Conceptual Topography: A Visual Approach to Inquiry

I notice you’ve got a really beautiful UOI display. What’s that all about? Ha, ya, I guess it is colorful, but that’s mostly incidental. For the past couple years I’ve been engaged...

Writing with Sensory Details

During our unit on narrative writing, we inquired into what makes a good setting for a story. My students came to understand that in order for a setting to be exciting, the...

An Experiment with Ditching the Central Idea

Several people have asked me to share my experiences with teaching a Unit of Inquiry without sharing the Central Idea with my students. Below is an interview I participated in, as...

Peel the Fruit

I have been looking for a good way to structure my unit of inquiry board. I’ve noticed that over the course of the unit, we discover and create all kinds of...

CSI: Colour, Symbol, Image

CSI is one of the more challenging  Visible Thinking Routines but it can really help students develop their understanding of a topic. The basic format is like this: Think 
of 
the...

Key Concepts Posters

Here are the posters I use to illustrate the PYP Key Concepts visually. The text is taken from the IB PYP’s Making it Happen. If you use these posters, please...

Question Sort vs. PYP Key Concepts

Good inquiry requires good questions. For several years I have explicitly taught my students how to ask good questions. Over time, my understanding of the art of questioning has changed,...

Circle of Viewpoints

I have made a simple graphic organiser to helps students follow the Circle of Viewpoints thinking routine. I find this routine an accessible way for students to see a topic...

Timelining a Character’s Life

A recent experiment for making characters come alive: creating timelines of their lives. After interviewing characters, I had a lot of specific details about who these people were and what...

Creating and Interviewing Characters

To help my students develop the characters in their stories, I’ve had them focus on making characters that seem like real people. My theory is that if students can create...