Thursday, September 28, 2017

Priorities, daily schedules & the PYP

The language we use and the way we spend our time are reflections of what we value.

In schools that subscribe to the International Baccalaureate's Primary Years Program (IB PYP) our language and use of time must reflect a prioritization of significant, relevant, challenging and engaging learning that is enacted by implementing the PYP Approaches to Teaching. In the PYP, among other approaches, we value:
  • inquiry
  • a balance between transdisciplinary and disciplinary learning
  • concept-based learning
  • differentiation
  • collaboration
In the elementary school, teachers often post a schedule or timetable in the room, to outline for students the plan for the day. As PYP educators, it is important to ask if our daily posted schedules reflect the priorities of the PYP.

In order to guide them through this reflection, I recently had teachers with whom I work explore PYP expectations and then look at a couple of sample daily schedules.

We first started looking at how the PYP expects us to spend and organize our time:

  • B2.10.a: The schedule or timetable allows for in-depth inquiry into the transdisciplinary and disciplinary dimensions of the curriculum.
  • “To ensure the coherence of the learning from the students’ points of view, it is essential that all teachers in a PYP school see themselves as PYP teachers, and are fully committed to and engaged with the philosophy and practices of the programme. Within each school community, the approach to the implementation of the programme needs to be holistic, not fragmented by disciplinary teaching,” p. 31.
  • “Please note that mathematics, language(s) of instruction, social studies and science need to be the responsibility of the classroom teacher: the teacher with whom the students spend most of their time. Single-subject teaching of these areas is not consistent with the PYP model of transdisciplinary learning— learning that transcends the confines of the subject areas, but is supported by them. Personal and social education is the responsibility of all PYP teachers,” p. 67.
  • “The programme of inquiry provides an authentic context for learners to develop and use language. Wherever possible, language should be taught through the relevant, authentic context of the units of inquiry. The teacher should provide language learning opportunities that support learners’ inquiries and the sharing of their learning. Regardless of whether language is being taught within or outside the programme of inquiry, it is believed that purposeful inquiry is the way in which learners learn best. The starting point should always be learners’ prior experience and current understanding,” p. 70.
  • “Wherever possible, mathematics should be taught through the relevant, realistic context of the units of inquiry. The direct teaching of mathematics in a unit of inquiry may not always be feasible but, where appropriate, introductory or follow-up activities may be useful to help students make connections between the different aspects of the curriculum. Students also need opportunities to identify and reflect on “big ideas” within and between the different strands of mathematics, the programme of inquiry and other subject areas,” p. 83.
Next, we looked at variety of schedules, continually asking:

  • What do we see / notice?
  • What PYP approaches to teaching do the schedules reflect?

Then, we thought about our own schedules as we asked:

  • What PYP approaches to teaching does my daily schedule reflect?
  • How could I adapt my daily schedule / agenda to better align with the PYP?

After I invited teachers to think about ways they could adapt their own posted daily schedules to better reflect the priorities of the PYP, several risk-taking teachers took me up on this invitation. Below are recent schedules posted in their rooms that will no doubt continue to morph as they react to the needs and understandings of their students.

What do you see and notice in these daily schedules? What PYP approaches to teaching do the schedules reflect?

Special thanks to Mrs. Liesener, Ms. Elliott, Mr. Dawson, Mrs. Lorentz, Ms. Erickson and the other teachers who shared their schedules with us!


  1. Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for sharing these.
    We had a look at these examples in a grade level meeting and here's our thinking...
    - Appreciate that there is a routine and schedule to timings in the day
    - Subtle language that shifts to conceptual understanding
    - Use of framing questions
    - Split screen approach- what and how
    - Some kids want to know specifically what is happening
    - I see how UOI is not a separate subject, especially connections between literacy

    We appreciate your sharing. Miranda

  2. Nice post !

    The PYP promotes an international perspective, which recognizes and welcomes the diversity of student experiences and backgrounds. A PYP school strives towards developing an internationally minded person who demonstrates the attributes of the:-

    IB learner profile
    The class teacher teaches the core curriculum while specialist teachers teach art, music, languages, library and physical education. Information Communication Technology is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum.

  3. Story of this blog is well written. The writer kept in consideration the grammar very well. Level of English also very well. Lot many new words has been used while writing content of this blog.