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Category: PYP Exhibition (Page 2 of 3)

Team Building and Essential Agreements

On Friday students met with their Exhibition teams for the first time. After sharing their personal histories of their passions, they discussed the strengths each brings to the team. Students also shared their personal goals for growth during the exhibition and how their team might support them in reaching their goals.  This session ended in drafting an essential agreement for how they will work together. teambuilding 2

Friday afternoon, students participated in team building activities hosted by the PE department. These were meant to help build trust and cooperation between team members and develop team problem solving strategies. And they were fun!Team building 2Team building 1






Students got their first glimpse at their Exhibition binders on Thursday. The binder is a catch-all tool for supporting student work throughout this project. If your child hasn’t already shown this to you, be sure to ask to take a look at it when they bring it home.  It has a number of reference pieces and templates for some of the work we will be doing.  It also has organizers to help them manage their various responsibilities and ensure they are meeting expectations. All of these documents have been shared with your child electronically.

As promised, we will be posting the expectations list, Student Weekly Goals, for each week here on the Grade 5 Blog.  Students will also have a hard copy in their binders and a digital copy in their Google Docs online.  This list of weekly expectations includes both what students will be working on during the school day, as well as what they should be working on at home. The expectation is that students spend about 20-30 minutes each evening focused on their inquiry. This may extend into their required daily reading time, if reading is part of the inquiry work they are doing. If your child is not sure what he/she could be working on, please refer him/her first to this weekly document. (Let your child’s homeroom teacher know if you have any difficulty accessing this link.)

We will be posting a list of all passions soon, and asking for parents to help suggest firsthand sources for research (such as experts who may be interviewed and sites that might be visited for students to learn more about their passions).

Be sure to take time to ask your child questions about her/his passion and the work and thinking she/he is doing daily, if possible!  Thanks always for your support!

Parent Introduction to the Exhibition – Transcript

For those of you who missed this morning’s presentation, the students did a wonderful job! This was followed by a parent’s perspective and a question and answer session.  Here is the slideshow and below you’ll find the script (which the students wrote themselves). Also, below the student script you will find a short video from last year’s exhibition to give you a sense of where this journey is taking us.

Slide 1: Julia and Amit

Good morning!  I’m Julia with, Amit, Anoushka, Olivia, Tom, Alex, Christian, Leonid, Leonardo, Ava,Natasha and Katya.  We know you know all the G5 teachers, but we would like to introduce Ms. Tasha Cowdy the PYP Coordinator.  Today we are here to show you the process we went through to find our passions and what we are going to go through to be successful in the PYP Exhibition. Also, we will be showing you how to help your child during the exhibition.

 Slide 2: Christian

Exhibition is a project in which we will synthesize all the skills that we have learned in Elementary School.  Now we can show it off!

 Slide 3: Leonid and Christian

The key purpose of Exhibition is…

  • to give students an opportunity to engage in an in-depth, collaborative inquiry
  • to give students the opportunity to take action
  • to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate independence and responsibility for their learning
  • to apply learning from previous years and reflect upon their own learning; and
  • to celebrate the students’ transition from elementary to middle school

Slide 4 (Video – see link below) – Grade 6 students discussed their experiences:

Yana:  The fact that we focused on our passions helped a lot, because we enjoyed working on them and researching about them… because they are our passions and we got to learn more about them.  A challenge for me when researching was keeping on topic and not veering off.  Our lines of inquiry helped with this. 

Izzy: Groups are an important part of exhibition, you have to support them, they have to support you, you also have to rely on them as they rely on you. Last year I was gone the whole week before the final presentation, missing 5 critical days of exhibition. It was really hard to be gone, and I missed a lot. I got lucky with a good group. They caught me up, and even did some stuff for me. Not every group can do that though. If your child leaving, I advise you to help her stay in touch with her mentors, exhibition teacher, and group.It’s critical not to fall behind in exhibition, if you do, you have to work a lot harder.

Maria:  My group was called the Creative Crew.  It was a little hard for me to not get bossy!  There is a thin line between helpful and bossy and I think I crossed it a few times!  Now I know how to be helpful, but not bossy. This definitely helped me find a better balance when I collaborate.

 Noah:  Exhibition was a difficult time for me.  I had a group where our passions were not quite in sync and we had many different views about what to do and how to do it.  yet, through this hardship, I learned important skills, including leadership and collaboration. Finally and most importantly we learned how to focus what we had learned and what we loved into a presentation that represented all of our passions.

