Our Program of Inquiry (PoI) is the result of extensive, ongoing collaboration among and between 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 develop an understanding of universal concepts and issues that will extend far beyond the time they spend at McGraw. Exploring these concepts/issues helps our students acquire both a local and global perspective on learning and its application in their lives.
Each PoI unit is organized around the following elements:
1. Transdisciplinary Theme - The transdisciplinary theme contains ideas of global significance shared by people everywhere in the world. This theme also provides a context for students to develop subject-specific knowledge, concepts and skills.
2. Central Idea - The central idea expresses a timeless, enduring understanding, related to the transdsiciplinary theme, that students develop throughout the course of the unit.
3. Lines of Inquiry - The lines of inquiry clarify the central idea, focus student inquiries, and help deepen understanding.
4. Key and Related Concepts - These 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.
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.
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, PoI units engage students in developing critical skill areas (social skills, thinking skills, research skills, self-management skills, communication skills), positive attitudes, and the qualities of the IB learner profile that equip them for success as global citizens of the 21st century. Integration of information and communication technology within the units serves as one of the main vehicles for student inquiry.
At least once per school year, in the spring, the entire 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. Like our students, teachers at McGraw are constantly reflecting on and developing their understandings.