Magic Years endeavors to promote the ideals of responsible citizenship, academic excellence, and international understanding.

1
What Our Students Gain from Engaging in Activities of Social Importance
2
The Power of Learning Stories
3
Environment and Spaces
4
Designing Authentic Learning Environments and Spaces
5
Educational Apps
6
Supporting Mother Tongue
7
Finnish Internship at MYIS
8
Visiting The Construction Site
9
Positive Parenting: Dengue Fever Prevention
10
Loy Kratong Activities

What Our Students Gain from Engaging in Activities of Social Importance

Insights from Our Students in Grades 4 & 5 

Over the past few months, MY International School has partnered with The Bangkok School for the Blind to create a special and unique learning experience for students from both schools to partake in.

Our Grades 4 & 5 students have since taken the lead in this partnership, collaborating with their teachers who organized fun experiences with their new friends. These activities often involve games or art and craft activities where meaningful interactions take place and profound relationships are fostered.

Through their once a month interactions, our students have found themselves in a position of reflection, spurring moments of wonder as they look back at their own actions, learning to put themselves in the position of another in order to better respond to a situation and in realizing their inherent potential to exhibit traits of the IB Learner Profile to address needs in meaningful ways.

Here are some of their reflections:

1. “One of my proudest moments was that I was told by someone that I was very caring towards them.” – JJ

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2. “It was more fun than the last time they came to visit us – maybe because we know each other better now. I felt like I was being principled because I believe in helping people and that sure was the right thing to do – to be kind to others.” – Mola

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3. “I felt great helping the blind students. I was a caring learner because I did my best to guide them in our clay model project. It was difficult for them because they cannot see and they have to use their hands and sense of touch to work on their clay model project.” –Tann

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Being caring and principled learners were elements mentioned most in their takeaways.

According to the IB Learner Profile, being a caring learner means to “show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others”, where students have “a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment” (IBO, 2010).

Being a principled learner means that “they act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities” (IBO, 2010).

In many ways, they exhibited more than just these qualities – they were also thinkers, inquirers, risk-takers and reflective individuals as they engaged in this process.  Through activities of social impact, these traits are reinforced with other very important traits – being caring and principled. Channeling these attributes can contribute towards the cultivation of individuals that respond with “empathy, compassion and respect”, with “integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities” to vital needs in their own community (IBO, 2010).

As more of our children are raised with these elements in mind, we foster a community of  learners who care, learners with a strong moral and social conscience that see themselves as protagonists in their society, looking beyond the needs of themselves.

For more information on the IB Learner Profile, visit http://www.ibo.org/globalassets/publications/recognition/learnerprofile-en.pdf

 

The Power of Learning Stories

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“Picture a spiral going round and round. Or a long mobile, spinning slowly in the breeze. Action research is far from a linear, lockstep, formulaic process.”

This quote from Powerful Designs for Professional Learning (p. 63) describes the inquiry process and learning journey of Action Research groups at Magic Years International School. Action Research groups were formed for the first time at Magic Years last academic year 2015-16. The first set of Action Research groups centered their work around five areas of practice: Arts, Technology, Design Thinking, Assessment, and Learning Stories.

This article describes the journey of one of those Action Research groups attempting to form a better understanding of “learning stories”, which are considered to develop “better observation skills, critical thinking, and self-reflection in teachers” (Carter, p. 40). In addition to sparking teacher excitement and curiosity, learning stories prompt teachers “to become more reflective, to consider other perspectives and what else they need to learn to be responsive to the children” (Carter, p. 41).

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A number of educators also underscore the importance of learning stories in helping to build strong relationships between teachers and families. Judi Pack states that when teachers write learning stories, they become “better observers of children and develop their storytelling voice to joyfully share with the entire community” (Pack, p. 3). Learning stories also serve as an important reminder to teachers about the image of the child as “the story is always a positive one about children’s strengths, good ideas, and dispositions for learning” (Pack, p.1)

Teachers at Magic Years made a number of connections to the research highlighted above as they attempted to understand the true power of learning stories. Through a series of biweekly meetings, the teachers used an active inquiry process to familiarize themselves with “learning stories” and how it could be applied to their own professional settings.

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The group began their dialogue with a simple question: “What is a learning story?”

Some teachers had limited experience writing learning stories. Others with experience shared learning stories previously displayed in their classrooms. The next step was to research learning stories within the school and from other sources. Teachers shared learning stories that inspired them and discovered practical steps to construct their own.

