Our Program of Inquiry (PoI) is the result of extensive, ongoing collaboration among teams of teachers at McGraw. A PoI is a framework for the development of inquiry-based units. At every grade level from K-5 students explore six units of inquiry that last from 4-6 weeks. During these units students inquire into and gain a deeper understanding of universal concepts and issues. Exploring these concepts/issues helps our students acquire both a local and global perspective on learning and its application in their lives. Students are involved in the development of unit learning goals and experiences which reflect their unique interests, needs, talents and backgrounds.
Each PoI unit is organized around the following elements:
Transdisciplinary Theme - The transdisciplinary theme contains ideas of global significance. This theme also provides a context for students to develop subject-specific knowledge, concepts and skills. A summary of each of the PYP transdisciplinary themes is provided below:
Who We Are - An inquiry into ourselves, our beliefs and values, rights and responsibilities, our friends, families and cultures.
Where We Are in Place and Time - An inquiry into our location in place and time, our personal histories, local and global history and geography, migrations and discoveries of ourselves and others, the contributions of individuals and civilizations.
How We Express Ourselves - An inquiry into the myriad ways that we discover and express ourselves, our ideas, our feelings, our cultures, and our beliefs and values.
How the World Works - An inquiry into natural and human-made phenomena and the world of science and technology and their impact on society and on the environment.
How We Organize Ourselves - An inquiry into human systems and communities and their impact on society and the environment.
Sharing the Planet - An inquiry into relationships between living things and how humans and other living things share resources and opportunities.
Central Idea - The central idea expresses a timeless, enduring understanding, related to the transdsiciplinary theme, that students develop throughout the course of the unit.
Lines of Inquiry - The lines of inquiry clarify the central idea, focus student inquiries, and help deepen understanding.
Key and Related Concepts - Concepts are embedded into the central idea and lines of inquiry. They help deepen student understanding and provide students the opportunity to make connections throughout their learning, from one subject area to another and between school and the outside world.
Approaches to Learning Skills - These life-long skills support the development of agency by encouraging students to set effective goals, self-regulate their actions, reflect on and monitor their progress, and to develop a growth mindset.
Since all Primary Years Program schools in the world structure their PoI units around these same elements, there are frequent opportunities for our students to engage in online collaboration with students in other PYP schools who are exploring a similar theme, central idea, line of inquiry, or concept.
Integration of State Standards
All significant planned learning related to the Colorado Science and Social Studies state standards is addressed through our PoI units. As fully as possible and where appropriate, student development and application of knowledge, skills and concepts in Language, Math, the Arts, PE and other subject areas takes place within our PoI. Our specialist teachers make natural connections to, and support student development of, the concepts and skills contained within units in our school Program of Inquiry. In addition, PYP units provide student opportunities to demonstrate the qualities of the IB learner profile which equip them for success as global citizens.
At least once per school year, the McGraw staff conducts a formal review and revision of our Program of Inquiry. This accounts for changes in state standards, updated curriculum materials, and adjustments in how we structure units to best meet student needs.