In the final year of the PYP, students engage in a final project, the PYP Exhibition. The exhibition is a transdisciplinary inquiry conducted in the spirit of personal and shared responsibility. This exhibition is a significant event for both the school and the students, synthesizing the essential elements of the PYP and sharing them with the whole school community. (-Making the PYP Happen)
My first experience being a mentor for the exhibition was back in 2008 at ISD in Germany. At the time I was teaching Grade 3 at the school and I had the privilege of being guided through the experience by a Grade 5 master teacher, Mary Kay Polly (@MKPolly ). The Grade 5 teachers led the mentors through the exhibition process and shared their expectations for us as mentors.
This past February, 2013, I had the chance to revive my role as mentor for the exhibition once again. I am again teaching Grade 3 and was a mentor to a group of 5 students for their PYP Exhibition at ISS International School in Singapore. I found myself so glad to be back in this role and strongly encourage any teacher in the PYP to take the opportunity to do so in their own schools.
I met with my group once a week during lunch. The first time we met, we looked through our PYP Exhibition Journal and the timeline. They shared their burning questions with me and the work they had already done on a shared understanding of the vocabulary in their Central Idea. We then set a goal for our next meeting.
Every meeting after that included an update on their progress, reflection on the goals we set, self-reflection on the Transdisciplinary skills, and any questions/concerns/ideas they wanted to discuss.
Everything was organized on Google Docs which allowed us all to have access to their research and resources. These weekly meetings were led and organized by the students.
In the spirit of the PYP, students, teachers, and parents are seen as partners working towards a common goal. As a Grade 3 teacher, I am a member of this partnership and have found great value in mentoring the Grade 5 students. The experience not only allows me to contribute to and support my school’s Programme of Inquiry, but it also allows me to reflect on the progression of the essential elements of the PYP throughout the elementary school.
As I engaged with students in their demonstration of research skills, balancing primary and secondary sources, interpreting research and data, and planning presentation methods, I was able to reflect on how these elements are present and developed in Grade 3. This then leads to further reflection/discussions with other grade level teachers and continuous improvement of our Programme.
Overall, mentoring the PYP Exhibition is a valuable experience. Be a part of this inquiry and celebration of the PYP years. You won’t regret it.