The Learning Story

My new school is an IB World school.  The Early Years department focuses on the “ATL’s” or skills aspect of the IB’s Primary Years Program.  Here I’ve learned a new approach to reporting- The learning story.  

The learning story was explained to me as a love letter from the teacher to the student.  It’s a super holistic way of reporting growth to stakeholders in an age level wherein needs and development are a broad spectrum and an entirely individual trajectory.  

The learning story is an anecdote wherein the child showed growth and development.  The story, at my school, focuses on one or more skills the PYP framework emphasizes:  Thinking Skills, Social Skills, Communication Skills, Self Management Skills and Research Skills.

For example,  below is a learning story I wrote for a student in the fall semester:

Dear Greta, 

If ever I have met a mighty girl, it is you.  You’re small and sweet, you are also incredibly strong and powerful. 

The first day I met you, you worked quietly, independently, and skillfully on putting together puzzles.  I observed your strong thinking skills, as you observed, organized, and applied rules to solving the puzzles.  As the school year started, I enjoyed your communication skills, as you listened attentively to lessons, and expressed yourself clearly and confidently.     

Our class is full of gregarious children, most of whom are older than you.  The picture above documents a turning point in your school year.  At snack time, Hans’ mother had packed him a colored hard-boiled egg.  He could not peel the shell from the egg.  You didn’t hesitate to take the egg from Hans and peel it for him.  

This caught my attention thinking how capable and confident you were, and how well developed your self-management skills are for someone your age.  Not only do you take responsibility for your own well-being, you demonstrated problem solving and persistence in helping a classmate with a challenging task.    

This feat also caught the attention of your classmates.  From that moment on, you were a popular and favorite playmate to all the older boys.  Your social skills are on full display every day.  You are socially aware, and the other children are well aware of the value of your friendship and what you bring to the class dynamic. 

My dear Greta, I love knowing you and being your teacher.  You are a strong and self-determined person.  You will make of your future whatever you want.  

Your Teacher, 


What do you think of the learning story?  How do you report student progress to stakeholders?  Leave a comment.

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