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IB MYP at Work: Unit Planning

An overview of how the MYP functions in terms of unit planning; some content particular to my school

Kate Houston

on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of IB MYP at Work: Unit Planning

Each Subject Area has rubrics associated with the prescribed tasks.
The IB MYP @ Work
@ Pacetti Bay Middle School
Subject Area Guides & Unit Plans
Basics of the IB MYP
Goal: A Working MYP Classroom
Global Contexts
Learner Profile
Fundamental Concepts
Holistic Learning
Intercultural Awareness
Approaches to Learning
Human Ingenuity
Health and Social Education
Community and Service
Community Service Requirement
To qualify for the PBMS IB MYP Certificate, students must complete 10 community service experiences during their three years of middle school.
We recommend the following breakdown:
6th Grade = 2 experiences
7th Grade = 3 experiences
8th Grade = 4 experiences
Plus 1 summer experience
The Portfolio
Still in the works, but all students will complete one as part of our whole-school IB MYP model.
SA Guides
Everything you ever wanted to know about your subject through the IB lens
Found in your staff binder
Found on the OCC
Found in Kate's files (email her for a copy)
The unit planner is meant as a tool:
Starts from an area of interaction context
Includes the MYP objectives in stage 1 of the planner

Let’s take an example of a unit from a school that has started to develop their MYP curriculum in the way we just described.

How can the unit planner help to further develop this unit?
How does this work in practice?
Unit Planning
Stage 2 – Planning for Student Learning and Development

Does the unit involve students in a range of learning experiences planned in response to the MYP unit question ?
Does the unit plan achieve year level/subject objectives?
Do these experiences aim to have real life applications and develop skills for life as well as subject skills development?
Does the unit build on the prior knowledge of the students and how is this facilitated?
Will the unit use a variety of resources and teaching methodologies that meet the needs of the students?
Will positive attitudes be constructed and encouraged?
What makes a good unit?
Stage 1- Setting the Context and Summative Assessment(s)

Is the unit driven by an open-ended, multifaceted unit question that engages students?
Are the significant concepts and unit question conceptually based?
Does it focus on one main area of interaction and potentially leads to interdisciplinary learning?
Will the unit be guided and driven by the MYP unit question that integrates the significant concept(s) of the subject matter with the context provided by the areas of interaction?
Do the assessments distinguish students’ engagement with the MYP unit question and learning objectives?
Do the assessments provide varied opportunities for the students to show their knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes?
Have appropriate assessment criteria been selected and aligned with subject objectives?
What makes a good unit?
As stated in MYP: From principles into practice on page 74,  “the MYP unit will be guided and driven by the MYP unit question that integrates the significant concept(s) of the subject matter with the context provided by one of the areas of interaction." 

The significant concepts must be rooted within the subject group first. Once the understanding of the concept is consolidated from the disciplinary perspective, students will be in a position to engage in meaningful interdisciplinary understanding later.
Significant concepts
To make a start, brainstorm all of the AoIs that would work with the context and content you plan to teach.
This could form a starting point for reflection upon the unit
What would this look like in terms of the previous example?
Using the unit planner
Criterion B: communication in science
Criterion C: knowledge and understanding of science
Criterion F: attitudes in science
Links to the areas of interaction:
~ENVS: the effect of environment on the growth of plants and the effects of plants on the environment
~HSE: the importance of plants for food
~ATL: problem solving, research skills, collaborative skills, presentation skills
~HI: how can we protect or conserve plants and influence how they grow
Example continued
Biology, MYP 3, Photosynthesis, 4 weeks
Unit question:
How do plants grow?
Students learn about
photosynthesis as the key process producing new plant biomass
carbon dioxide for photosynthesis comes from the air and that the water is absorbed through the roots
chlorophyll enables a plant to utilize light in photosynthesis
the role of the leaf in photosynthesis
Example from current school curriculum
The content of the subjects should be aligned with the MYP objectives for each year of the programme through vertical planning.

The areas of interaction provide the context for teaching and learning.

These elements need to be at the start of curriculum planning in the first stage of planning- see stage 1.
MYP Curriculum Planning: The Intention
The MYP programme model

“Learning how to learn and the development of the whole person are the guiding principles of this programme. The overall curriculum is designed to encourage moral development in our children and a sense of responsibility to the world community and its environment.”
(from the General statement adopted by ISA in 1982)
MYP roots
“Stage 3” – On Going Reflections and Evaluations

Does it contribute to a coherent, school-wide commitment to inquiry that is framed by contexts of local and global significance?
Is it a working, organic document rather than a static one?
Can the unit affect the hearts and minds of the student?
What makes a good unit?
These two examples have different unit questions that could lead to very different learning activities and could address different objectives.
The teacher will need to decide which content, skills and objectives he/she wants to address in the unit to determine the most suitable unit question. Numerous assessments tasks may best reflect the complexity of unit questions and significant concepts. The assessment would be included in stage 1.
Thus, the process is not linear but recursive with all steps influencing each other!
From there....
Looking through Human Ingenuity
Looking through Environments
All Possible AoIs in planner
Stage 1 of MYP unit planning: The Big 3
Content – the topics
we teach in our
The contexts –
provided by the
areas of interaction
MYP fundamental concepts
IB learner profile
IB mission statement
The unit planning process
MYP fundamental concepts
IB learner profile
IB mission statement
Relationship of principles to curriculum
The Contexts:
Provided by the
The Content:
Taught in our
and influence how they grow
on the environment
how they grow
Training on this is forthcoming.
In the meantime...
Ask an experienced IB colleague for help with IB Rubrics.
Full transcript