Crafting Subject Group Overviews | First steps for MYP candidate schools

3 min read

MYP teachers juggle many things when it comes to planning, delivering and assessing their units. The IB learner profile, key concepts, global contexts, and ATL skills are just a few things that teachers incorporate into their units along with the content knowledge and skills required by their local curriculum. With so many things to include in unit plan design, it’s essential that teachers work together to develop a coherent curriculum. By working together, they can ensure that each of these features is addressed in a balanced and coherent manner across the subject groups and throughout the years of the programme.

The subject group overviews are important evidence of a coherent curriculum because they show how the key and related concepts and global contexts are explored throughout the programme, as well as when the subject-specific objectives are addressed. This ensures that students develop robust conceptual understanding throughout their studies in the MYP. They are also a great tool for identifying opportunities for interdisciplinary learning!

What you’re required to produce for authorization

When your school applies for authorisation, the subject group overview should:

  • Be collaboratively developed by teachers (not provided by the district or the department head)
  • Outline each unit with:
    • Unit title
    • Key and related concepts
    • Global context
    • Statement of inquiry
    • MYP Objectives
    • ATL skills
    • Content
  • Demonstrate that key concepts and related concepts will be addressed; a variety of global contexts will be explored; subject-group objectives will be addressed in a balanced way; ATL skill categories will be explicitly developed

How to develop subject group overviews

Broadly, there are two approaches to creating a subject group overview:

  • Top-down: Teachers work together in subject group teams to create an outline of the concepts, contexts, skills and objectives that can be addressed in the units at each grade level. In this approach, teachers develop more detailed unit plans individually or in grade-level teams.
  • Bottom-up: Teachers identify any gaps and make plans to address them by revising the existing units or making plans for new units. Once teachers have had a chance to develop some units using the MYP planner, they can work together in subject group teams to map where the concepts, contexts, skills and objectives are being addressed.

Suggested professional development activities

Here are some ideas for activities you and your teaching teams can engage in to get to grips with authoring subject group overviews! You’ll find a mix of collaborative as well as individual activities suggested here; choose the ones that best fit your needs and schedules!

Mapping the MYP objectivesIndividualAccess the Visual playbook of the MYP objectives and locate the page for your subject With your current assessment tasks in mind, identify which objectives students are able to demonstrate in your course.
Reflect: What tasks would need to be added or revised in order to address each of the objectives at least twice per year? Find the What it could look like: assessment tasks section in the Visual Guide for a subject that you teach and look for ideas that could be incorporated into your course
Mapping the conceptsIndividual/
Access the Visual Guide to MYP Subjects, locate the “What it could look like: Learning experiences” page and browse the examples of how concepts are addressed in your subject area With your current units in mind, identify whether you already address the key and related concepts for your subject. You may find it helpful to refer to the list of key and related concepts in the IB guide for your subject.
Reflect: What lessons or units could be added or revised in order to address each of the key concepts at least once per year?
Mapping the global contextsCollaborativePrint a copy of the Global Context Posters for each grade team Working in grade teams, teachers brainstorm a list of units in their subject, writing each one on a separate sticky note Teachers then sort the units by sticking each one on to the global context poster that is most relevant to the unit
Reflect: What units could be revised to ensure that students have opportunities to explore each of the global contexts?

Subject group overviews are complex and take time, effort and collaboration to develop. Keep in mind that the process of developing the subject group overviews is a significant professional learning opportunity for you and your teaching teams. Don’t worry if it takes a while; the investment of time and effort will pay off!

This blog is part of a series designed especially for candidate MYP schools. Click here to view the complete series!

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Disclaimer: This resource has been produced independently of and not endorsed by the IB. Toddle’s resources seek to encourage sharing of perspectives and innovative ideas for classroom teaching & learning. They are not intended to be replacements for official IB guides and publications. Views and opinions expressed by the authors of these resources are personal and should not be construed as official guidance by the IB. Please seek assistance from your school’s IB coordinator and/or refer to official IB documents before implementing ideas and strategies shared within these resources in your classroom.