For our final PL day of the year, we will spend some time engaging in our annual Programme of Inquiry review. We are going to shake it up, and do things a bit differently this year. Thanks to a blog post by Ryan Higbea who experimented with a POI review focused specifically on Key Concept balance both horizontally and vertically, we thought we’d give it a try!
As a PYP school, it is our responsibility to ensure that our students are engaged in conceptually-based learning. In order to assist in achieving this, the IB has identified 8 key concepts that drive our inquiries.
During regular review of the Programme of Inquiry (POI), the IB document, Developing a Transdisciplinary Programme Of Inquiry states that;
“A school’s programme of inquiry should demonstrate the opportunity for deeper exploration of all eight PYP key concepts. All eight key concepts must be represented on the programme of inquiry at each grade/year level (horizontal alignment)…[and] there should be a balance of PYP key concepts used throughout each transdisciplinary theme (vertical alignment). This does not mean that each key concept must be represented under each transdisciplinary theme but rather that schools are mindful of repetition or under-representation of concepts in order to ensure that there are appropriate opportunities for students to revisit and develop their understanding of all concepts.” (p. 5-6)
As Ryan said in his blog, the work to balancing the POI according to key concepts may be “tricky and messy”, but it provides us with the opportunity to engage in conversation, and negotiate vertically how we look at our Units of Inquiry to ensure that, holistically, constructively, Students‘ depth of understanding is at the forefront of our thoughts, not what’s easiest, or less work for teachers.
So today, we challenge you to step outside your comfort zone, reflect on your units, and think critically about the alignment of the key concepts, not only horizontally across a grade level, but vertically as well. As an added twist, we’re going to gamify our process.
Round 1: Getting familiar with the game board
Take a look at our Key Concept POI game board
What are your initial noticings on the board? Patterns? Omissions? Repetitions? Under-representations?
Round 2: Game board setup – Locking In
In your grade teams – go into the master game board on Google Drive and take a critical look at your units at your grade level and identify the key concepts that CANNOT be changed in any of your units. Indicate these key concepts, by changing them on the game board to be in ALL CAPS. In gamers terms, you are “Locking In” these key concepts so they cannot be modified, switched or removed in the rounds to follow. At this point, you may wish to make some changes to your key concepts if you notice that there is not horizontal balance of your key concepts (many repetitions, under-representation or key concepts missing altogether). Try not to marry yourself to key concepts and lock all of them in! You have 15 minutes for this round. GO!
Round 3: Game board setup – Thinking about potential
Now, your task is to identify the key concepts that could go into each of your units. Again, think carefully, yet critically about your units and indicate which key concepts could possibly go into each unit, by adding them on the game board in grey, below the current key concepts that are associated with each unit. During this round, you may still find yourselves making modifications and changes to your key concepts to ensure horizontal balance. You have 10 minutes for this round. GO!
Round 4: GAME TIME!
Now that the game board is set, we will switch into vertical teams and take on the challenge of balancing our POI conceptually. On the second page of our POI game board, you will find the team groupings. Once you are in your group:
- Come up with an awesome group name
- Designate one person on your team to make a COPY of the master game board – and rename it with your team name (Make sure your copy is in the “2016-2017 POI review conceptual” folder that was shared with you). This will be your working copy of the game board
- To show you’re ready to go, put up your twinkle fingers or your jazz hands!
Balance the POI both horizontally and vertically as best as you can, while adhering to the parameters set by each grade team on the game board, with as few total moves as possible.
- Horizontal balance means, “All eight key concepts must be represented on the programme of inquiry at each grade/year level”
- Vertical balance means, “There should be a balance of PYP key concepts used throughout each transdisciplinary theme (vertical alignment). This does not mean that each key concept must be represented under each transdisciplinary theme but rather that schools are mindful of repetition or under-representation of concepts in order to ensure that there are appropriate opportunities for students to revisit and develop their understanding of all concepts.” Try your best to have concepts represented under each TD theme (but also, not OVER represented), but if it doesn’t logically make sense, don’t force it.
- No concept in CAPS can be moved. It has been “locked in”.
- Only concepts in grey, indicated in a specific TD theme can be added.
- Concepts that are currently in a Unit, but not in caps are fair game for removal.
- There can be no more than 3 key concepts per unit.
- Keep track of every modification/move you make.
- Be prepared to share out the modifications you made and your justifications for why.
You have 20 minutes to work – use the paper and markers provided (or any other materials you may choose to use) to help you through the process. GO!
Round 5: Share out
Each team will get 5 minutes to share their rationale for their moves and the number of moves they completed the balancing of the POI in.
Round 6: Judging
The judges will take into consideration:
- each teams’ rationale for balancing the POI the way they did
- if grade teams are agreeable with the changes being suggested
- the number of total modifications made in the process
Feel free to take a brain break as the judges deliberate.
And the winning team is…