Doesja: I really enjoyed connecting with others through my passion.  My group had similar passions to mine which really helped me understand about myself and my adoration for art.  Not only did my mentor lead me and my group, she taught me many tricks and tips for art. Though my group was very social, I really gained a lot of independence and responsibility. It was important to me not to sink my team. I was challenged with narrowing down my passion.  I loved exhibition.

 Slide 5:  Olivia and Katya

One of the activities each class did was to think about what the Exhibition unit is and is not.  Exhibition is NOT an opportunity to palagarize.  It is NOT a chance to sit back and rely on others to do your work.  And maybe most importantly, you can’t give up during exhibition!

So what is exhibition?  Exhibition is being able to use your creativity to share your knowledge and expand your ideas while expressing yourself.  But most importantly it’s having fun LEARNING!

 Slide 6: Ava and Natasha

The Transdisciplinary unit for this year’s exhibition is How We Express Ourselves.  We broke it into three parts to think about it carefully.

We thought that the first part of the transdisciplinary theme, “The ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values,’ means to us, expressing our feelings, and ideas about our passions, and discovering more about them.

The second part of the Transdisciplinary theme, “The ways in which we reflect on, extend, and enjoy our creativity,” means to us looking back and enjoying our passions, while we express our creativity through them. It also means we will extend our passions as we inquire even deeper.

The last part of the transdisciplinary theme is “our appreciation of the aesthetic.” We think this means, how we appreciate the aesthetics and beauty of things through our passions.  We also think this allows us to include others in our passions through our actions.

 Slide 7: Tom

The central idea for this unit of Who we are is… : People’s passions provoke and sustain learning and creativity while providing a way for them to contribute to the community.  In other words, exhibition is a way for kids to express themselves through their passions and use their passions to contribute to their society.

 Slide 8: Julia and Anoushka

As part of tuning in we had passion speakers come and talk to us about their passions. We had many passion speakers come and we even had a student speak to us. She took action on her passion, which is spreading peace, equality and tolerance through her efforts working at a Tolerance Museum.

Slide 9: Natasha

After the speakers spoke about their passions, we completed an organizer – to make connections to global issues, notice when their passions developed and who influenced them.

Slide 10: Ava

After we heard all the passion speakers we used our organizers to create one poster. The poster showed how that passion could help a community.

Slide 11: Alex and Leonardo

To start figuring out what we would focus on in our inquiries, we thought of all the things that we liked, loved and were passionate about. Then we looked at our passions through the lenses of the transdisciplinary themes, or the units of the year. Then we connected our passions to the concepts and supported them with our knowledge. Finally we ordered our passions – and the burning questions we have about them and turned in our top choices for inquiry. After this meeting, we will be going back to class to find out our groups and who our mentors will be. I am sooooo excited!

Slide 12: Olivia

This is the inquiry cycle that we will be using during the exhibition unit.  For the past two weeks we have been tuning in to which passion we will chose and soon we will start finding out about that passion.  We are all excited and looking forward to sorting out, going further, making conclusions, and the one I’m most excited about and I’m sure other 5th graders are excited about too… is taking action! 

Slide 13: Tom

There is a fifth grade parent blog.  During Exhibition, this will be updated every week.  It will tell what your kids are doing each week.  You should check the blog each week to see what your kids are up to during the exhibition unit.  If you subscribe, you’ll get an email each time something new is posted.

 Slide 14: Katya

Everyone in the 5th Grade Village will try to make this exhibition memorable, but there are ways you can help too.

Slide 15: Anoushka

You can help your child IMPROVE his/her knowledge and understanding by checking in with us each week and asking us questions about what we’re learning.

 Slide 16: Katya

Also you can suggest ideas and help us understand more difficult concepts, and help us contact someone to interview for our research.

Slide 17 and 18: Anoushka

You can also take us to museums and help us find places to find out more about our passions. There are many more things you can do but a few things you shouldn’t do are:

  • take surprise holidays
  • do our work for us
  • give us answers.

 We will really appreciate your support and encouragement.

Slide 19: Leonardo and Christian

Here are some important dates for you and for us. The student led conference is on the 8th of April.  For grade 5, this is has an exhibition focus.  We will share our progress so far and our goals for successfully completing exhibition.

We’ll start our Exhibition presentations on April 28th, but the 29 is the big evening for parents.  We’ll let you know soon, what time you need to come in the evening for our performance and presentation.

We need to wear our formal uniforms again for all of these dates.  Don’t forget to remind me to wear my nice shoes, Mom.