For the next session, teachers were asked to bring photographs of children from their own class. While viewing the photographs, teachers shared ideas about how simple learning stories could be generated from these visuals based on the discussions from within the group.

Using photographs the teachers then chose a learning story to document. They began writing the story and then worked together to provide feedback on what was done well and what could be improved. After reviewing the stories, the teachers worked on producing creative displays.

Reflecting on this process of inquiring into learning stories, the teachers felt it was constructive to work in collaborative groups. One of the teachers remarked, “I didn’t have previous experience about learning stories, so I was surprised by all the information a learning story could offer.” She went on to share that she now has the tools “to better explain what we are observing, how the children become engaged in the activity, and what connections are made with the IB PYP Unit of Inquiry.”

Another teacher was excited at the possibility of connecting learning stories with literacy and the library. She commented that “learning stories would benefit the library area by providing evidence of current literacy learning both within and outside the library walls.”

The Action Research group proved to be a powerful means of inquiry into “learning stories”, a powerful approach for assessment and relationship-building.

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References

  1. Carter, Margie. “Using ‘Learning Stories’ to strengthen teachers’ relationships with children.” Exchange Nov. & dec. 2010: 40-43. Print.
  2. Easton, Lois Brown. Powerful designs for professional learning. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council, 2008. Print.
  3. Pack, Judi. “Learning Stories.” Teaching Young Children Dec. & jan. 2016: 1-4. Print.

 

Environment and Spaces

The aim of the PYP is to nurture lifelong learners who seek to find information about the world around them. It is through the learner profile that we focus on developing young inquirers, and through careful preparation of learning environments and spaces that we facilitate for this inquiry to happen.

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Designing Authentic Learning Environments and Spaces

On Monday 14 November 2016, our academic staff embraced an exciting day of Professional Development at Magic Years International School. In true inquiry style, we began with a question, and not just any question, but one of the most crucial questions that educators need to ask themselves in order to ensure that they are providing their learners with access to the most appropriate real-life, day-to-day learning experiences.

“What is the Magic Years criteria for designing and creating learning environments and spaces?”

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Educational Apps

One certainty about a child’s schooling is that it does not end after school. The need to forge home-school connections is critical to support a student’s social and academic success. At Magic Years, we have come to learn that one way to build partnerships between home and school is through digital learning. Educational apps on tablets, iPads, and smartphones are a great way to extend learning to home, especially when students can make their learning visible with families.

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Supporting Mother Tongue

The IBO recommends that from at least the age of 7, all students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) have the opportunity to learn more than one language. At Magic Years International School, we nurture the development of complex language from the early years. We recognize the importance of bilingualism and strengthening our students’ home languages while at the same time learning the school’s medium of instruction in English.

Research shows that children who have a strong foundation in their home language are more successful at school than monolinguals and enjoy a greater feeling of self-worth and identity.UNESCO

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Finnish Internship at MYIS

Earlier this year, we were fortunate to receive a group of educators from the Raision Region Education and Training Consortium in Finland. Altogether three practicum students and their lecturer joined our teaching teams at Magic Years to learn from our educational approach and learning environments.

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Visiting The Construction Site

Primary Years students at Magic Years International School (MYIS) have taken an active role in learning about the construction of the new school campus, and following the construction updates. On November 11, 2015, they made a class visit to the new campus to view firsthand the progress.

Prior to visiting the campus, students met with members of the MYIS new campus architectural team to learn more about what skills are necessary to become an architect and how the design process unfolded in the construction of the new campus. Meeting with an Architect.

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Positive Parenting: Dengue Fever Prevention

You are invited to our Positive Parenting workshop on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 from 8:30am to 9:30am in the Gym Room. The focus of the workshop is “Dengue Fever” prevention.

The workshop will be hosted by a parent of Magic Years and member of the World Health Organization in Thailand, Dr. Deyer, who will share his expertise on how and where the Aedes mosquitoes breed and how we can best prevent the dengue virus. The Public Health Ministry in Thailand has predicted dengue fever cases will jump more than 16% this year, prompting us to host this workshop, so that we can work together to help protect our community.

The workshop will conclude with a Q&A session. We hope that despite the late notice many of you will still be able to attend this workshop offered by one of our school parents.

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Loy Kratong Activities

Loy Krathong, a traditional Thai festival, is celebrated annually at Magic Years and allows students, parents and teachers to connect with the home country and celebrate the Thai tradition of making krathongs, decorative flower baskets, and floating the krathongs to make a wish.

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