In this article, I aim to showcase the virtual PYP Exhibition journey of students at DPS International. This article talks about how students adjusted to the online platform and various tools and enjoyed their exhibition journey. It also talks about how an online exhibition was a learning journey, though not without challenges.
‘The key to success is to focus on goals, not obstacles’ (Unknown source).
This saying truly fits the situation at the present time. The lockdown because of Covid-19 is a testing time for all of us. In an effort to overcome the impact, we at DPSI have switched to an online teaching-learning mode. There is nothing like face to face interaction coupled with funny anecdotes inside the classroom but our students are emerging as heroes and are coping well with the challenges of online learning.
Virtual PYP Exhibition – a new experience
The PYP Exhibition is the culminating event of each student’s years in primary education. It is a showcase of students as learners and what they have achieved in their primary schooling. With the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic we took our students online and found that the online transition to be smooth with the collaborative efforts of the teachers, students, and parents.
The students and I came to an understanding that the virtual PYPX would be different from the physical exhibition they had seen the last year. From the onset, we collaborated virtually and formed essential agreements or as our students called them the ‘guiding lights’ of conducting an online PYPX. We brainstormed and came up with the following agreements.
We reiterated the importance of academic integrity in the current circumstances, and students signed an academic integrity declaration form virtually. They displayed their academic integrity by giving credits to sources from where they took information while researching, including their parents if they took help from them.
To me the fundamental purposes of PYPX is:
- Engaging in collaborative in-depth inquiry
- Demonstrating independence and responsibility for own learning
- Synthesizing and applying knowledge of previous PYP years
- Uniting students, teachers and parents school community
- Taking action as a result of own learning
The first and the foremost task was to decide on a timeline. Students used online tools to create a timeline.For their in-depth inquiry, a group of students were interested in inventions and discoveries, and another group chose to investigate pandemics as their research inquiry. After a thorough discussion, we all together agreed upon one central idea for each group.
Central idea: Pandemics inspire innovations and bring consequences to prevent further spread.
Lines of inquiry:
- Pandemics in the past, present and future. (Change)
- Spread of pandemics in different countries. (Connection)
- Consequences and innovations to prevent further spread. (Responsibility)
Over the next few weeks, we met virtually to conduct an extensive inquiry on all different pandemics which have affected the world in the past and present. Students commenced their inquiry by creating a concept map virtually using the online tool ‘Lucidchart.com’.
Students gained insight into how art can be used as a tool of expression. They analyzed various art samples and shared perspectives on how art can be applied to spread awareness about Covid-19, integrating with visual arts.
Yoga is not just doing some exercise; it is much more. It is to expand your awareness, sharpen your intellect, and enhance your intuitive ability. By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
In light of the word of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, students understood the importance of yoga during this stressful time and explored some yoga poses.
Students were asked to make connections between the current situation and previous units of inquiry. This helped them understand how everything is interconnected and is a part of a system. They accepted that every part of a system is responsible for bringing change in the current circumstances. This helped them make connections between six transdisciplinary themes.
They were able to understand that changes in any system will affect all the parts of that system. Hence, we reached the conclusion that the steps taken by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have both positive and negative effects. They analyzed various graphs to critically examine the situation in the host country.Taking action is an important part of PYPX. Some students created a recipe for eco-friendly sanitizer.
Central idea: Human inventions and discoveries are a response to needs and are developed over time.
Lines of inquiry
- Important inventions and discoveries. (form)
- Need of invention and discoveries. (Function)
- Development in inventions and discoveries over time. (change)
- How discoveries change and shape the future. (perspective)
As a provocation, students were asked a question: ‘Would you rather live in a house, shaped like a circle or a house shaped like a triangle?’ Various answers came up and they all concluded that it’s the design of the house which makes it easy for a human being to live in. The following discussion was taken to a general object scenario. Students used ‘Imagine if’ visible thinking routine to record their observations about the effectiveness and efficiency of any object. They looked closely at the designs of various objects. They were able to redesigning objects to make them more suitable for their needs.
They understood that each discovery and invention is important and is a result of human needs. They all agreed that the wheel is the most important invention of all time. They researched in-depth about it and also compared ancient and modern-day wheels.
Using the ‘Parts, purposes, and complexities’ visible thinking routine, students looked closely at famous discoveries. After discussion, they picked different objects to look closely at each part of the object and its purpose. They pondered on if a part was missing, would it affect functionality of the object?
Students chose different inventions to conduct extensive research on them. They surveyed people virtually creating google surveys about important inventions and discoveries.
Students conducted a SWOT analysis on technology in art, integrating with visual arts. They created digital art using various applications on ‘how do they think the world will look like 20 years from now’. Using their poetry analysis skills, they analysed a poem on inventions. They also created a couplet in Hindi on the same topic.
Some students took action by inventing a game that they can play during isolation due to COVID-19. Others made a solar panel showing that electricity being an important invention, there is a need to conserve it. A poster creating awareness about inventions and discoveries was also made online using a tool called Canva.
We at DPSI, lay emphasis on newspaper reading which helps in enhancing one’s language and communication skills. During the lockdown, we have been sending them soft copies of a newspaper to keep the reading spirit alive. Students have used newspapers to find articles that can help them in their exhibition inquiry.
A collated presentation was made for both the groups which showed their entire journey of the exhibition, and it was shared with the parents.
They exhibited ATL skills and learner profile attributes and reflected on their skills using the Padlet online collaboration tool. They also reflected on their journey of the virtual PYP exhibition.
This has brought along many challenges too. With little face to face interaction, things get lost in transition as children are emotionally distant. Staying motivated to manage their time well demands a great deal of perseverance from students. Eventually it’s the role of the school and the mentors to adopt a plan which makes sense for the learning goals in these ever-challenging times.Ambika Bansal, PYP grade 5 teacher at DPS International school. Ambika is a PYP grade 5 teacher and has been teaching for 5 years. Outside of the classroom, Ambika is pursuing a course by Harvard in maker centered learning, where she is looking at the role of tinkering, making, hands on thinking and learning by doing. Her expertise in making her classes child centric makes them very engaging and constructive for her students. The PYP will host a celebration of students’ learning through our IB network. Schools are invited to get involved with the PYP exhibition which will be shared digitally on our website; a new community event which can be enjoyed by students, families and schools all over the world. Compile your exhibition into a clip or compilation and tag it with #PYPX2020 to join in on the fun. Take a look at some of the PYP contributions so far.