Student-led conferences – a lesson in trust

Over the years, student-led conferences have become increasingly popular in schools. Instead of the parents and teachers talking about the child while the child sits at home, the child is there not only to hear the conversation but, in theory, lead it. https://twitter.com/traintheteacher/status/950898620743663616 Yet how often do the children get a choice in: The artifacts... Continue Reading →

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Video provocations – use small screens to develop conceptual thinking

Video is a powerful medium for provocation. Images, words, music can help us visualize powerful concepts and support storytelling that explores big ideas. Traditionally, teachers gather the children into one group and all watch the video together. Yet during this process how much precious learning time is wasted: Organising the children to sit down in... Continue Reading →

The tour guide on the side – inquiry outside the classroom

Field trips. Barking at the children to not touch, wander off, fidget and listen attentively all while in the public eye. It's stressful. Does it need to be? Inquiry learning is something teachers plan for in the safety of the school environment. However, once we take children on field trips, it's easy to slip back into... Continue Reading →

The dance of inquiry

It starts with a binary question. A small sentence to provoke thinking, a decision to be made. Which pot? The children record their thinking on screencasting software, we will return to thinking later. In the meantime, let's have a go at writing 'how to guides' for our favourite apps so the new children in the... Continue Reading →

Viral handshakes and icebergs

  The iceberg is a useful metaphor to explore complexity. I often use it with my students as a way to help them develop a more nuanced understanding of a difficult concept. For instance, spelling and handwriting are at the tip of a writing iceberg. Surface writing errors are easy for adults and children to... Continue Reading →

What is your new year question? #oneword2017

Over the last few years, I've committed myself to the same resolution when the calendar changes to January 1. I will go to bed before 11.This is a simple goal and has a noticeable impact on my well-being. Yet here I am mid-January wide awake and typing away on the computer at 11.30 pm. Holidays lull every... Continue Reading →

The language of inquiry

We're taking time to read a poem. There's some difficult language. "I see 'faux pas,' I am curious what it means.." muses one boy. Several classmates immediately pipe up. "It's French.." "Pas means not, so it's not something..." "I wonder, what is 'faux'?" In the background I ponder the first student's use of language. He... Continue Reading →

Look for the learning when taking action

Action is an essential element of the PYP but I would argue that it is also one the most misunderstood. One of the misconceptions about taking action is that it needs to be some big event with posters and raising lots of money for a worthy cause after the children have gone through 'the inquiry... Continue Reading →

What place does student voice have in planning?

As the children prepare for learning conferences, I started off the process not by asking them on what they learned but which unit they felt they gained the most from and which unit they felt needed improvement. The children were thrilled to give feedback. More importantly, it was an opportunity for me to demonstrate the qualities... Continue Reading →

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