Warning: This is a long post! My partner and I wanted to be risk-takers and, as much as possible, run an inquiry-based orientation for our new and returning PYP staff. Here is a sneak peak into how it went.
Our leadership team had four main goals to guide our staff orientation this year:
So first we set-up our inquiry-based professional learning environment…
- collaborative, flexible groupings
- learning materials on each table (blank paper, markers, recipe cards, post-its etc.)
- blank walls to display learners’ questions and thinking
- resource wall to post strategies and visible thinking routines we use
- wonder wall for questions
Day 1: An inquiry into learning spaces…
We did a Think, Write, Sort to open up a discussion around classroom set-up.
Think: What are the usual tasks of setting up a classroom?
Write: Write each classroom set-up task on a separate post-it note and place it in the middle of your group.
Sort: Organize all post-it notes into 3 categories. 1 – Tasks to do with students, 2 – Tasks to do before students arrive, 3 – Tasks that don’t belong in a PYP classroom. (Get rid of duplicates!)
Walk: Walk around and see what other groups think.
Post: Display teachers’ thinking in the learning space.
Day 2: An inquiry into learning communities…
We brainstormed the ways we, as staff, demonstrate the attributes of the learner profile in our professional learning community.
Then we took a break to play together. We played rock, paper, scissor entourage and it was AWESOME!
Everyone faces off against a colleague for a one-stop shot of rock, paper, scissor.
The winner goes on to face another winner, and the loser becomes the winner’s entourage who then cheers on the winner!
Then the loser and his or her entourage join the entourage of the winner, as the winner faces off with another winner. And do the pattern continues until there are only 2 winners left with HUGE entourages, cheering loudly!
Then we got back to
work learning, using a Growing Definition to draft our staff essential agreements.
First in partners,
Then in groups,
Finally, as a whole staff (or in our case with a staff of 120, with a collection of representatives from each group!)
Now, we are ready to post our essential agreements. We plan to “live ’em, not laminate ’em” and continually reflect on them throughout the year as needed.
Last but not least, a reflection! Not about what we learned, but instead about how we learned.
Day 3: An inquiry into inquiry…
We mixed and mingled our PYP, MYP and DP teachers to learn and share about inquiry across the continuum. Inspired by this post by What Ed Said.
We used the Kath Murdoch inquiry cycle and this prezi to structure our inquiry.
Provocation: What ideas about teacher and learning does this video portray?
Tuning In: What is your experience with inquiry?
Finding Out: Based on your current understanding, what are you questions about inquiry?
Sorting Out: Using the resources provided, self-select some blog posts, videos, twitter hashtags, pictures etc. that are relevant to your questions.
If you are beginning your understanding of inquiry:
Strategies for Inquiry Based Learning
What do you notice? A first step down the path towards inquiry
Introduction to Inquiry Based Learning
Inquiry Cycle: Why, what and how
Planning and Inquiry Based Start to the Year
Inquiry based learning – developing student questions
If you are developing your understanding of inquiry:
Developing independence and inquiry
Inquiry, inquiry, inquiry… but how do I do it?
What does inquiry learning look like?
Said no true inquiry teacher ever
Inquiry and the specialist teacher
Is inquiry a struggle for you?
If you are extending your understanding of inquiry:
Letting inquiry unravel naturally
Busting some myths about the inquiry cycle
Minding our language: teaching in the inquiry classroom
This is how inquiry teachers teach
Inquiry and the art of listening
Inquiry and the culture of permission
Effects of Inquiry-based Learning on Students’ Science Literacy Skills and Confidence
Classroom Set-up: How much should we be doing without students?
Going Further: Using what you’ve learned, create a Frayer model that demonstrates your current understanding of inquiry.
Making Conclusions: Based on what you discovered, what are you new questions?
Taking Action: Now that you know what you know, what are you going to do about it?
Reflection: What was it like to learn through inquiry? What did you notice about yourself as a learner? How will that impact that work you do with your students?
Day 4: An inquiry into the first week of school…
Provocation: We used this post from What Ed Said to disrupt our comfortable thinking about what should take place the first days of school.
Then we gave time to grade and subject teams to collaboratively plan their first week of school, using the following resources.
Examples of Inquiry-Based First Week Activities:
What do you want to do on your first day of school?
What do you believe about learning?
Students Creating their learning space
Photos of student’s designing the classroom set-up
10 things to do on the first day of school
First Impressions and the Inquiry Classroom
Tips for Creating a Classroom Agreement
Beginning of the Year Student Questionnaire
Re-Thinking the Start of the Year
10 Back to School Icebreaker Games
3 Non-Icebreaker Things to Do the First Week of School
8 First Day of School Activities
Why the first week of school needs to be vigorous
Day 5: Reflection and Feedback…
Using this visual, we encouraged teachers to think about what they learned this week, and more importantly what action they took based on their learning.
Teachers then filled in post-its with their action and posted them on our action wall.
Finally, we asked for their feedback. We referred back to the 4 goals we introduced on the first day of orientation week and asked for “stars and wishes” about what we did to accomplish those goals and what may have hindered those goals. We will keep this valuable feedback to help improve our staff orientation week next year!
After 5 days, our empty walls were filled with resources along with our teachers’ questions, thinking and action!
Now we are ready to start an amazing new school year!
How have your teachers prepared for a new year in the PYP?
Wow! What an incredible and enriching PD! That was some serious practice-what-you-preach PYP training. And I loved the rock-paper-scissors tournament. 🙂
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Thanks! We are so thankful to have such a wonderful staff of enthusiastic inquirers!
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You and Andria both did a wonderful job! I really enjoyed how inquiry (and how we should be teaching our students) was implemented into staff the meeting!
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It’s easy when we work with such an awesome group of educators!
Taryn, this is well articulated and looks like a great week of PD! Missing you and all of those beautiful faces here in Shanghai!
Thanks Austin! You are very missed around here as well. Hope your school year is off to a great start! Can’t wait to hear about it. 🙂
Looks like a lot of fun and some great community-building. Your teachers have some lovely handwriting too!
Wow what a comprehensive post. I like the idea that you model what you expect in the classroom. It’s easier to show than tell. Thanks for the links. I feel so humbled to be part of your learning.
We’re happy to have you as part of our learning community, Stephanie! 🙂
As someone who was a part of this orientation week, I can say that it really served to energize the staff towards the start of a new school year. I feel my colleagues are going into this year excited about the PYP and ready to put their learning into action. For anyone looking for a template on a great orientation week – this should be a go to resource!
Wow! You guys did an amazing job! I love that you shared these ideas with us. I plan on using some of these ideas to start my orientation planning for next year. 🙂
That’s great! I’d love to see how it turns out next fall! 🙂
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Thanks for sharing this! We have borrowed some of your ideas and activities for our own staff PD this year. Our first day went great – lots of engagement and great thoughts from staff.
That’s wonderful! I’m glad your first day went well. Thanks for sharing your experience and good luck!