Real Life Intersects with Education Through the IB

Real Life Intersects with Education Through the IB

One of the most significant goals of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program at St. Jude of the Lake School is to help students identify the relevance of their learning as it applies to their own life experiences.  The purpose is to simply make learning more interesting, meaningful and longer lasting.

There are many ways that creative IB teachers guide their classes to foster this type of learning.  An example recently took place in Mrs. Emily Overhaug’s kindergarten class.

While studying a unit of inquiry based on the concept of communities and roles of citizens within communities, Mrs. Overhaug’s class had the unique opportunity to meet the mayor of the City of Mahtomedi, Mr. Jud Marshall, who stopped in for a visit!

Prior to meeting the Mayor, the kindergarten students studied the different roles of citizens in a typical community and how these roles not only affect one another but ultimately determine how efficiently a community functions.  Students learned about the concept of goods and services, volunteerism, jobs and departments that keep people safe and healthy, utilities, maintenance, recycling, and waste management.

To prepare for the visit, Mrs. Overhaug and her students created a “Let’s Find Out” board where the kindergarteners could post questions that they were curious about in regard to communities and a mayor’s duties.

When the day of the visit arrived, the kindergarten students were highly engaged and were eager and excited to learn and ask the questions they had prepared including:

  • What is your favorite part of your job?
  • What is the hardest part of your job?
  • What would happen if you didn’t do your job?
  • How did you become a mayor?
  • What are you going to do when you leave school today? (Mrs. Overhaug’s favorite question and a reminder that the students are kindergartners!)

A key IB philosophy is that for deeper and lasting learning to take place, it is vital that reflection be part of the overall learning process. Thus, after the Mayor’s visit, Mrs. Overhaug and her class had a group discussion about the experience and what they had heard.  The students were excited to talk about the experience and had the opportunity to comment on whether or not they would like to be a mayor.  The consensus seemed to be that being a mayor was way too much work.  However, one student indicated that being a mayor would be great because it would be like being President of the United States.  This discussion led to an entirely new conversation filled with meaningful inquiry that enhanced the visit and overall educational lesson—exactly the goal of IB!

Congratulations to Mrs. Overhaug and her students on a job well-done!

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