Inquiring into PYP Classroom Set-up

 Provocation: If it looks, sounds and feels like a ‘regular’ classroom, its probably not PYP. 

typical classroom


June seems like a strange time for an inquiry into PYP classroom set-up. But we realize that many teachers are thinking about classroom set-up while they are taking down their classroom from the school year that just finished. We also realize that many teachers spend time in the summer thinking about classroom set-up, and many even come back to school early to get a head start on organizing their room. We wanted to make sure that we stayed ahead of this curve, and took the time to allow our teachers to reflect on and re-think the way they set up their PYP classrooms.

staff inquiry

We provided a collection a resources about PYP/inquiry-based learning spaces from a number of different blogs, school websites and PYP resources. The teachers were then given time to sort through the resources they felt were relevant to their learning.

First Impressions and the Inquiry Classroom

Learning Spaces

10 Ways to Think About Your Learning Space

What should my PYP classroom look like?

What does a PYP classroom look and sound like?

Visual Markers of a PYP Classroom – page 14

Inquiry Habitats

What our PYP Classrooms Look Like (International School of Helsinki)

What Does a PYP Classroom Look Like? (Video)

After reading through their self-selected resources, teaching teams worked together to make conclusions about how to set up a PYP classroom. Homeroom teachers and single-subjects teachers (who teach their subject in the students’ homeroom) all sat together to ensure everyone’s interests were being represented. They worked together to create a document that shows what PYP classrooms must have, should have, shouldn’t have and can’t have at our school. This sparked many interesting conversations!

“Is there really anything that belongs in the ‘can’t’ section?”

“What are we supposed to write? The classroom should be set up with the students, not for the students.”

“How do we know these sources actually represent what the PYP expects?”

Here are the insightful conclusions that resulted from inquiry and great discussions:

PYP classroom setup grade 1 PYP classroom setup grade 3 PYP classroom setup grade 4 PYP classroom setup KG1

Instead of us (PYP Coordinators) creating a checklist of requirements, we thought it was important to have staff own this process. That way the final product shows their understanding of what makes a PYP classrooms, as opposed to mandating their implementation of our understanding of what makes a PYP classroom.

We’re hoping to go through a similar inquiry with our new staff next fall to allow them to begin to construct their own understanding of PYP classroom set-up. We also plan on providing them with these awesome team-made resources!



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