Rethinking student councils

When schools are asked how they include students in decision making, they often point to student council as an example of students having voice and choice in the running of a school. This mirrors what happens out in the 'real world' we vote for representatives and then entrust them to lead and make decisions on... 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 →

First Day back Fun

A busy first day. Answering the binary question. The children spent time introducing an object from the class and their connections to the object. After each child told their story, they would volunteer to go next when they felt they had a connection with another child. Over the week the children will add to their connection map.... Continue Reading →

Fish – a book to inspire inquiry and action #graFISH

Four weeks before the end of school, I was in a bind. My class had just finished reading Under the Mountain and there wasn't enough time left in the school year to start a new book. I thought about reading some short stories and then came across Fish by LS Matthews a book that will be... Continue Reading →

Authentic Connections – lets bring the purpose back into @SkypeClassroom

The classes I teach have always been connected to the outside world. Blogs, flickr, twitter, skype, facetime, hangouts. The tools have never been important. It's been the ability to connect to help further learning that has always been the draw for how I wish students to use technology in the classroom. When I look at the times... Continue Reading →

Sometimes you need to throw out the ‘timetable’

Monday was one of those funny days. Team photos had large chunks of my class of the day and the pressing issue of the earthquake in Nepal. Rather than fight against the energy of the day, the kids researched about Nepal and then made a video encourage other children to take action. Sometimes the best... Continue Reading →

Provocation – Setting the scene for Inquiry

Provocation is a powerful item in the inquiry learning tool box. It sparks confusion, a strong reaction and above all curiosity.  One of the strongest take aways from spending time at the International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) was how a strong provocation not only gets kids interested in the concepts but seeing themselves as practitioners in the academic discipline to... Continue Reading →

A common language of learning

One of the joys of being a PYP (Primary Years Programme) teacher is the raft of professional development opportunities available. #pypchat, workshops and informal gatherings help teachers to strengthen their practice and improve learning for the children in their class The curriculum lends itself to a variety of contexts and is taught the world over... Continue Reading →

Breaking educational moulds – We all need to be doing the same thing

 One of the hardest moulds to break in education is consistency. To be clear I think it is important that schools have consistent values and pedagogy. But there is a tendency to want to keep all parts of school the same. Our units of inquiry cover the same contexts at exactly the same time. Yet... Continue Reading →

Using home learning to inform learning

Learning logs continue to be a success in class.After going through the home learning with the class, I had the kids think about next learning steps.The children quickly identified that they didn't really have much experience of being disadvantaged.I then suggested they might get in touch with a friend of mine working in development. In order... Continue Reading →

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