PYP at PWE

Documenting our journey as a PYP school within Rocky View Schools

Conceptual thinking and learning

How do we address the key concepts in our class?

As one of the essential elements of the PYP, the IB States:

“Structured inquiry is a powerful vehicle for learning that promotes meaning and understanding, and challenges students to engage with significant ideas. In the PYP, there is a commitment to concept-driven curriculum as a means of supporting that inquiry…(The key concepts) are not, in any sense, the only concepts worth exploring. Taken together, they form a powerful curriculum component that drives the teacher and/or student constructed inquiries that lie at the heart of the PYP curriculum…(The key concepts) are presented in the form of key questions. It is these questions, used flexibly by teachers and students when planning and inquiry-based unit, that shape that unit, giving it direction and purpose.” (Making the PYP Happen, p. 15-17, )

Let’s start by Tuning In and Finding Out:

Choose one of the following linked blogs to read through carefully, with your lens of thinking focused on conceptual based thinking and learning within the classroom. As you read through your chosen blog, please open up our back-channel Today’s Meet chat and share some of your thinking, ideas and reflections upon reading the post. How has it sparked some ideas for you? What are you still wondering? Did you have any Ah-ha’s? If you have time to read another blog – go for it!

Edna Sackson – Concept Driven Learning

Adam Turner – Our Concept Questions – password to view: PWE3T

Edna Sackson – Building an Understanding of Digital Citizenship

How do we assess conceptual understanding?

  • Let’s discuss as a group what your take aways from these readings were.
  • What else is happening at PWE to address the Key Concepts in classrooms? Share with the group!
  • What do other PYP educators do?

Now we’ll move to Sorting Out and Going Further:

Concepts can be pulled from the different subject areas from which we teach. For this next activity – we ask that you split up from your grade team and choose one of the subject areas that are laid out on the chart papers around the room. There should only be one person from each grade team at each subject (except for Grade 1, because there’s just so many of you!)

  1. Brainstorm and record with your think-tank group all of the related concepts that you can think of for that subject. Keep writing until we tell you to stop!
  2. As a group, choose one of the related concepts that you came up with.
  3. Your next task is to generate questions that would guide your inquiry and lead to deeper thinking through the lens of 3 of the key concepts (form and function are factual based – don’t just rely on those for your questions! Though they may be needed at the start of an inquiry, Dig deeper and try to come up with questions using the more in-depth key concepts)

Use this to help you, if you need

PYP Key Concepts

Finally, let’s reflect and take action

So what? What did you gain from this? What do you understand to be important in terms of the key concepts and addressing them purposefully and regularly in the classroom?

Now what? What will you do with this?

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4 thoughts on “Conceptual thinking and learning

  1. What a fantastic day of dialogue regarding Relational and Key Concepts! Lots of reflective conversation that will shift practise.

  2. Sounds like great learning! Glad you found my posts helpful.

  3. Pingback: Starting with a blank slate | The Perpetual Learner

  4. Pingback: March Madness! | PYP at PWE

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