Thanks and we look forward to sharing our learning with you.

Karen Beukering (Grade 5 parent):  Our daughter, Janna, was in grade 5 last year, which was also her first year at AAS. She was in Ms. Ansell’s class. Now our second daughter, Rosa, is in grade 5. She is in Ms. Pellerin’s class. Both teachers asked me to tell you some more about my experiences with the exhibition process as a parent.

Of course we had no idea what to expect. I remember Janna being a bit nervous about finding her real passion and finding out she has no real passion, being quite a generalist. Rosa already found out the same thing by now. Which doesn’t surprise us at all, as we are her parents!

 As Janna loves to do arts and crafts and was by that time experimenting a lot with nail polish designing, she decided that her passion she decided that was her passion. I think it was very helpful for the rest of the project to narrow down her subject, make it small and better to research. Arts and crafts would’ve been too wide, too general.

I remember Janna bursting into tears the first week of the exhibition and asking me if I could please talk to Ms. Ansell, as she was getting stressed out by all the work and thinking, combined with her after-school activities and long traveling in the school bus. I talked it over with Ms. Ansell and from then on the amount of IXL homework was decreased, if I remember correctly.

After her passion was chosen and the working groups were put together, everything went very smoothly. I think the school and the teachers did a wonderful job guiding the children through the process, really step-by-step. Only when she was writing her paper about nail art did she need help from us, as parents. Not only for English, but she needed guidance for some general ideas, directions for research, asking the right questions, but also to help us find someone she could interview.

I know she really liked the last part of the exhibition, where they get 1 to 2 full days to decorate their booth and then finally show their learning!

I asked Janna yesterday what she learned from the exhibition and which experiences she is still using in grade 6. She mentioned working together in a group, how to work on the layout of a paper or report, and how to do research.

She also said that the whole process was very clear to her, everything was explained very well and the booklet they got was very helpful.

BBQ & Celebration!

photo 1

Friday was a well-deserved day of celebration for the Grade Five Village! After weeks of hard work and collaboration, students and teachers from Grade Five took time out to let loose and have some fun! The day started out with a visit from Mr. Taylor Mali. Mr. Mali shared some of his spoken-word poetry and engaged the children in some lively discussions. Later, the students and teachers got together in the courtyard for a celebratory barbecue sponsored by the AAS PTO. A HUGE thank you to the PTO for funding, organizing and staffing the barbecue! Following the barbecue, the village made its way over the river and through the woods to the lake at the center of the forest, adjacent to the school. Students and teachers let out weeks of pent up energy and played games and talked and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a wonderful way to cap off the Exhibition experience! This week, as the Exhibition unit begins to wind down, students and teachers will be finishing up reflections and assessments. Additionally, students will continue or begin implementing their action plans.

What a Great Accomplishment!

Outstanding job, Fifth Graders! This year’s Exhibition on Passions was sensational. All presentations including the school community and parent evening were terrific. Students demonstrated commitment to their group by being totally engaged and anxiously ready to confidently share their booths and their passion findings. From looking at insects to listening to Brahms piano music, we had it all! Performances were awesome. Thank you, fifth graders, for such a fun, informative, and enjoyable exhibition.

Thursday the students will begin their own personal and group reflections on the overall exhibition experience and firming up their action plans. On Friday, May 2nd. in celebration of exhibition, we will have a change to our regular schedule. We have the opportunity to meet poet/author, Taylor Mali in the morning. Check out this link for more information. Also, recess will take place from 12-12:30 followed by a barbecue in the courtyard. Let’s hope for a nice, sunny day! After lunch we will take an afternoon walk in the forest. Dismissal time will be the same as always. We all appreciate and are proud of the students’ total commitment to this unit!

Follow this link to view the exhibition video

Exhibition Parent Evening is Tonight!

Come celebrate the Grade 5 students’ learning journey tonight, April 30 at 17:30. We will start with a full class presentation in the Bolshoi Theater at 17:30 and continue with group booth presentations and individual and group performances from 18:00-19:30.

Meanwhile, enjoy this sneak peek of the Exhibition. See you tonight!

See you at the Exhibition!!

Exhibition blogBelieve it or not, the time has arrived! Students are putting the final touches on their presentations, some are practicing for performances, and many are in the process of implementing their action plans.  Everyone has been working so hard, persevering through small and larger bumps in the road, and we can’t wait to share our passions with the AAS community – especially our parents!!

