International School Ruhr (IS Ruhr) is an IB World school located in the heart of Essen, in the Ruhr area of Germany. The school is committed to providing its students with the skills and experience to become future world citizens. Their team of experienced international educators aims to prepare students for the diverse challenges of the 21st century by focusing on the personal and academic goals of each student.
With most of the teaching community consisting of experienced IB educators, the PYP team at IS Ruhr was looking to shift the focus of planning from filling the planner to the planning process. The PYP Coordinator, Yuni Santosa shares, “We are a team of experienced PYP educators, but despite our years of experience with the programme, we looked at our planners as something we HAD to fill, and not as tools that help us structure our collaborative thinking and support the teaching and learning process. With IB’s focus on the planning process, we wanted to restructure the way we plan at our school to make it more meaningful for the entire community”.
Adopting a planning first approach
With Toddle, teachers at IS Ruhr were able to streamline the planning process while adopting a planning first approach. Yuni shares, “Our previous learning management system provided us with a planning template that allowed us to make and share the plan. It was something we filled because we were expected to. But with Toddle, we can see a clear connection between planning, assessment, and the learning journal. Teachers can find everything they need in one place, which helps to implement their planning, thereby making the planning process a lot more meaningful”.
While planning on Toddle, the teaching teams at IS Ruhr also developed a deeper understanding of the PYP curriculum and its elements. Yuni explains, “Toddle supports teachers to develop a better understanding of the planning process. This is very helpful as we try to shift our thinking from the old way of planning. Teachers have a better understanding of the planning process with the in-built prompts, questions, headings, and descriptors included within every section of the Toddle unit planner. They can use different in-built assessment tools such as checklists, rubrics, single point rubrics, and tie them in with the ATLs. This makes teachers more aware of how they can assess meaningfully.
Being able to see how the planning and implementation come together on Toddle has helped us look at our planner as a truly living, working document which we come back to, willingly! A few teachers including myself are using the weekly planner. This is a step up after teachers explore and are familiar with using the unit and stand-alone planner. This allows teachers to see what others are doing during the week and really helps as sometimes we have spontaneous ideas to collaborate and make connections between subjects. This is like planning 2.0. :)”.
The user-friendly, scaffolded interface also made it possible for the team to continue to explore and familiarize themselves with planning and engage in meaningful collaboration. Karin Schistek, a music specialist at IS Ruhr shares, “The planning within the IB PYP has become a lot easier since we started using Toddle; instead of a lot of typing in long documents we can now select options and hop between sections with ease. As a single-subject teacher, I have access to all units I’m collaborating with across grades and can import learning experiences from my stand-alone unit into any unit I’m collaborating on, with ease. ”
Making the connection between planning and implementation visible
The use of Toddle in the classroom has encouraged the teaching community to plan meaningfully and design relevant learning experiences while planning a unit. Eszter Kovacs, a Grade 3 class teacher shares, “Toddle is a comprehensive tool that connects all elements of planning, evidencing, assessing and sharing. It helps me be more organized and thorough when I plan units of inquiry and related learning experiences because I can directly link them to learning outcomes, create assessments based on them, keep all resources in one place, as well as view and share my learners’ progress. Toddle is a well-developed ‘matrix’ that enables all members of our school community to be systematic, creative and transparent.”
Yuni explains, “Everything starts with the planner which is backed with ideas emerging from meaningful conversations and discussions amongst teachers. Planning in the PYP is not an isolated task. Teachers plan based on the evidence they gather during the teaching and learning process and are constantly modifying the plan according to the evidence collected. On Toddle, these connections are made visible and are easily accessible for teachers to refer to. All the evidence collected in the form of observation and reflection is available at the click of a button and can be easily incorporated into the planning process.
The ease with which teachers can assess, evaluate, and report learning on Toddle has also helped streamline teaching and learning within the PYP team. Yuni says, “Toddle is so much more than just a planner. It truly is an all-in-one platform for PYP teams. Toddle helps teachers learn by doing – as they fill the planner, assign learning experiences, and collect evidence of learning – they can see the process for themselves and that’s how PYP happens. Toddle has made our lives easy!”
Toddle is the preferred teaching partner of 30,000+ educators and 1,000+ schools around the world. Developed by experienced educators, Toddle streamlines planning, portfolios, assessments, reports, and online learning – all from one intuitive interface. Through Toddle Community, educators from around the world can collaborate with each other for sharing best practices and teaching-learning resources.
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