Module 1 Reflection: Local and Global Contexts

Making the PYP happen in early years: Implementing Agency

Module 1: Local and Global Contexts

Reflection: How is my understanding of the PYP principles and practices in the early years evolving?

I used to think that PYP in the early years, especially Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten was very academically focused. I now think that we need to work harder to have focused play as a larger part of the learning. Yes they do need to have some practical knowledge like learning how to hold a pencil, and learning to read and write, and yes the children do need free play, but they also need focused play where they work out the ideas they are becoming more knowledgeable about. You see this somewhat in their free play, when they are playing restaurant (or house, or whatever) and trying to stuff their teachers with play food. However, having them decide what should be part of their restaurant like menus, money, and a dishwasher and stove, to the staff a restaurant needs like cooks, wait staff etc. make a difference.

I used to think that at least some of the learner profiles were a little bit too abstract for the students in the early years. I now think that we are making them too abstract and need to figure out ways to make them clearer and more concrete for both students and parents.

In what ways can I apply the learning from this workshop into my own learning and teaching?

In the position I have at the moment, is is more difficult for me to apply the things I want to. I am an associate teacher in the junior school, which means I am in all the classes from JK – 5 over the course of the week. I spend about 2 classes in each grade and I also team teach grade 4 French 3 times a week. This means that most of the time I am adjacent to the teaching. However, if I had my own JK classes, or K classes, I would make sure I do take that time to actually build up my play resources. For example, the Ks do a unit on Transportation, and it might be an interesting idea to set up the classroom as an airport. We could brainstorm all the things that belong in an airport, make passports, have an x-ray machine for the baggage. We could have the ticket counter, the pilots and flight attendants, luggage and lost baggage claim. We could have it so the airport could easily change to a train station or a bus station.

I will take some more time and fill up my notebooks with ideas.

How is this agency supported and nurtured through this workshop?

Through the discussion forums and the zoom, our facilitator and the other participants ask clarifying questions, and point out the things that really resonate with them about things that you post. While it is a little more difficult than being in the same room with people bouncing ideas off one another, there is still that collegial feel to the discussions. Even if one disagrees, they are being open minded in allowing others to make different points. I especially like being able to see the connections in the way we teach all over the world.

Now onto Module 2: Transdiciplinarity and Conceptual Learning

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Hello World, I’m Back

This is so very weird to be writing again. Not that I don’t write every single day, it is just a lot different than pushing the publish button and seeing a post come into people’s feeds. It is 2020 and I am back at work. In fact that is where I have been the last few years, making my way back into the world of teaching.

After spending 4 years on the executive of my children’s Elementary School PAC, I knew that it was time for me to make a decision about going back to work. So, I took some time to do some volunteer teaching and make sure I wanted to go back to the classroom and started applying for so very many jobs. I had principals who wanted to hire me, and a district unwilling. I knew that since I kept up my teaching license and was a volunteer in the schools, I was ready, but like anyone else who has taken off time to be with children, I had trouble convincing HR of that.

Three years ago that changed when I decided to go the Independent school route. I was hired as a Teacher on call for two schools and I managed to work between 3-5 days almost every week. This was actually a great was to get back into both working and teaching for me and the whole family. It is hard to go from having someone able to be around all the time, volunteering for almost everything at the kids’ school, and being able to walk them to and from school, to working again.

This year I am working full time. It is a weird year to be working full time as a teacher. So many different protocols when you are working in an Elementary school in a pandemic. My position is one where I am not cohorted the way the homeroom teachers are. As a specialist or a TOC, or someone like me who is someone who helps out in all the classes, there are different rules. We must be masked or distant in all the classes and spaces we enter. The only place I can reasonably be unmasked is while I am at my desk, which is in a shared work space. The kids are not supposed to be touching you. I don’t know if you have ever been in an Elementary school especially in the JK – 3 classes, but they want to hug you, a lot.

All of this is a long winded way to say that I need my blog again. Not only to maybe write about teaching during a pandemic and watching all the numbers rise, but also to use my blog as a place for reflections on a professional development workshop I am taking called “Making the PYP happen in the early years: Implementing Agency.” It is an IB workshop that will make working at an IB school all that much easier.

So, if you are one of those few readers who wondered, what ever happened to Gwen of Left Coast Mama and you are surprised to have this pop up in your feed, be prepared for a few more of these posts. Some will be fully focused on the workshop and education and some will be back to my ramblings about life.



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Leading Moms 2015

I posted a little while ago that I wanted to revive my blog and that as part of the push to make me write more was to become a blog ambassador for the Leading Moms.

This year I get to attend. The last few years didn’t work out for me to go, but I watched the hashtag on twitter and talked to other friends who were able to go about the sessions and especially the keynote speaker. The chance to listen and connect with smart successful moms is very appealing and I enjoy the chance to reconnect with the amazing bloggers and social media people of Vancouver.

As a part of Leading Moms 2015 on September 25th, the event boasts an all-star speaker line-up, including CTV’s award-winning broadcaster, anchor and breast cancer survivor Mi-Jung Lee. Add a poet, a songstress, a filmmaker, a trans mom, an investor and a physician and you can’t help but be moved and inspired by the range of experiences. You’ll hear about personal journeys in motherhood through a mix of performance, video and intimate talks delivered straight from the heart.

If you too would like to attend Leading Moms 2015 the Early Bird Ticket is still available until September 9th and if you decide after the 9th I have a promo code for 15% off the regular ticket price. The code is lmfriends.




This is a sponsored post and as such my ticket to Leading Moms 2015 is paid for. Special thanks to Springfree Trampolines for sponsoring the blog ambassador program.

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