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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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A Transdisciplinary Approach to the Arts in the IB PYP

Dear IB PYP teachers, allow me to introduce Sven Valcárcel Marsà, IB PYP teacher and music teacher in Agora Lledó International School inSpain, as my guest writer for this article. I met Sven through Instagram @valcarcelmarsa after he reached out to share his strategies for approaching the arts through a transdisciplinary approach. The PYP Scope and Sequence document for music  defines the body of knowledge music students need. It is differentiated based on the students’ abilities and situations, progressively builds upon their conceptual understanding and skills which means, as with everything in the PYP, is approached as a transdisciplinary learning experience, through the concepts within our themes.

In Phase 1, students “…explore sound as a means of expressing imaginative ideas.”

 Phase 4, students will “…write music in traditional notation…create music that will be refined after sharing with...

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Tuning into IB PYP Related Concepts with Picture Analysis

A key part of tuning into the IB PYP unit of inquiry is unpacking those related concepts that our investigations will be based upon. I've spoken a lot about ways that we can provoke the children's curiosity and invite their questions into the inquiry. This article goes a little deeper into this tuning in phase as we use images to develop thinking skills, namely all of those skills that make up analyzing information, in order to learn more about those related concepts.

If you've been following along with my social media accounts for a while now, then you will know how much I love using pictures to provoke the inquiry. There are so many thinking skills at work when you are presenting images to children and it's so easy to integrate those thinking skills into all subject areas, not to mention how they overlap into research and communication skills too.  This article gives you a few easy to implement tips that can be integrated into your units of inquiry through the related...

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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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Mentoring the Mentors within the IB PYP Exhibition

Within the IB PYP Exhibition, your team of mentors are a crucial support tool for students and facilitators alike. They are often a mixture of other staff members ( teachers, support staff ), members of the local community and parents. Many mentors are coming to the Exhibition for the first time. And, even if it isn’t their first time, its so important to ensure right from the very beginning, that everyone is on the same page. Mentoring your mentors is one key to making the journey  a smoother one.  I have a couple of GREAT tools to help! In this article, you will find a fantastic video, a free guide and my best-selling Exhibition journal. If this is your first journey through the PYP Exhibition, make sure you grab your FREE timeline here.

[caption id="attachment_3787" align="alignnone" width="980"] Get your FREE Exhibition timeline now![/caption]

Within my student journal, Journey Through the PYP Exhibition, you will find ideas for mentors as well as clarifying...

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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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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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