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 in experimenting with an action research project to figure out the most effective way of organizing my Unit of Inquiry boards. I think I’m on […]

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 author must incorporate sensory details into the scene so that that reader can imagine what it is like. As a class, we used photographs to help us […]

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 a way of sharing my experiences with others. If any folks reading this have similar experiences, questions, or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Leave […]

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 useful artefacts: charts, lists, maps, questions. Without a structured way of organizing all that information and knowledge, my unit boards (and usually the surrounding walls) […]

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 
big 
ideas 
and 
important 
themes 
in 
what
 you 
have 
just 
read, 
seen, or 
heard. Choose
 a
 COLOUR 
that
 you 
think 
best 
represents 
the 
essence 
of […]

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 add a comment below. I’m curious if I’ve been able to help other teachers. Also, if you have any suggestions, please tell me. PYP Key Concepts […]

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, as I continue to learn how to help students create powerful and interesting research questions. As I see it, my understanding has had three stages […]

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 or issue from different points of view. Sometimes, I use this routine first, and then add on to it with “Step Inside“. Copied directly from […]

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 were some of the important events in their lives. I needed some way of making sure that the chronological events of their lives made sense, […]

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 full, well-developed characters in their minds, then when those characters encounter a problem, they will react in realistic ways. We started with collecting a bunch […]