“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Earlier this school year we’ve talked about what inquiry was and how it was used in our classrooms here at Spicewood and during our Parent PYP 101 event, I took parents through the inquiry cycle, giving them a condensed, but first hand experience of how teachers use the inquiry cycle to guide their learning experiences and units of inquiry. As educators our role is to guide students towards new understanding as we unpack big concepts through questioning, research and discussion.
An IB school provides students an opportunity to explore concepts and ideas through inquiry based learning in turn preparing them for a future we can only begin to imagine. While the exploration and inquiry that happens in the classroom is key we ultimately want the units to inspire students to take action (remember action is see, think, act, be, say, feel) with their new learning.
Our third graders are taking action in a different way this year. For their last two Units of Inquiry (How the World Works and How We Express Ourselves), students took action and shared their learning with their families. More specifically, students were asked to bring home their PYP folders and other journals that were used throughout the unit, sharing with their families selected artifacts from a variety of learning experiences that took place over the previous six weeks. The conversations provide a platform for parents to see the learning as it unfolds throughout the inquiry cycle in addition to solidifying the concepts learned in the unit.
After reviewing the items in their journals and folders with their parents, the tables were turned and parents were asked to answer reflect and answer few questions. Involving parents in the learning and reflection process is beneficial for both students and parents. For students, it gives them an opportunity to make more real world connections as their parents share their own knowledge and experiences related to the central idea and unit. Meanwhile, it gives parents an informal opportunity to learn more about the unique elements that make up a PYP education and and get a glimpse small glimpse about how the inquiry process unfolds throughout a unit.
The third grade has just started their How We Organize Ourselves unit and will be sharing parent reflections with our community in the new month. Be sure to check out our parent relflection bulletin board (located near the PY/ITS office) to see how our parents are connecting to the inquiry in the classroom!
Below I’ve shared a few links for more information about inquiry and supporting the learning that is happening in your child’s classroom:
- 3 of the most powerful teaching strategies are used OUTSIDE of the classroom too!
- Using informal conversations help students connect their learning
- What is Inquiry?