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Project Based Learning in the IB PYP Inquiry

I've shared a lot about project based learning with our Instagram IB PYP community and how it fits into our student-led inquiry framework. Many have asked me if it offers fidelity to the inquiry process, to student agency and to transdisciplinary learning.  With this post, my intention is to share my perspective based on my experience and hopefully bring some clarity as to how project based learning fits seemlessly within the unit of inquiry.

There is a common misconception that PBL is not as rigorous or as organic a form of inquiry-based learning. I say, that depends on: *Our understanding of an inquiry-based project *How we implement the process *How we differentiate inquiry *How we support student's voice within the project *How flexible we are with plans *How open we are to multiple strategies *How we view structure in the learning environment

 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Susan Powers...

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Enhancing Reflection & Inclusive Assessment in the IB PYP with Conceptual Awareness

I'm excited to introduce a powerful approach to enhance reflection and inclusive assessment in the IB PYP through the lens of conceptual awareness.

In our ever-evolving educational landscape, fostering student voice and agency is at the forefront of creating engaged and lifelong learners. At the heart of this endeavor lies the importance of concepts, which serve as the backbone of the IB PYP curriculum. Concepts not only deepen understanding but also empower students to take ownership of their learning experiences. You can read more about developing conceptual thinkers and inquirers here. 

Conceptual Awareness: Empowering Student Voices Concepts are the threads that connect all the transdisciplinary themes and disciplines within the IB PYP framework. They provide a unique platform for students to engage in meaningful conversations, provide constructive feedback, and transfer their understanding across various facets of their education. By nurturing conceptual awareness, we can...

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8 Ways to Use Task Cards in the IB PYP Classroom

8 Ways to Use Task Cards in the IB PYP Classroom for Skills-Based and Collaborative Learning

Can we take a few minutes to chat about task cards as a solution to our constant search for innovative methods to engage our IB PYP students in meaningful learning experiences. Task cards, versatile tools that offer a wide range of applications, are a valuable resource for promoting skills-based learning and collaborative activities in the classroom. They are not only versatile but also provide us with an opportunity to infuse creativity and interaction into our approaches to teaching. In this article, we will explore eight effective ways to use task cards to enhance skills-based and collaborative learning.

1. **Skill Stations:** Create skill stations in your classroom by placing task cards at different learning centres and even around the room. Each station can focus on a specific skill, such as listening to understand, math problem-solving, grammar development, or critical thinking....

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5 Keys to Develop Collaborative Learning Experiences in the IB PYP

There is no doubt that within most of the IB PYP units of inquiry we have those subjects that have to be addressed as "stand alone" lessons that require explicit teaching and a very real need for paper and pencil work. However, when it comes to engagement, we need to remember that hands on investigation, authentic application of the skills and student input is far more memorable for the children, enables transfer of understanding and supports a sense of ownership. Let's talk about the collaborative learning experience. I am using maths and reading skills as an example but it can be applied to any subject.  Welcome to OPERATION COOPERATION.

..... it is fundamental to the philosophy of the PYP that, since it is to be used in real-life situations, mathematics needs to be taught in relevant, realistic contexts, rather than by attempting to impart a fixed body of knowledge directly to students  -Oxford Mathematics & IBO

I will be sharing some real-world examples from...

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Integrating Inquiry Based Math in the IB PYP

The Inquiry-Based Math Project in the IB PYP

Integrated maths inquiry, concept based maths, project based learning….it doesn’t matter what you call it, well designed projects support learning through a guided inquiry that has enough scope to ensure that maths concepts are approached authentically and with a student-led perspective. These projects naturally lend themselves to support all types and levels of learners. They are transdisciplinary in nature, allowing concepts and skills to be transferred and applied towards an end product that has largely been created with the children's voice as an obvious part of the process. They're open-ended enough to allow your students room to expand and direct the project yet structured enough to support those learners who aren’t quite ready to take that leap into independent inquiry.  As you watch the following video, where I share my strategies together with Parvana Guliyeva (an IB PYP grade 4 teacher, currently in...

