One of my personal goals this year was to make the inquiry cycle more visible and clear. As a PYP school we use Kath Murdoch's model of the inquiry cycle to guide us through each Unit of Inquiry with our students. This post will show you a couple of ways I have ensured this vision this year (both on paper and using technology). [Edit: I know that inquiry is not as linear and straight forward as this. Inquiry is messy. However, as a teacher with no formal training on the subject and with no one around me to assist in a way that I found helpful, this is what I came up with. This is what I have done for a year to ensure my own understanding of the inquiry cycle. Next year: more mess!]
This year we have tried to keep as many units at 6 weeks as possible, with a focus on one stage of the inquiry cycle each week. The photo above is an ever-changing display board I made in the year 5 pod area to help keep us on track. The students love to see whose work gets posted each week. It has helped me and my students visually keep track of our process and how we are building and modifying our knowledge and skills each week.
In collaborative planning meetings, team members create two collaborative mind maps for each unit using www.MindMeister.com. This online tool lets us all work on the mind maps at the same time. One mind map shows the inquiry cycle to help plan ideas of what we could do each week. The other shows transdisciplinary links between the central idea/lines of inquiry and each subject area (specialists and homeroom teachers). Here are some Year 5 examples from our unit about space. Not all areas are fully developed in this example, and things change as students have new ideas/take new directions, but it will give you an idea of what we use as a working document (which will inevitably change next year when the same unit is repeated).
How do you ensure use of the inquiry cycle in your classroom? What tools and technology assist you in doing this? I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions in the comments.
It feels like it has been a long week... but very knowledgeable! I have officially now received my Apple Teacher status (with Swift Playgrounds) as well as my Google Certified Educator Level 1.
As my current school is an Apple Distinguished Schools (ADS) candidate, we are starting to encourage teachers to complete the Apple Teacher program. I have been waiting for the opportunity and finally took it... less than an hour later (while multi-tasking), I was certified. A few days later, after playing with Swift Playgrounds I earned my new badge.
All week I was also studying for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam. This exam was a lot more stressful for me. The Apple one is calm, self-paced, and you can re-do anything immediately. The Google one has a set time, a webcam on you for verification, it is a paid exam, and if you fail there are time limits for when you can sit the exam next... all making for more of an uptight situation. However, after a week of studying I sat down Friday morning and completed it in an hour and a half (half the time given).
This blog is to showcase my beliefs and understandings of using these two certifications in my PYP classroom. I have taught the PYP curriculum for 6 years now, both as a classroom teacher and as an ICT specialist teacher. I currently work at an IB school in the UAE. I teach year 5, am the PYP Coordinator, and Computing Curriculum Coordinator. Many hats! We are planning an Apple Innovation event next month for our school community which we are very excited about, and are also working on our iBook to provide to the ADS team.
As my time in the Middle East is coming to an end, I wanted to share what I have learned in the past two years at this 1:1 iPad school. Next academic year I will be moving to Switzerland to an IB school there, hoping to implement these same things into the inquiry-based classrooms there. Some blog posts may be regarding technology, some maybe about inquiry, and some a combination of the two.
Passionate Canadian PYP Teacher in Vietnam