The Upper Elementary program at The Booker School aims to prepare students for middle school, helping them discover who they are and their place within the world as empowered citizens. We offer a safe and caring environment for learners to take risks and demonstrate a growth mindset.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
Mistakes are seen as an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to grow. By challenging ourselves and making mistakes, we can learn how to push further and strive to reach our greatest potential.
We foster a love of learning by honouring each child’s authentic interests, character and skills; we also encourage students to challenge themselves to explore new interests and develop new skills through reflection and goal-setting.
In the Upper Elementary, we embrace:
A rigorous academic program grounded in student-led inquiry, higher order thinking and a transdisciplinary approach (collaborative units encompassing multiple disciplines);
A relevant and authentic curriculum that is concept driven allowing for in-depth exploration of big ideas from multiple perspectives;
Character development framed by the lens of the IB Learner Profile and Attitudes, service learning and action, and the development of executive skills and self-regulation;
Individualized learning that nurtures increasing independence and responsibility, helps students discover and realize their full potential by setting attainable goals which challenge the individual learner;
Service and Action opportunities for students to be involved in the wider community through volunteering and student-led action, embracing agency to have an impact on society.
The Global Goals for Sustainable Development as targets for individuals, communities, nations and as a race.
Our engaging curriculum is driven by students’ curiosity. It encourages critical reflection, principled action (locally, nationally and globally), and ultimately a deeper understanding of the world and their place within it as empowered global citizens.
Parents, children, and teachers are partners in learning who are committed to the values of The Booker School. The cultural and social contexts in which the students live and learn are honoured as diversity is celebrated. Inclusivity is essential in the development of open-minded and caring individuals. Every voice in the Grade 5-6 classroom is encouraged and valued with patience. Students are expected to be active learners and contributors within the class.
The goals of every IB student and teacher are to live the Learner Profile and to make the world a better place. Taking action is an important component of the PYP. We believe that education must include socially responsible attitudes and thoughtful and appropriate action. This cycle is initiated by the students and not by teachers or by parents. With positive action and inquiry as goals, learning becomes transdisciplinary, interactive, and engaging.
In the Grade 5-6 class, we approach student-led inquiry through a broad and flexible framework. We model the inquiry cycle through numerous strategies including, for example, visible thinking, concept wonder walls and “voice and choice.” To achieve the goal of making thinking visible, students and teachers use thinking routines that create coherence within the taught and assessed curriculum. Engagement looks and sounds like students explaining things to each other, offering creative ideas and brainstorming alternative interpretations.
Within the International Baccalaureate's Primary Years Programme, the curriculum is transdisciplinary in nature. The year is divided into six units, where concept-based Central Ideas drive the inquiry. STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics), Language Arts and Social Studies are taught integrated with each other and with the Central Ideas. Time for 'makerspace' activities, to unlock inquiry, problem solving and creativity, is integrated into the weekly schedule. PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) is taught through weekly routines such as hiking, biking and team building activities. The visual and performing arts are delivered by the homeroom teachers and through specialists that the school hires to deliver 6-12 week programs throughout the year.
This scaffold allows for the differentiation of the curriculum for every child, not just according to age but also by where they are academically. The teachers have the flexibility to extend and support as needed. At The Booker School, the Educational Committee decided to use British Columbia's new curriculum to support our own and this is fully available online. It not only matches but drives for deeper understanding than that of the Nova Scotian curriculum. This was determined by its concept-driven, modern design that allows students to delve deeply into different areas.
ASSESSMENT AND COMMUNICATION
Assessment is integral to all parts of the curriculum, with a balance between formative and summative assessment. The prime objective of assessment in Upper Elementary is to provide constructive feedback (“feedforward”) on the teaching-learning cycle. It happens frequently throughout the school year in both formative and summative formats. It identifies what students know, understand, can do, and feel at different stages in the learning process, including their strengths and areas for improvement. The importance of process as well as product and demonstrating a growth mindset are stressed.
Students and teachers are actively involved in the assessment process and the purpose and means of assessment should be clearly explained to students. Students are increasingly involved in the determination of assessment criteria. Students are also expected to self-assess, reflect on their learning, and set goals. Approaches to Learning (Skills) and the Learner Profile are explicitly taught, emphasized and reflected upon.
Communication between home and school is important to us. Parents should be aware of their children’s progress in all areas, and should be part of that process by supporting the student and the school. This is facilitated through an open door policy and our digital portfolio, SeeSaw. Parents are encouraged to visit the classroom to see what students have been doing and to follow their progress on SeeSaw.