I've been doing a lot of work with our MYP teachers to make our AtLs more relevant, useful and to have an actual reflection of what goes on in the classroom. I inherited an AtL chart which had teachers/students covering 242 AtL skills in a year. There was also not a balance across subjects or skills. I am pretty sure that the previous document was not a reflection of what was actually happening in the classroom:
A small team of DP teachers last year decided on a handful AtLs for DP teachers to focus on, so I decided to carry this idea down to the MYP, with all subjects picking just ten AtLs to focus on. The AtLs would have to be linked to the objectives, and should be things they are naturally doing anyway.
We will also have AtL skills covered in advisory/homeroom (with a strong focus on self-management and social skills). AtLs can also come up naturally in a unit, or be needed for a particularly cohort, so they can also be added into our units too.
Ai. Explain and justify the need for a solution to a problem.
Practice Empathy. [Social skills]
We use empathy to understand client/target audience problems, and the exercises we do around this include the use of empathy maps and empathy interviews. Therefor, we are already explicitly teaching this skill and linking it to the objective. This means that design teachers can easily articulate how we do this, when and we can talk about the progression. We don't have to refer to our units or whip out the AtL chart, because this is our bread and butter - something we know and do often. Also by picking an AtL for an objective, it does not mean that you have to use that AtL every time you use the objective....just often!
Here are some other obvious examples:
A iii. use acquired knowledge to purposefully inform artistic decisions in the process of creating artwork.
AtL: Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes [Thinking: Creative Thinking Skills]
Ci. use appropriate mathematical language (notation, symbols and terminology) in both oral and written explanations
AtL: Understand and use mathematical notation [Communication skills]
Individual and Societies Objective:
Ciii document sources of information using a recognized convention.
AtL: Create references and citations, use footnotes/endnotes and construct a bibliography according to recognized conventions [Research: Information Literacy Skills]
For Language Acquisition, they decided to pick out ten AtL skills based on the Phase 4 objectives. We also tried to keep the exact wording that the IB provided, by re-worded a science and an art skill.
Here are the AtLs all subjects picked. Click on the tabs at the bottom to see the different subject selections.
I also worked with my husband to make some nice posters for each subject. These posters are now printed A3 sized and are in every classroom that teaches a certain subject (which means some classrooms have three different posters in). I will hand out some for staff rooms too and have emailed the learning support team a booklet with them all in. Now we need to work on documenting what we are already doing.
Here are the posters:
Is anyone else doing anything similar in their schools?
How are you making sure teachers aren't just writing in AtL skills that they touch on, instead of ones they are actually teaching, and skills which are linked to the objectives? How are you making sure the AtL chart is an actual reflection of what is going on in the classroom, and not something that sits on a shelf/in a folder.
Share your tips in the comments!
Before my Grade 8 students continue with their own designs, I set my students a technical skills test using Adobe Illustrator. They had already completed a range of tutorials, (shown here).
In the lesson before their test, I was off at a conference, so gave them a practice exercise. In this they had a video tutorial, along with a list of stock footage to pick from.
Here is their pre-test practice lesson.
In this session, I purposefully selected silly images, as I thought this would give them a giggle while I was away.
At this point, I had already shown them the test document, talked them through it, including letting them know that it is 'open book' so they can look online for any technical support, and can also go back to their tutorials document and practice work. However, I did not show them the images they would manipulate during the test.
Here is some of their work from their practice session:
Here is some of the beautiful work they completed!
I've tried to put a technical skills test at the start of a few units, especially when they are learning something completely new. Feedback from the students is that they feel this makes them prepared and helps them focus on skill development. Does anyone else do a separate skills test with their students?
This year our students have access to the Adobe suite. We decided to put in a mini unit, for our Grade 8s, to introduce them to Adobe Illustrator. I am hoping to get through everything in six to eight weeks. I anticipate that next year, this will become a longer unit!
The idea of the unit is that they work in teams to create a sticker pack, to sell to raise money for a charity of their choosing! In the unit they do some basic tutorials, label a print out of the Adobe Illustrator Tool Bar, work in teams to brainstorm, sketch out and then design their final stickers. They end with a presentation.
I put together a short slide-deck to help our student set January Goals! Feel free to use and adapt (the second last slide talks about updating their e-portfolios, which maybe you don't have). Link is here.
My personal goal is to share more, (through my blog, social media and with colleagues) and to have better email practice (I seriously avoid my inbox too much)!
What goals do you have?