During my time at PBS, I have spent a lot of time looking into the curriculum and different aspects of planning with it. The school uses the National Curriculum for Maths and English and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for science, and social studies and health. I learned at a staff meeting that the Maths curriculum will be changing soon and that some standards will be removed and most others will be moved down a grade level. To me, the IPC curriculum seems like a great way to integrate different subjects into one topic of study. However, here were loads of standards and the general feedback from the teachers was that it was not possible to meet all of the standards required of them during each unit. I found this evident myself when I was creating weekly plans for our health unit.
I was able to learn about a few different learning theories throughout my experience but the one I was able to use the most during my own lessons was the Magenta Principles. One of the Year 1 teachers gave a presentation about the Magenta Principles, which is a learning theory that involves a lot of student communication, teamwork, and kinesthetic approaches. Great for active students and for working with EAL students. I was able to use strategies from it within my own teaching. For example during our IPC health unit we were discussing the heart. As an ending activity, I had students come up with a song, rap, or poem that describes the function of the human heart. This got the students using vocabulary words that we had discussed and talking to one another about it, which built on their understanding of the process. With having so many students that are English language learners, having activities that involve communication with their peers as opposed to writing, is a great way to get them involved.
Another one of the schools’ focuses is on differentiated instruction! A big focus is put on moving the most and average abled students forward and making sure that they are challenged in an appropriate way. As I said above, many of the students at the school are English language learners so making sure that their instruction was being scaffolded to meet their needs was important as well.
The school uses a House Points rewards system that I was able to incorporate into various parts of my lessons to encourage positive behaviors. I had the opportunity to visit various other classrooms and get ideas for different classroom management techniques and teaching styles. It was great to see a variety of teaching styles to be able to test out and find different techniques that work best for me!