The Exhibition opens on Tuesday afternoon and will continue throughout the day Wednesday, with Grade 5 students presenting to other students and staff members. Parents are specially invited (You should have received your invitation!) to attend Wednesday evening.  We will start with a full class presentation in the Bolshoi Theater at 5:30, and continue with group booth presentations and individual and group performances from 6:00-7:30.  It should be a memorable evening for all!

Students are expected to wear their formal uniforms (including ties and black shoes) for both days of the Exhibition (though students may want to bring a change for recesses, lunch, etc.). On Wednesday after schools, all students will stay through from the regular school day through the evening presentation. From 3:30-5:30, students will have supervised play time, relaxation time, and pizza dinner provided by our PTO. Students will clean-up and be ready to go on stage at 5:30 sharp!

Again, we can’t wait to see you at the Exhibition and show off all our learning!



Going Further


Back after a relaxing April break!! Grade 5 is bustling with action all around. As the students have answered their guiding questions through Finding Out and Sorting Out, big understandings have emerged and research on lines of inquiry is complete. Going further in the inquiry cycle, everyone is now busy getting ready for the final presentation and planning for action.

This week groups finalize their plan of the layout of their booths and choose appropriate artifacts to be displayed to demonstrate their learning and understanding. Each student has to finalize the action plan, a requirement in the exhibition, in which they use their passion to contribute to the community. Ideally, the action they decide should be achievable and sustainable. For their action the students can choose either to do it with their groups, someone from another group, or they might decide to go alone!

Students have an option to do a performance piece on their passion on the day of Exhibition. This performance also can be individual or together with another student/group of students. If they decide to go for a performance, they will have to plan and practice for it during this week. If your child has chosen options other than performance, these should be completed this week also.

Like earlier weeks the students have been given goals for this week to help them use their time efficiently and stay focused.

Sorting Out!


Fourth week of Exhibition! Wow! Where is the time going? This past week has been terrific watching students show so much interest, enthusiasm, and commitment in their work, both independently and collaboratively. Halls are buzzing with groups meeting mentors, learning how to do interviews and surveys, and visiting the library for research.

This week we will continue to be in the “finding out” phase of the Inquiry cycle, however, with the writing piece requirement, they will be moving into the “sorting out” phase. As you are aware, a written piece is due on April 11th. Students have been given the choice of either an opinion or an informational writing piece. Classroom time will be given to work on this assignment. We have encouraged all students to set up their research in a manner in which lends itself to organized writing. They will “sort out” their information by identifying the big understandings that connect to the central idea, lines of inquiry and guiding questions. At the same time research may continue if they find “holes” in their research and require further information. During the week surveys, interviews, Skype calls, museum visits, etc. will continue.

We will have a village meeting to give the students the opportunity to engage within their groups and brainstorm possible action and performances. What can they do to share their passion which will make an impact on the global community? This will be the “hot” topic in mentor meetings.

We are all looking forward to seeing you at the Student Led Conferences on Wednesday. It will be a great opportunity for all students to show their overall growth throughout the year. Please check out the link to this week’s student goals list.

Finding Out!

InquiryOur Exhibition unit enters its third week of inquiry and everything is in full swing as we move into the “Finding Out” phase of the Inquiry Cycle! The groups are busy collaborating and researching their newly created lines of inquiry and burning questions. Students are expected to use a variety of sources and to implement the reading, writing and research skills they have been learning this year and throughout their elementary years.

Some of the skills the students will be implementing this week are organizing their research by topics, annotating articles and writing summaries. Please ask your child to share his/her research progress with you throughout the week.

The students also met with their mentors for the first time last week to discuss progress, clarify areas where they may be struggling and support them with developing their understanding. Mentor meetings will continue each week throughout the Exhibition unit.

One of the PYP Exhibition requirements is a written piece. This week, as students research, they will be busy writing “flash drafts” as a way to clarify their understandings and organize their research and thinking. Later in the week and next week they will be using their “flash drafts” to further organize and develop their writing. The graphic organizer or plan is due this coming Friday, April 4th.

Also this week students and teachers began planning ways to share their Exhibition progress at next week’s Student Led Conference. Conferences will be held next Wednesday, April 9th. There is no school for ES students on this day, however please remind your child to wear their formal uniform when attending their conference. Please don’t forget to sign up for a time. An email with a conference link was sent to you last week. As always, here is the link to this week’s Student Goal’s list.


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Last Thursday all Grade Five students were involved in team building activities in the gym. This event helped the members of each exhibition group to get to know each other better and work as a group to surmount the challenges. Ask you child all about the successes, challenges and fun they had!

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