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Strategies for Developing IB PYP Conceptual Thinkers

Concepts are such a big part of our IB PYP lives. They begin with our transdisciplinary planning and end with the students' assessment of their conceptual understanding. And in between, we are nurturing and developing their awareness of those big ideas so that they may transfer their knowledge and understanding across disciplines and the programme of inquiry.

Following on from my conversation on Facebook, LIVE with  Misty Paterson from Pop-Up Studio, I wanted to offer some ideas that I have used for developing concept-seekers. I'm going to give you the super-quick tutorial on conceptual learning and planning before I dive into the tools I use to develop conceptual thinking within my students. If youre looking for ideas for assessing the related concepts within our transdisciplinary themes, you will LOVE this article that shares my strategy for rich, rigorous and student-led conversations to reflect and assess those related concepts. Take a look at this article below:

Enhancing...

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Strategies for Teaching English in IB PYP International Schools

As an international teacher, it is highly likely that you will be teaching English as a second or even third foreign language. In many international schools, we find ourselves with a beautiful broth of multiple languages and cultures within our classrooms. And, we deliver our inquiry-based framework to the children in English. For many others, we are teaching in a host country, to a class full of native speakers from our host country and, again, part of our repertoire is to teach those children to not only speak in English but also to learn in English.

Language therefore becomes more than simply a means of conversation. We are teaching a language, about language and through language and we do all of this with that authentic, inquiry-based approach that we truly believe in.  In this article, I will be sharing a recent video from a conversation I had live on Facebook with grade 4 teacher, Maria Vidal. ( @bilingualising on Instagram) [caption id="attachment_2738"...

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Concepts vs. Topics: Bringing clarity for IB PYP teachers

Concepts vs. Topics: Let's Get clear.

In Module 1, Lesson 2 of my online professional development course, Essentials for Inquiry: Getting Started with Student-Led Inquiry, I dive into bringing inquiry teachers an understanding all about conceptual teaching and learning. As an inquiry teacher, it's that important to have this fundamental understanding right from the beginning because we approach our teaching through a transdisciplinary lens, and it is through those concepts that the children are able to make their meaning far more enduring, transferring this understanding across disciplines, time and place. As we plan conceptual learning experiences for and with the students, we want their learning to have this authenticity and the scope for expansion as they begin to make those rich connections, forming meaning for themselves. In this article, I'm delighted to be sharing teacher-author, Misty Paterson, as she helps to uncover the difference between concepts and topics.  The...

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Developing Thinkers & Inquirers in the Early Years IB PYP

 

The early years in the IB PYP can be a whole new experience for teachers new to student-led inquiry. It is a beautiful mix of play-based exploration,  guiding invitations leading to inquiry and  provoking wonder all led by the children's natural curiosity.

I do not profess to be an expert with this age-group. Having never taught in an early years classroom, it amazes me when I see creative early years teachers working their magic and bringing the elements of the PYP seamlessly into practice with our youngest learners.

Common Challenges

I often hear from early years teacher-facilitators that their challenges include questioning and developing this skill with the children.  Such struggles include:

  • How do I get the children to ask meaningful questions?
  • How can we use thinking strategies with such young children?
  • They can't  read or write, how do I plan for inquiries?
  • They're too young to ask good questions.

Perhaps you can relate to one or a few? Well, I am...

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Provoking Curiosity, Inviting Wonder: The Art of the Provocation in the IB PYP

No matter whether your inquiry is happening online or in the classroom, setting the scene of the inquiry and tuning in to the possibilities requires sparking curiosity, triggering background knowledge and provoking wonder. This is where the magic begins and the student-led inquiries stem. This is the art of the provocation. But what exactly does it mean? What is this thing we call "a provocation"? These synonyms from the definition of the noun (provocation) from  the Oxford English Dictionary are  indicators of what we are aiming for:

goading · prodding. inviting · rousing · stirring · stimulation · prompting · inducement · encouragement · urging · inspiration · stimulus  · teasing ·
 
 

We want the provocation activity to be familiar yet unfamiliar.

  • Prod the children's...
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