

The Lexile® range provides the readability of text based on the length of the words and sentences. The MAP Student Progress Report provides the Lexile® range for the student based on how they answered selected MAP reading items. To use the Lexile, visit and enter the Lexile Range. The website will generate reading lists (books) for a particular Lexile level.

These ranges correspond also to the ORT leveled books used in our Primary classrooms for reading instruction. (See comparison chart below.) However, the ranges and levels should not be the only determining factor in selecting reading materials for a student. Not all books have these designations, and it is important to choose topics and formats that are age appropriate and interesting to the student.

Primary School Lexile Level:

  • BR (Beginning Reader), ORT : 1-2
  • Lexile Level: 190-530, ORT: 2 – 8
  • Lexile Level: 420-820, ORT: 8 –  14
  • Lexile Level: 740-1010, ORT: 14 – 16

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How-To: Using Seesaw for Conferences

Using Seesaw during student-led conferences

Student-led conferences are a great opportunity to introduce the versatility of Seesaw to staff, students, and parents 1

Here are the links for you to prepare your students and your Seesaw portfolio for the upcoming Student Led Conferences.



If you are interested in including your students in parent-teacher conference conversations, check out this wonderful step-by-step guide written by Seesaw Ambassador Andrea Birzer.

In addition to these fine tips you might want to consider:

  • use Seesaw to make their thinking visible and heard
  • a conference time is a great learning experience for the whole family – let’s use Seesaw to document and reflect on it
  • use Seesaw to support agentic learning by facilitating for forethought – building anticipation and criteria for reflection by
    • setting goals
    • action steps
    • planning the centers
Conferences with Seesaw. Seesaw. Accessed May 16, 2018.
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