Welcome to PYPteachingtools.com

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

 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Susan Powers...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

Tips for Sharing the IB PYP with Parents

Engaging the families of our IB PYP students and getting them on board is so important for all involved and not least for bringing that cohension to our learning community. Often times, it is the parents in our learning community who are the last to understand what exactly it is that we do. I receive many questions and requests from teachers, coordinators and school leaders who are presented with this job of bringing the PYP to the parents. Do any of the questions below sound familiar?

So, what exactly is the PYP?

How is my child actually learning?

What do you mean that you're a FACILITATOR?

I'm a little concerned about this student-led inquiry thing?

Well, here's my advice for you if you've been given the soapbox to step upon and deliver the message of why we encourage inquiry based learning, support student agency and proudly fly the flag of being a PYP school.  These tips are designed with ideas to pick and choose. Obviously, what you do depends on time, space and your...

Continue Reading

Adding Depth to SEE-THINK-WONDER in the IB PYP

The good-old SEE-THINK-WONDER thinking routine. You could probably walk into any IB PYP classroom in the world and you will see it being used. How often do we use this oldie but goodie as a thinking routine? Without a doubt, it is a powerful starter to provoke our students' curiosity and then invite children to think more. But how much do we really utilise the power of this thinking routine as a means for developing the journey towards self-directed inquiry?  When we dive deeper into SEE-THINK-WONDER we uncover the IBPYP sub-skills that fall within the Approaches to Learning Skills.  In particular, we reach into the thinking & research skills.  I have a few exclusive PYP teaching tools to support the popular thinking routine of SEE-THINK-WONDER for both our youngest learners and our upper grades and have them all developing those oh-so-important comprehension skills.

A Thinking Routine for ALL Ages:

Thinking routines help our students to think critically about...

Continue Reading

Brilliant Books to Inspire Action in the IB PYP

Our aim is, through inquiry, to have the children come up with responsible, thoughtful and meaningful action that will make an impact. This impact does not have to be earth-shattering for the world. It does have to connect with their learning, giving a sense of purpose to their learning  through experience and enabling their voice to shine through. This is extremely empowering. Think about the impact that taking action has on yourself; from checking off your daily to-do list, to accomplishing a marathon event. ( or a marathon! Haha! )  The impact begins with how you feel about yourself and, depending on the action, can have a domino effect in that it affects others in your immediate community, wider community or even globally. Regardless of the extent of the ripple effect of your action, it becomes empowering. So, how do we transfer this to the children?

Making it Happen The best way to encourage student action is to begin by...

Continue Reading

Supporting A Collaborative Classroom in the IB PYP

The very nature of the student led, inquiry based classroom is to amplify the children's voice and bring their thinking to light. As part of 21st century skills, we know that collaboration is a key player in this development of learning.  There is no doubt that the process of learning through collaboration is the evolution of expanding understanding. It breaks away from that traditional " I" and "me" method of learning and brings forth the community mindset. We want to build up this sense of collective agency through our culture of community learning.

Why Collaborative Learning?

This form of learning enables a multitude of sub-skills and ALL of the IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills. It brings meaningful experiences to learning and allows our students to work towards a higher level of thinking as they build upon each others' thoughts and ideas.

  • Social skills: Becoming active participants of a social setting presents opportunities for the children to become more effective...
Continue Reading

End of the Year Reflection Activities for the IB PYP Classroom

Greetings international teachers, from (not so )sunny Scotland. Another school year is almost over and I know those main challenges the we teachers face at the end of the school year.
  • Reflecting on the school year
  • Closing out portfolios meaningfully
  • Keeping our students engaged AND learning right up until the end.
  • Saying goodbyes ( so many of our international students move on & away)
  • Report writing AND maintaining our sanity......you know?
Well, I have a few ideas for activities that are perfect for the end of the year that I wanted to share with you. These are easy to prepare, easy to implement and easy to keep the kids motivated whilst learning. Even if you arent at that point in your school year, take a look. Im hoping you'll be able to find something that might work for your class. 😀

White Board Summer Wishes

The picture below is a photo of me with messages from my 3rd graders. This is a super easy and fun activity for ALL ages. The children stand in front of...
Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

Bringing the IB PYP Learner Profile to Life

What kind of a learner are you? Consider the question. Are you more of the lion type of learner or perhaps you're more of the hamster? This is a simple activity that I use at the beginning of the school year, as we are getting to know, not only our class community but also ourselves. As I am building this community of  learners, I want them to have a greater understanding of who they are as learners and to recognise and appreciate our diversity.   And that, as we know, all stems from the IB Learner Profile. Let's begin with an inquiry into who we are as learners.

  With a simple question and fun images, the children are asked to relate themselves to the pictures. You can choose to use words or simply begin with only the images. This adds to the thinking. I have done it both ways, depending on the students abilities with language, the vocabulary of the PYP and their thinking skills etc. Ask them: Are you more of a lion when it comes to learning, or are you more...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading
1 2 3 4
Close

50% Complete

Be sure to subscribe to PYPteachingtools.com for practical strategies, hands on ideas and classroom ready tools for your inquiry-based classroom.