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A Common Language?

americanversusbritishenglishI have been making classroom resources since before I became a teacher. I started making display lettering and clip art when I worked as a classroom assistant and continued with scheduling cards, calendars, posters, worksheets, etc. during my university teaching placements and moving into teaching in my own classroom. While I have always been happy to share my resources with my colleagues at school, the things I created were the things I wanted and needed for my own classroom. Since I have chosen British as my mode of English, that is what I used when creating my resources. (As a Swede taught a mix of British and American in school and exposed to both in all areas of life, it’s not always easy to keep the two apart but I do try to stick with British English, especially when writing.)

That’s why, when Jenny encouraged me to upload my resources to TPT, I just did what I have always done – I shared the resources I made for my classroom. It honestly never crossed my mind to edit those resources more than changing some fonts to commercially licenced ones. That is until last week, when two different TPT buyers asked me if I could ‘translate’ the resources they bought into American English. In retrospect, I wonder why I never thought of that before!

I have gone through all my PYP resources and added American English versions where needed, so if you prefer these to British please re-download (or purchase!) them. I think I caught all the differences, but please let me know if you find any I’ve missed and I will re-upload them for you.

Anya's PYP Adventures

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Unit Overviews

During my first year as a PYP classroom teacher I kept parents informed about our unit of inquiry by posting some basic information and classroom photos on the class webpage. I put the central idea, lines of inquiry and learning outcomes up the week before we started a new unit and added photos and short descriptions of our classroom activities at the end of each week. I did have a fair number of parents let me know that they really appreciated the posts, though I quickly realised that many parents never logged in to the website and missed out. While I certainly felt that I had done my job and provided the information and that it was up to the parents to keep up to date, I still felt a need to improve the reach so that all the families got to see what we were doing.

Example 1

Unit Overview for our PYP3 Human Body unit.

That’s why, in my second year, I added a display in the hallway outside our classroom with a unit overview. I picked a good sized display board and created a Unit Overview to post in the middle, leaving the rest of the board empty. As the unit went on, I printed out photos of our activities and added them around the unit overview.

The students began each day with looking at the display board to check for new photos, dragging their family and friends over to show the new pictures and discuss the activity. I realised that only using the online method had not only not reached all the parents, it had not reached the students! They were incredibly proud and engaged with the display, often asking if they could take certain photos home when the display came down.

Unit Overview 2

Unit Overview and photo display.

As for the parents, those that waited with their children in the morning, or waited for them in the afternoon, began to use the display to pass time, looking at the photos and reading through the Unit Overview. They would discuss the photos and Overviews with each other and point out the display when grandparents and family friends came by. I even observed parents photographing the display to send it on to other family members!

The combination of the display and the web page, now implemented as standard across the school, meant that the information reached a wider section of the class community. I even added the Unit Overview to the webpage to allow parents to download and share.

Unit Overview 3

Class webpage with Unit Overview.

I also used the Unit Overview as section dividers in the students’ portfolios, keeping them organised and ensuring that if a teacher, student or parent ever looks back at the old portfolios they have a context for the items kept in it.

The Unit Overview is a great addition to my classroom and is definitely here to stay! If you think it could be a good addition to your classroom, head on over to my TPT store where the Unit Overview Handout Templates (including mini Key Concept Keys clip art) is available as a flash freebie until 5 August.

Unit Overview 4

Anya's PYP Adventures

 

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Inquirer of the Week

IB PYP Inquirer of the Week CoverDuring a discussion in one of the many meetings in our August study days, Jenny mentioned that she had previously worked at a school where they each week gave a student an independent inquiry project to present to their class. My co-teacher and I were intrigued by the idea of an Inquirer of the Week and decided to incorporate this as a weekly feature in our PYP classroom.

Every Friday, two students are chosen as the Inquirers of the Week. They are asked to inquire into a topic of their own choosing as a home project and to present their inquiry the following Friday. Like the topic, the manner of presentation is also the students’ choice. We have seen PowerPoint presentations, posters, 2D and 3D art works and experiments this term. Their work is then displayed on the class website and outside the classroom for school mates and parents to see.

Inquirer of the Week

Student Inquirer of the Week projects: Cheetah poster, Airplane poster, Volcanoes poster and experiment and Rocket poster and model (complete with Laika the space dog).

In the past, my classroom has featured a Student Star each week. That student would present something each day – photos, a story, a letter from their parents, an object and the next student star. It was an opportunity to practice presenting to the class and they were excited for their turn – but that excitement was nothing compared to being named the Inquirer of the Week.

Students look forward to being the Inquirer of the Week, asking when it will be their turn and talking about what they will inquire into when their turn comes. One girl asked to book her turn as she had decided what her project would be about. By a coincidence, her name was announced later that day and she jumped and shouted with glee, collected her letter and danced her way to put it in her backpack.

Inquirer of the Week has encouraged the development of the PYP learner profile attributes and transdisciplinary skills in our classroom. Students are excited to learn about a topic of interest and sharing their findings with others. Interest and pride in their work gives EAL learners and shy students the confidence to speak in front of their classmates. The task encourages independence and can be completed at the students’ own levels (depending on the amount of ‘support’ given by the students’ families). The students are extremely proud of their inquiries and are all looking forward to their second turn at Inquirer of the Week.

Inquirer of the Week has been a great addition to our classroom and is enjoyed by students, teachers and the wider school community!

If you would like to try out Inquirer of the Week in your classroom, my information letter is available as a freebie on my TPT store.

IB PYP Inquirer of the Week Cover

Anya's PYP Adventures

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Friendly Letters {FLASH FREEBIE}

Letter unit CoverWith text messaging, e-mails and instant messaging services, letters are no longer the main way in which we communicate in writing. That said, letter writing is still one way people keep in touch – and receiving a letter in the mail is always exciting and fun!

I’ve jazzed up my letter writing resources and added them to my TPT store. To celebrate the seasons, the entire pack is available as a free download until the end of the year!

Here’s how I used the resources in the pack in my classroom.

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To tune in, the students were divided in groups and asked to explore the examples of friendly letters. Once they read the letters, the task was to find common features in all the letters and mark them in different colours.

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When the groups were done, we gathered together and discussed their findings. The students identified the five parts of a friendly letter and I supplied the names of them. The students also discovered that headings and closings end with commas, as well as that there are indents in the bodies of the letters.

Next the students were given the 5 Parts of a Letter foldable and together we wrote down what each part is made up of and some examples. For the body, we brainstormed what we could write letters about.

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At the start of the next lesson, students used their foldables and a mini reference poster to identify the different parts in one of the example letters.

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They also used their foldables as a guide to write their own letters on the stationery included in the pack. To begin with, I asked them to write me a letter about school and used these to identify any additional instructional needs (forgetting indents, lacking commas or capitals, etc.). After that the students were free to write friendly letters as they chose during writers’ workshop.

For the pack, I created a set of writing task cards with different types of friendly letters. I plan to use these as part of writers’ workshop when school starts back again.

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Click on the image below to head on over to to download!

Letter unit Cover

Anya's PYP Adventures

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It’s that time of year again – Back to School!

I’m getting a bit antsy to get back in and decorate my new classroom. All I managed decoration wise before summer was to back and trim the bulletin boards, so I have a lot of things to set up when we start back.

I did start getting ready and have created a tonne of new displays for the classroom, both PYP specific and general. Check out my TPT store at Anya’s PYP Adventures for all my products, or click the links below to see and download my BTS freebies.

Classroom Managment Posters Cover    Motivational Posters Cover

Enjoy what’s left of summer and have a great BTS!

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