Ah, back to school thoughts are upon us once again. Summer. It just FLIES in, doesn’t it? I’m always torn between dreading going back to work and excitement for the start of a new school year, new kiddos to get to know and maybe even a new classroom.
Whether you start sooner or later, I wanted to share one of my newest back to school activities that you can use with ANY age level. Part getting-to-know-you and part craft, it is so cute and the kids absolutely LOVE that it is all about them and even looks like them. I can just see them all hanging up in my classroom, with their adorable t-shirts telling all about Who We Are. A perfect back to school display.
This is simple to prepare and acts as a fabulous getting-to-know-you activity for those first days back. I planned it for about 2 hours a day, over 2 days.
The front of the t-shirt is divided into sections and is a...
I am so excited about this new tool for IB PYP classrooms! The interactive bulletin board offers so much and can quite literally become the learning hub for many of the approaches to learning skills, the unit of inquiry or a specific curricular area, all centred around the Learner Profile. It promotes international mindedness, communication skills & accountable talk, builds the attitudes of independence, tolerance and confidence, to name a few, and encourages student agency in our classroom. This tool does it all!
The Learner Profile, being the centre of the IB PYP, is also the central part of this interactive bulletin board display. The posters with the Learner Profile descriptors are actually pockets. They are cute and colourful, with the usual kid-friendly description of what it means to be a learner through each trait.
These pockets can be stapled or pinned to your board at a kid friendly...
It never fails to amaze me, when given the opportunity to take the lead, how much our students rise to the challenge. With the enhancements to the IB PYP having recently been unveiled, I felt that this would be a great time to address co-planning the unit…..with your students as your co-planners!
Encouraging greater student agency in your classroom is more than simply listening to the student voice. In my previous post about implementing student agency, I mentioned the difference between passive learning and active learning. Allowing the children to actively contribute to the planning of their own learning, absolutely promotes meaningful student involvement.
The unit of inquiry has been planned in a variety of ways over the years:
The IB PYP Exhibition! The big event that culminates the PYP for the children, where they get to showcase all of their learning of the Essential Elements! If you are an upper grades teacher, you either love it or you dread it! Regardless of how you feel about it, we cannot take away from the incredibly valuable experience it brings to all involved. Personally, I love it!
I’m really excited to share this article with you. It is FULL of practical tips, a free video sharing steps through the PYPX and a valuable resource that I created specifically for the IB PYP Exhibition.
I was recently a guest speaker with Vasileios Iosifidis, The PYP Traveller, on You Tube. Being an experienced PYP teacher himself, Vasilis shares a TON of great stuff on his You Tube channel. I have added his video for you, a few paragraphs down.
But first, whether you are experienced or brand
I’m an avid believer in making maths an adventure of discovery and creation rather than simply an expected chore. By integrating maths into our units of inquiry and making it an authentic experience, we are dispelling the myth that maths is boring and we turn our learners into investigators, truth seekers and explorers! Far more exciting already, don’t you think?
I’m well aware of how tricky it can be to integrate maths into all of our units of inquiry and so there are several alternative routes that I turn to when the going gets tough, which I’ll be sharing soon in a future post. But for today, I want to share how picture books are one of the easiest ways to bring the adventure back to your maths lessons.
Here are some of my favourites that I’ve found provoke inquiry and are simple to slot into multiple units of inquiry, whilst covering many maths standards. Many of them are flexible enough to adapt for all ages. You can link directly to each book for...
The biggest question, when I’m planning an IB PYP unit of inquiry is, at what level is my class in terms of experience and initiative when it comes to inquiry? In other words, which level of student inquiry will I be planning around – structured inquiry, guided inquiry or open inquiry?
The biggest catastrophe that can happen to a teacher embarking on inquiry for the first time is to implement an open inquiry without fully understanding the level of her students’ independent inquiry skills. There aren’t many children who are new to the IB PYP that have been formally guided through the skills necessary for independent inquiry. This can result in confusion at best and frustration at the worst. Not to mention that moment when you just have to abandon the lesson and re-group. I know this, cos I’ve been there many a time! Haha!
We want to ensure that our inquiries are structured in such a way that will introduce strategies and guide and...
A brand new year is upon us once more! And a new year is always a good time for self reflection. (I have spoken a lot about reflection within the IB PYP and offered multiple strategies that can be used in previous posts. You can read more about that further on.) But with this post, I’m focusing largely on self-reflection; developing reflective thinking skills within the children and ultimately bringing each child a greater awareness of their own Learner Profile and personal, social and emotional development.
With reflection having been removed from the IB key concepts and student agency being a key focus lately, I felt that there was a need for us to maintain this big idea of reflection throughout our learning environment and certainly within the process of inquiry based learning itself. I wanted my students to be able to understand the importance of reflective thinking and it’s role in self-assessment and the inquiry process, not to mention personal, social and...
Hello dear teachers! I’m excited to share this idea with you. It is really easy to implement and can be done with ANY age level. I call it the INQUIRY JAR. (I know, really imaginative, right?) Let’s get straight to it!
A few posts ago, I wrote about developing inquirers and the three stages that are CRUCIAL to this development; structured inquiry leading to guided inquiry before you finally have independent inquirers. ( You can link to that article here if you like.) Well, this activity with the Inquiry Jar, is a great way to encourage the inquiry process and model what it looks like and sounds like as well as moving on to teaching higher level thinking skills through questioning and thought analysis. You can find this plus 9 more ideas for bringing inquiry into your classroom in my free guide. It also comes with another great, FREE activity.
The IB PYP Exhibition is like learning to drive. You always remember that very first time you were in the driving seat and how daunting it all seemed. Well, dear friends, if you are about to embark on that journey through the PYP Exhibition, hold onto your hats! It is definitely one of those wild rides but so very worth it. If you’re new or newish to the Exhibition (PYPX), then my hope is that this article will help to make your journey a bit more smooth. I’ll provide an outline that demonstrates the steps and timeline of the process that you can print and take away with you and I have a video to share from The PYP Traveller’s You Tube channel. Let’s dive in!
It is a celebration of the children’s knowledge and skills throughout their PYP experience. It is a culmination of a substantial inquiry involving self reflection, collaboration, inquiry, action and ...
We hear incredible stories of kids, from schools all around the world, taking action and using their knowledge from inquiry to make an impact for the better. But how much of that action is truly student-led? How big does action have to be? Does it even matter if it isn’t student led? And how do we inspire the children to independently take action? Are those some of the questions that pop into your head when you hear about such wow-factor action?
Well, never fear…..I’m here to shed some light on the matter and to dispel some of the doubt (and dare I say cynicism?) that may be whispering in your ear. I have an action plan ( and some free tools) to develop and inspire your class of future heroes! Read on……
Action, ideally, is the voice of the children. It is student agency at its finest. Action promotes a connection to learning. It’s a transferrable process that, surprise,...