From the Head of School
Today was a fun and exciting day at GPS. Our Student Council sponsored ‘Pajama Day’ was a great success and allowed both teachers and students to literally roll out of bed and come to class without needing to make major wardrobe decisions. Even with most of the students off campus in distance-learning, our Student Council is active and coming up with fun activities for our community. Another sponsored activity that took off last week was Video Game Club, which meets on Thursday afternoons. Thanks to our Technology Teacher, Mr. Mendoza, for being the staff advisor for this club.
We are now in our second week of the new trimester and classes have started working on their new units of inquiry. This term, “units of inquiry” is central to the structure of the IB program and we design our curriculum around four to six units during the academic year. Why we call it a unit of inquiry is because the process of inquiry-based learning is key to the learning approach that we use as an IB school. A good overview of this is found in an article titled, “What the Heck Is Inquiry-Based Learning?” by Heather Wolpert-Gawron in Edutopia (see link below). She writes, “Inquiry-based learning is more than asking a student what he or she wants to know. It’s about triggering curiosity. And activating a student’s curiosity is, I would argue, a far more important and complex goal than mere information delivery.”
The Inquiry process can be broken down into four basic steps, which are:
1. Students develop questions that they are hungry to answer.
2. Research the topic using time in class.
3. Have students present what they’ve learned.
4. Ask students to reflect on what worked about the process and what didn’t.
A great example can be found in our K/1 class that is doing a new unit titled, ‘Technology Today and Long Ago’. Guided by their teacher, Ms. Ignacio, the students discussed technology and came up with a series of questions they would like to know about. This will help our teacher design her lessons so that the student’s will have input into the learning process and thus keep them engaged. As part of the unit, the students will research a famous inventor and at the end of the unit will present an invention in the guise of the inventor.
For more on inquiry based learning please read this article.
HOLIDAY ASSEMBLY ON DECEMBER 18TH
The last day of school before the Winter break will be Friday, December 18th and there will be an all-school virtual assembly starting at 8:30 on Google Meet with the Code, “Assembly”. We will be giving out Learner Profile Awards, Honor Roll Certificates and will be watching our Holiday Performance Video. Don’t miss this assembly.
Thank you to all who have made donations thus far. December is the time to think about wrapping up your finances for the year 2020 and taking advantage of tax credits when you file your returns. The GPS Annual Giving campaign, Here We Go, is all about supporting the education of our students. A great education requires great commitment and we encourage you to support our mission by making your tax-deductible donation to or pledge to GPS by the end of December. Here is a link to our donation portal and remember that your donation of any amount will be appreciated.