Approaching Teaching @ AISK

inquiring – conceptual understanding – contextualizing – collaborating – differentiating – assessing – reflecting

Curriculum: Week of March 24, 2013

What’s Happening:

  • NESA Spring Educators Conference! The conference (Spring Break, too!) is right around the corner, April 5 – 8, 2013. Be sure to ask your colleagues who attend to share their experiences upon their return. Also, it’s never too soon to start planning your professional development for the 2013 – 2014 school year. NESA offers the Fall and Winter Institutes in the region for shorter periods.
  • NESA Virtual Science Fair is Tuesday April 2, 2013. This is the real time presentation of the work that 7th grade students have been engaged in for many weeks.
  • MYP Personal Project Showcase is coming up Wednesday, April 3, 2013. Come see the culmination of personal inquiry up close.

Share what is happening in your classroom! How are you using iPads to extend learning in your classroom? How are you making curriculum come alive for your students? Please let me know so that I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

Guest authors are encouraged to submit their thoughts and ideas for Curriculum Weekly to me via email (

21st Century Thought of the Week: Communication Communication

Communication is (and has been) a very important goal of education. In standard 2b, the ISTE NETS for students states that students should be able to “communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.” Let’s face it, the ability to communicate effectively is not unique to the 21st century. In fact, it’s safe to say that effective communication is a timeless skill. Perhaps this skill remains at the forefront in a time when modes of communication are numerous and ever-evolving because it is a skill that is in danger with the advent of text language and faces in devices rather than in face-to-face conversations.

During this round of professional development blocks for teachers of grades 6 – 12, teachers built on the fundamental MYP concept that we are all teachers of language and, thus, communication (p. 11, MYP From Principles to Practice). In fact, any teacher in any IB programme works to develop the IB Learner Profile attribute of Communicator. Groups explored the traits of good writing through the features of subject specific writing tasks.

During the eight day cycle of PD blocks, writing connections were revealed across subjects, divisions, and programmes. One of the take-aways is the realization that at AIS, teachers expect a lot of different types of  writing from students. These include (but are certainly NOT limited to): reflections, lab reports, research papers, thematic essays, brochures, explanations, letters, and investigations.

Yet, despite the wide range of formats, the features of good writing are consistent. These traits of writing require that students use “original ideas, organize thoughts logically, find a voice that speaks to the audience, choose the best words possible, use those words to create sentences that flow, check conventions for accuracy, present work neatly and legibly.” (

Through defining the mode of writing (narrative, expository, persuasive), teachers are better able to clarify the purpose in order to help students to produce a piece of writing that effectively communicates their understanding of a given topic. Each group was reminded by Susanna, 6 – 12 Literacy Coach, that regardless of the purpose, the Traits of Writing “is a language teachers and students can use to describe effective writing.” At AIS we can use a common language that connects all written work.

Article(s) of the Week:

  • Your Phone vs. Your Heart  A great article to remind all of us, as users and gatekeepers of technology, that time away from screens and devices is not only good for our social skills, but may even be a must for our physical health.
  • Google Reader is dying, but we have five worthy alternatives For those of us who have come to rely on Google Reader to discover and keep tabs on our favorite blogs and news feeds, the announcement that this service will be terminated  July 1 creates feelings of mild anxiety. Here are some alternatives to investigate before Google pulls the plug.

App of the Week:



  • What does it do? Every week, millions of designers, writers, researchers and other curious minds use feedly to consume their digital world, feed their mind and spark new conversations. Organize your favorite blogs, news sites, podcasts and Youtube channels and access them all in one place (or sync with Google Reader). Feedly’s website claims that “more than 500,000 Google Reader users have switched to feedly.”
  • How can it be used to support learning? Feedly can be used by learners of all ages to curate information and create educational resources for personal or classroom use, including:
    • Easily keep up to date with educational blogs
    • Link to classroom Twitter / Facebook / blog accounts to share links, pictures, and photos with students and their parents. Verify school permissions before using social networks with students.
    • Subscribe to newspapers around the world
    • Explore texts & online media written in foreign languages
    • Create virtual textbooks (Flipboard example that could be created using Feedly)

Video of the Week:

So Where’s Home? A Film About Third Culture Kid Identity from Adrian Bautista on Vimeo.

Book of the Week:


Teaching Argument Writing, Grades 6-12: Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning 

Argument writing is one type of writing that was mentioned in all PD workshops. Students should be able to write arguments to support claims with clear reason and relevant evidence-and they should be able to do so well. Designed for middle and high school students, the activities in this book will enable students to write strong arguments and evaluate the arguments of others. Teaching Argument Writing begins with how to teach simple arguments and moves onto those that are more complex, showing step-by-step how to teach students to write and evaluate: arguments of fact, arguments of judgment, and arguments of policy.


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