I have been asked a few times to elaborate on how my reflection looks at the end of an IB PYP unit of inquiry. I’d like to also underline that reflection is an ongoing process and occurs a lot more than simply at the end of a unit.
I hope this post can give some insight to those new to the PYP and additional ideas for those who are experienced. As always, feel free to add your input at the end of the post. I LOVE new ideas to try myself. So, here goes.
Using the Central Idea as Reflection
When unpacking the new unit, one idea is to take the central idea; literally the main idea of the whole unit, and dissect it. This can be done together as a whole class or in smaller groups.
Idea 1– whole class: write the central idea on the board and ask the kids to find the most important phrase , then the most important single word. This follows with a lot of discussion as to their perspectives of what the unit is going to be about and provokes many questions, which we write on sticky notes and add to our inquiry bank. You can grab this thought catcher below, along with a few others for free. 🙂
Idea 2 – small groups: Type the central idea in large font and make copies on strips of paper. Cut it up into words and phrases and then have groups collaborate to put it together to make sense. Note, don’t use punctuation, in order to make it more challenging. We then reflect upon our ideas, I copy each group’s ideas onto the board and we chat about what we think this means for us with our upcoming unit of inquiry. Naturally, connections are made and questions arise.
Idea 3– Find pictures that relate to the new unit and display those alongside either the central idea itself or key words from the central idea. The kids try to make connections between words and pictures, reflecting upon their ideas of what the central idea will mean to our unit. It too provokes many inquiries and can be done as a whole class or in smaller groups. We call it the Explanation Game.
These ideas can of course be used throughout the unit as our knowledge increases and we reflect upon how far we have come. They always provide lots of thinking opportunities and communication skills are practised.
Idea 4- Secret Central Idea
Another idea that I’ve also tried, is to keep the Central Idea a secret until either half way through the unit or til the very end. By doing this, our focus is mainly on the key concepts within our unit of inquiry. I then ask the children to reflect upon what they are knowledgeable about so far and to create a suitable Central Idea.
Idea- Small groups: Each child will independently write a sentence of their idea for the Central Idea. They then take their ideas to a group, each group member reads their idea to the group. They then compare ideas and, using bits and pieces from each child’s sentence, create 1 group idea.
Each group will then share their ideas to the class and using the same technique, we collaborate ideas to create one class central idea. Finally the “ real” central idea is unveiled and we compare this with what we created. Fun! And enlightening!
Three Dimensional Living Reflections!
These are actually when the children work cooperatively to create a drama of what they have learned. The catch is that it is completely SILENT! And, to add to the rigour, I provide a few random vocabulary words from our unit together with one of the key concepts that we have been focusing on. So much fun! I give the kids about 15 minutes to communicate and decide upon their roles, how they will portray the concept and their knowledge. Once they have performed, we them discuss as a class if we could decipher the message of their drama and we share and reflect upon our growing knowledge.
End of Unit Reflections
At the end of the unit, I ask the children to select a couple of artefacts of their choice from their working binders, notebooks or pieces on display. Kids love sharing their work, so this is never a struggle.
Portfolio Reflection Sheets
Our end of unit reflections always include our portfolios….of course. I have created a packet that is easy to print and go, with a whole bounty of reflection sheets suitable for all abilities and levels. Pick and choose. Even let the kiddos pick and choose! 🙂 You can view it here. It also comes in an editable version if you prefer to tweak things a bit.
I am working on making those digital for online portfolios. So make sure that you are following me on TpT to get the notice when it comes out.
Watch this space!
Hope that you found a few new ideas to work with. And please feel free to share your own ideas too! Would absolutely love to add them for others as well as my own classes.