Distinctive features of the Middle Years International Baccalaureate Program

A distinctive feature of the MYP:

• Key and related concepts are big ideas, which form the basis of teaching and learning in the MYP. They ensure breadth and depth in the curriculum and promote learning within and across traditional disciplines.
Why should we use a concept-based curriculum design model?
·         It develops structures in the brain (brain schema) for sorting, organizing, and patterning incoming information, and for transferring knowledge and skills through the conceptual level.
·         It requires students to process facts and skills at a deeper intellectual level as they relate the facts, strategies, and skills to key concepts, generalizations, and principles.
·         It engages and develops the intellect on two levels—factual/ skill and conceptual.
·         It supports “synergistic thinking”—the cognitive interplay between the factual / skill and conceptual levels of knowledge and understanding.
·         It increases motivation for learning by engaging the personal intellect.
·         It increases fluency with language as students explain and support their deeper understanding with factual information.

Concept-based instructional units, are idea-centered rather than coverage-centered. Teachers give a great deal of thought to crafting the most important conceptual understandings to focus the inquiry for learning in each unit. It is impossible to know all information because it is expanding exponentially. So it just makes sense to select content that best illustrates the important concepts and conceptual statements of understanding in each discipline. Because conceptual understandings (generalizations) transfer, students are provided with the understandings to help them see patterns and connections to other examples of the same ideas.

Adapted from The Middle Years Programme – A Guide for Parents, 2013.


Family Days at the MAG

The Rochester Memorial Art Gallery is offering multicultural family days this fall.  Check out the information at: Family/Community Days

Attending an event like this at the Mag supports your children as the work to be inquirers striving to be knowledgeable and open-minded while learning about art and culture in communities around the world.  


Squishy Circuits

On NPR's Science Friday yesterday, an engineering professor talked about her research lab that primarily exists around the concepts of play- for her students as well as in the ideas they share so children can experience scientific concepts.  She asked her students to determine which play dough recipes (they used crafty kid books, etc...) would work to conduct electricity, act as insulators, etc... Her rationale was to support her own young children who were not even two years old at the time.  As a result, they have developed an idea called "squishy circuits."  This would be an awesome learning experience at home.   

The best part? She shares the recipes and concepts- you don't have to buy a book or kit or anything.  We've all made play dough for class or home at one point time, these recipes are the common, simple recipes we've used! This engineer says children of all ages can learn and experiment with circuits in this fashion.  

If your kiddo gives this a try, I would love to see and post photos of them with their circuits!  Email them!  

NPR interview, circuit diagrams and Ted talk: 


Welcome Back!

Welcome back to school!  How is your family doing with getting back into the routine?  The kids and I are a little more tired than usual, hoping that next week bedtimes, after school routines, etc... all return to normal.  

I hope your summer was a time of family, friends, fireflies and maybe even a few campfires.  It is such a wonderful opportunity to be able to change pace for a couple months, to reconnect with the kids without constantly being on the go," (although this summer, i felt we were always going somewhere!) and to find time to move a little more slowly, spend time outside a little longer and enjoy the pace.  

The routines inside school are back and humming as if we never left.  Students have adjusted to their new rooms, reunited with old friends, found last year's teachers for a hello or hug and are on their way to a great year of growing and learning.  


Summer Construction at Village Elementary

Welcome back!  I hope you notice the fresh new look of our school with new windows roof and flooring in some areas.  Please know that all asbestos abatement work has been completed and the building has been deemed safe for staff and students to return.  We are eager to use our new areas and look forward to sharing them with you when you visit.