Approaches to Learning – Communication Skills

Last week, while a very short one for students, saw Year 6 continue to inquire into presentation types. They followed a process that included consideration of the ‘WHY’ (Why are you doing this, why is it important to share this?), ‘HOW’ (how will you achieve the ‘why’? How will you apply your learning from inquiring into presentation types? How will you make it effective?), and ‘WHAT’ (What is the outcome? What will you present about? What is your presentation type?) of their presentation.

Learners also thought about how they would structure their presentations, what feelings/emotions they wanted to evoke from their audience, how they would use non-verbal communication, and how they would use voice and the environment to increase the effectiveness of their message. Students also used interesting techniques such as use of quotes, questions, personal stories and humor to hook their audience and maintain engagement.

This week, students will be sharing their presentations in small groups and will provide feedback to each other. Students will then have the opportunity to revise their presentations based on relevant feedback.

Year 6 will continue to build on their presentation skills and use them during the upcoming PYP Exhibition.


How We Express Ourselves: Inquiry into Presentation Types

The Year 6 students are currently inquiring into types of presentations in the lead up to the  submission of a recorded presentation on the theme ‘What I perceive to be beautiful and why’. There are a number of presentation options available to them. They may choose to create a podcast, a TED talk, be interviewed, write and present a speech or arrange an audio visual performance. It is somewhat challenging as the children are required to identify something that represents beauty for them and present it in a 3 minute time period. They are further required to record the presentation for the purpose of a peer review. There are numerous technical and creative challenges that they must overcome.

Students have been working in class groups to unpack the above-mentioned presentation types, using the Parts, Purposes, Complexities thinking routine. The use of this thinking routine has revealed many interesting aspects students need to consider when developing and delivering their own presentations.

Today we were lucky to have Ms. Nicole, our Secondary Principal, as an expert guest speaker on presentations and public speaking. Ms. Nicole explained 5 key tips for public speaking and students asked many interesting questions to clarify their understanding.

Please chat to your child about aspects of what makes an effective presentation, and which presentation type they are choosing to explore further.

Visual Arts: Exploring the Elements of Art and Principals of Design Through Beauty

This unit in visual arts, Y6 is exploring the same central idea as in their homeroom class: beauty can be interpreted and expressed in many ways. 

They are inquiring into the elements of art and principles of design by exploring examples of famous artwork and creating their own art in their process portfolios using their choice of materials.

As a formative assessment, students divided into small groups and were given the goal of painting something beautiful.  A principle of design or and element of art was given and students began painting. They focused on communication with one another in their groups. Students moved around the classroom in their groups and added new elements of art and/or principles of design to each other’s artworks.

Students decided to hang their paintings outside for a short critique. They evaluated the beauty of each painting using elements/principles visual arts vocabulary.


In connection with our current unit of inquiry, How we express ourselves, we have welcomed a wide range of teachers and administrators from both Primary and Secondary school give short presentations on their perceptions of beauty: what they find beautiful and why. Some of the contributions from our guests have included:

* Mathematics: Pascal’s Triangle, beautiful equations, wonder, mystery

* Culture/Identity: hair, strong women, gender

* Sports: teamwork, skills, creativity, strategy

* Nature: simplicity, ocean, sunsets, trees

* Art: abstract art, reflections, photography

*Music: harmony

We have also been collaborating with both the Year 11 and Year 12 Visual Arts classes. Year 6 students listened to short presentations and viewed art created by these classes with a focus on process.

We have used the ideas and perspectives presented by guest speakers, including Year 11 and Year 12 classes to extend our understanding of the central idea. Strong connections have also been made to the lines of inquiry, key concepts (form, connection, perspective) and related concepts (process, perception).

After collating the ideas of others as above, plus looking further into what they personally find to be beautiful and why, our learners have identified and categories patterns within reasons to discover what makes something beautiful.


In connection to the How we express ourselves unit, our focus for mathematics will be on ‘Shape & Space’. Our learning outcomes (see below) will tie quite nicely with the unit as concepts and understandings around shape and space can easily be connected to notions of beauty and the elements and principles of art & design.

As preparation for this we have been reviewing what we have learned about perimeter and area of 2D shapes. This week we have also started investigating volume of 3D shapes. In addition to consolidating the learning outcomes for measurement which started in our How the world works unit, we will be focussing on the following learning outcomes for shape & space:

Phase 3: Applying with understanding

  • Analyse and describe 2D and 3D shapes, including regular and irregular polygons, using geometric vocabulary
  • Identify, describe and model congruency and similarity in 2D shapes

Phase 4: Constructing meaning

  • Understand the common language to describe shapes
  • Understand the properties of circles
  • Understand the properties of regular and irregular polyhedra

Phase 4: Transferring meaning into symbols

  • Create and model how a 2D net converts to a 3D shape and vice versa
  • Analyse , describe, classify and visualize 2D and 3D shapes using geometric vocabulary

For a recap (cheat sheet) on vocabulary, definition and formulas regarding some of the mathematics learning that has been occurring in Year 6 please click here.