What does an inquiry-based, first week of school look like?

During this year’s staff orientation, we used inspiration from two blog posts (sowing the seeds of inquiry & 10 things to do on the first day of school) to move towards a more inquiry-based, first week with students.

Here is a glimpse into what it looked like in classrooms from KG to Grade 5…

Students helped set up their learning environment:

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Students helped choose what to do for the first week:

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Students explored the school:


Students’ questions were honoured:

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Students and teachers learned about and connected with one another:

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Students and teachers discussed what it means to be ‘students’ and ‘teachers’:

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Students shared what they want to learn about in the coming year:

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Students thought about and shared their learning preferences:

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Students explored the learner profile, PYP attitudes, key concepts and action:

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Student constructed essential agreements:

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Students reflected:

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Students played:


The week was a success! The feedback from teachers and students was overwhelmingly positive. Students loved being included in the planning and set-up for a new school year and teachers felt the more ownership they handed over to students the more positive and enjoyable the learning community became.

There is a definite buzz around our elementary school. Enthusiasm… fresh ideas… confidence… inquiry… I can’t wait to see where all this amazing energy takes us this year!

What does your inquiry-based first week of school look like?



14 thoughts on “What does an inquiry-based, first week of school look like?

  1. michaelbondclegg September 4, 2015 / 2:58 pm

    I am convinced that many of these same activities could be used in older grades as well – how much would teenaged students love to feel like they have a say in their learning community, rather than simply being told what they are going to learn?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Moly September 7, 2015 / 5:53 pm

    It was a great experience to have the students lead the inquiry for the first week of school. As a class we definitely feel more connected to each other, to our classroom, and to our school community. It also set the tone for inquiry throughout the rest of the year. LOVE, LOVE, LOVED doing it the inquiry way!


    • tbondclegg September 8, 2015 / 2:37 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Moly! It was amazing to see your students in action and to hear all about it. 🙂


  3. Amy Keane May 2, 2016 / 9:23 pm

    I love your blog! Our school is starting PYP next year and you have got me excited!


    • tbondclegg May 3, 2016 / 5:48 am

      That’s great Amy! You will love it! It is such a great program.


  4. sidra August 3, 2016 / 1:06 am

    The most comprehensive and wonderful demonstration.Well done.


  5. Amor Bouhlel September 14, 2017 / 4:09 am

    Thanks so much! Brilliant ideas!


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