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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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ATL Skills & Social Emotional Learning in the IB PYP

The IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills present opportunity for a complete social emotional learning experience which we design to accommodate the needs of our elementary learners. With a whole child approach, our programme connects the ATL skills with the attributes of our Learner Profile and ensures that the fundamental needs of being human are as important as the academic. Consider how the attributes of our Learner Profile fit within the whole child.

Consider how the attributes of a learner fit within the whole child.[/caption] In our goal to develop well-rounded, self-directed thinkers & inquirers, we have an entire programme of inquiry that we design to provide explicit lessons and learning experiences to teach critical SEL skills that the children can transfer across the entire year.
 
Within the IB PYP Social skills and Self-management Skills, our transdisciplinary approach enables lessons and activities targeting skills for understanding emotions,...
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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 Steps to Introducing Visible Thinking Routines Into Your IB PYP Class

Regardless of the age you are teaching, integrating Visible Thinking Routines into any IB PYP classroom can significantly enhance student engagement and learning outcomes. Today, Im bringing you five effective ways to introduce Visible Thinking Routines (VTRs) into your classroom that I have found to be most effective:

  1. Begin with a Foundation:
  • Before diving into Visible Thinking Routines, establish a positive and open classroom culture where students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. This sense of community enables a feeling of security and that there is a partnership to the learning.
  • Ensure that your students have a fundamental awareness of their metacognition and what it means to BE an inquirer and a thinker, underlining this is a practical way to bring these attributes to life; what it looks-sounds-feels and acts like. I ALWAYS begin the school year with a focus on Thinking Skills, specifically the sub-skill of Reflection, which includes metacognitive...
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Planning Through the IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills

The IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills are a BIG deal! We think of them as the tools that support independent learning, amplifying the journey as the children progress with their development of those 21st century skills. And it is so important to identify those skills and then acknowledge them. Transparency is key. 

The functional language or action words help us when planning through the ATL skills with the children, to assist with recognising the skills in use, being able to transfer those skills authentically and connect the purpose to their learning meaningfully. Read on for practical ideas and tools for assisting with co-planning through the IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills and watch the video where I share practical strategies for including the children in the planning process.

As you know, the PYP aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more...
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Implementing Visible Thinking Routines in the IB PYP

When it comes to reflection and assessment of our IB PYP transdisciplinary inquiries, we are fundamentally assessing the abstract; understanding of concepts, transfer of knowledge and development of skills. These are not things that can be monitored with multiple choice assessments. (If you'd like to explore more about assessment in the PYP, start with this article here. ) Part of our assessment strategies include on-going documentation of the learning process, which includes the children's thinking and this is where the valuable visible thinking routines assist. I am delighted to welcome my guest writer, Jahnavi Aswani, a homeroom teacher-facilitator with PYP 3 from Mount Litera School International, Mumbai. She is bringing her experience with visible thinking routines and practical ideas to share with our community. As you read through Jahnavi's article, consider the Approaches to Learning Skills that are put into practice within the different thinking routines. Read on for some...
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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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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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Putting Mindfulness into Practice in the IB PYP

My guest writer this week continues with her ideas for developing a mindfulness practice in schools as part of the IB PYP Self management Skills. Karen Myrick is a PYP Mentor at the International School of the Gothenburg Region in Sweden and holds a Head of Department position where she works with the development of the ATL Skills. In addition to her 20 years of experience teaching in the IB PYP, Karen is a certified Mindfulness Instructor, has a passion for student and teacher well-being, and has developed mindfulness courses for teachers, and mindfulness resources for the classroom, which help teachers bring this amazing, science-backed practice to their students. She has presented at the Toddle SEL Pop Up event in July 2021, the IB Virtual Conference in October 2021, and most recently at the Nordic Network of International Schools Conference in Copenhagen. You can link to Karen's website, themindfulteacher.co,  here. 

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