Picture our school courtyard completely full with 300 students and all their teachers. It is a sea of black and red as students show their Imagine International Academy of North Texas school spirit. The oldest students are sitting in the back, with the youngest up in front. Kindergarten, First, and Second grades meet together, followed by Third, Fourth, and Fifth grade a bit later. It’s a tight fit, but the atmosphere is calm and respectful with clear excitement.
October 7 marked the beginning of a new tradition in the Primary Years Programme (PYP), as we held our first Todos Juntos gathering. In Spanish, Todos Juntos means all together and the goal of these gatherings is for students to come together as a learning community in order to share, reflect, and appreciate everything that is being learned in the PYP.
Todos Juntos begins with a welcome song students learned in Musical Theater. It is powerful to see all our learners singing as one. One by one the grade levels come up to talk a little bit about what they have been doing during their units of inquiry. This is not a performance, but rather an informal sharing. It is hard to believe 320 people could be a small group, but it feels intimate, like a family around the dinner table sharing about their day.
Kindergarteners recited an echo poem all together, shared different ways they were learners, and proudly showed off artwork posted on signposts. First grade led us in patriotic songs. Second grade explained their central idea using kid words and told about a lemonade stand to raise money for books to teach classmates how they impact the ocean. Third grade taught us more about Helen Keller and shared how eating blindfolded helped them to wonder just what her life was like. Fourth grade defined effort and perseverance then compared comments that showed growth and fixed mindsets. And Fifth grade rocked the house with a rap version of the water cycle that got everybody moving. Students listened in rapt attention as each grade shared about their learning then enthusiastically responded with our appreciation chant, “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! ---- Grade, way to go! Hey, hey! Ho, ho! ---- Grade, way to go!”
Todos Juntos ended 30 minutes after it had begun with our closing song then everyone returned to class. Younger students heard about activities to which they can look forward and older students were reminded of their time in earlier grades. Connections were made, IB learning was honored, and hopefully new inquiries have begun.
Later that day I heard students and teachers already brainstorming ideas for ways they might share at our next Todos Juntos. I am bursting with pride for all the amazing IB learners we have here at Imagine, both students and teachers. Who knows what they can do all together? I can’t wait to find out.
We’re here to ask big questions
Through hard work and reflection
Working all together
We might just change the world.
Justice! Integrity, Fun!
It can be done!
Primary Years Programme Coordinator
Todos Juntos is held once a quarter for PYP students and teachers in an intimate, casual atmosphere. Please be sure to ask your children about it and give them the memorable experience of coming home to tell you all the news.