Wednesday, 16 March 2016

ms-havachat chats about Grade 5 IB Exhibition

It's going to be a long last term of school. Fun. But long.

All around the world, in Grade 5 classrooms in IB schools teachers are helping prepare the kids for EXHIBITION, a term long group and individual oriented 'project' for want of a better word. Some schools might have already started the process ..... others may be a few weeks in ...... but regardless, Grade 5 Exhibition is a major factor in most of our friends lives for the next few months.

Our school has just started this week and will culminate with an Evening Presentation early May at which parents are welcome (aka expected) to attend to cheer the kids on to the conclusion of this mammoth task.

The IB website describes Exhibition as:

The PYP Exhibition: encouraging in-depth, collaborative inquiry

In the final year of the PYP, students, carry out an extended, in-depth, collaborative project known as the PYP exhibition.
This involves students working collaboratively to conduct an in-depth inquiry into real life issues or problems.  Students collectively synthesise all of the essential elements of the PYP in ways that can be shared with the whole school community.
It also provides teachers with a powerful and authentic process for assessing student understanding.
The exhibition represents a unique and significant opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the IB learner profile developed throughout their engagement with the PYP.
It also provides schools and students with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the transition of learners to the next phase of their education.

IB jargon is amusing and often leads me to a dictionary to decipher exactly what they are saying. 
Basically, Exhibition is a term-long thesis, on a subject chosen by the children in consultation with their teachers and based on the overall theme of work they have been involved with all year. 
The teachers place the kids in groups and provide them with a grade teacher (guidance), a mentor (a teacher from another grade in the junior school) and of course, Mum and Dad and/or older siblings who have been thru it. 
The grade teachers invited parents to an Information Session last week which was a huge help for those of us who have no idea what happens.

Exhibition IS:
  • An opportunity for the kids to show everything they have learned in PYP
  • A Celebration of Learning
  • Each child's chance to shine, to be creative, to take control and be their best.
  • Experience in group based projects before middle school
  • Self discovery
  • A chance to investigate a specific theme of choice within the framework of Grade 5 annual them of learning
  • Challenging
  • Fun
  • A large part of PYP final assessment.

Most schools will alter their timetable for the remainder of the year to accommodate time in school for Exhibition to be done. Homework schedules are also modified to reflect the work that will be done at home in order to meet the various milestones. (First major milestone I read when not reading the notes provided to the kids is 3 completely separate and unique pieces of writing by end of April)
Some work is done in the group, so it's a good opportunity for team building, learning to negotiate, hone communication skills, time management etc. All stuff most 10-12 year olds need to know (?)
The individual components allow the kids to be as creative and free thinking as they want, with no one to limit them or challenge their ideas. All things most 10-12 year olds are pretty good at. 
Technology plays a large role in Exhibition. Blogs allow the kids to record their journey,  Reflection writing to be blogged (this is private between child and teacher only),video interviews to be uploaded and shared. There are presentations, both group based and individual to be written and practised. 
At the same time, single subjects like PE, drama, art, languages, math etc are still done!

The Role of Parents:
  • Stay away from the work.
  • Are not to get involved.
  • To provide lots of hugs, healthy meals, and encourage early nights and calmness. 
  • To ask general questions about Exhibition.
  • Answer questions the kids might have.
  • Offer to take kids (their own or others) on field trips if they have skills/expertise in relevant areas.
  • Drive them to the local library.
  • Invite the team over for an afternoon workshop 
  • Allow the kids to do this on their own.
The kids in consultation with their teachers set the Assessment criteria and parameters, so everyone knows what's expected. The one MissM's grade is working with is 4 A4 pages long. We've talked about these sort of things durning the year and came up with the analogy that they are like a cooking recipe - why change or ignore the instructions if you want success at the end? 

In the real world, I explained, these are the same as me receiving a business brief, or an architect listening to their clients needs for their new home design, or the sales person in the shop listening to what you are looking for, or a patient telling the doctor what's wrong so they can start to heal you .... while it's school work, it's also real life work. Great experience!

It's HUGE but thousands of kids have gone thru Exhibition and survived and I know our grade will too. The grade 6 kids spoke with grade 5 earlier this week about what Exhibition meant to them and it was a very positive exercise.
Our household is prepared: we've a whiteboard for mind mapping ideas, pin boards for notes, a brand new week-to-a-page diary for time management; fresh high lighters to help with planning. We've had all this for months and they are used, but Exhibition will really allow MissM to hone her skills. 
I'm really excited for her and her peers. It sounds like a tonne of fun, and some challenging moments tho I wonder are they too young to cope with ALL that Exhibition might throw at them, as well as puberty??????
It's going to take all my strength to sit back and ignore in many ways what's going on. We had a fun time last night doing something and I couldn't help but throw in my suggestions to which MissM said 'mama, no it's my words not yours' and she was right. We laughed so hard. So I guess, that's my goal as a result of Exhibition is to learn to be quiet, to let her be, to let her fly ..... and provide a safety net for just in case. 
The next few months are going to be ver-ry interesting indeed.
I really hope we'll all be ready for middle school!

With friendship

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