6SS Compass Drop-in Sessions

It’s hard to make exact plans for the next stage of our exhibition as we’re never fully sure the school will be open or that several students will take extended holidays. However, it will be a priority for us to look at the students’ issues through each lens of the Compass in  myriad of ways. I ‘m thinking:

  • Hi-quality image searching, seeking images that are entirely relevant, powerful and large file sizes for added manipulation and poster design. I get the students using the Creative Commons image search as they have share-alike copyrights which means we can use them as long as they are credited.
  • Quotes from media reports and opinion
  • Data in the form of infographics  – see http://www.coolinfographics.com/
  • Use Wordle to create visuals of frequently used words in media stories, blog comments, interviews (see the examples in the slideshow that I created by pasting the text of this posting into Wordle).

Students will spend the day looking at their issue solely from the perspective of one lens and will be responsible for sharing their findings throughout the day. Compass Guides are invited to drop-in to the classroom at any time during the day in order to give feedback, provoke ideas and familiarize the students further with actually talking to different people about their issues.

Technology will play a major part in each day. I’m imagining students will be:

  • Searching the Internet for images
  • Reading online news and reports
  • Watching Youtube videos
  • Reading or writing on the 6SS Blog
  • Recording video using Flip cameras
  • Making calls on Skype
  • Designing pages using Word
  • Creating infographics using SmartArt or paint.net
  • Taking and manipulating photographs
  • Using Prezi or PowerPoint to deliver short presentations.
  • Developing their  own big picture/small picture tasks for other people

Basically, the students will be exploring issues with a very clear focus: Nature, Economy, Society and Well-Being. Have a close look at the original Compass developed by Alan Atkisson.


  1. Cristina

    Hi Sam,

    Can you be more specific about the Compass Guides? Do they replace the “mentors” in the PYP Exhibition? Are they experts or simply school community members?

    • Mr. Sam

      Hi Cristina,

      Yes, the Compass Guides are a “rebranding” of mentors. We felt that the old system was in need of a change, we wanted to see genuine student-adult collaboration rather than enforced meetings and different teachers giving students conflicting messages, advice and so on.

      Teachers opted for one lens of the Compass that they felt was their real strength/interest. Students then make appointments to meet up with them as and when they need to. I’m inviting them in at this stage to increase their awareness of where the students are heading in their inquiries.

      We also have Presentation Guides who have come forward to act as experts in various areas of presentation. We’re making the presentation and sharing of information just as academically rigorous as the uncovering of information. Students have been exposed to a number of very powerful ways to share their information and will be expected to do so in a way that is effective, engaging and simple.

  2. teresattung

    Suggestion! record their thinking in whatever medium best suits as they examine their issue through each compass lens, then display the thinking literally on all four sides. Then make physical connections between any compass issue points that are interdependent.

    That probably made little sense, but it’s very powerful for them to see that the four points are not independent of one another. If they want to go deeper with it, color code: positive correlations in one color, negative correlations in another. Still not articulating it well, but it’d be awesome.

    • Mr. Sam

      You’re absolutely right. I’m going to clear the wall and we’ll collect our thinking about each lens of the Compass on each of the four walls. We’ll then use all of that information to make real connections, possible solutions, stumbling blocks and so on. I’ll take some pictures and put them on here over the next few days.

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