During a discussion in one of the many meetings in our August study days, Jenny mentioned that she had previously worked at a school where they each week gave a student an independent inquiry project to present to their class. My co-teacher and I were intrigued by the idea of an Inquirer of the Week and decided to incorporate this as a weekly feature in our PYP classroom.
Every Friday, two students are chosen as the Inquirers of the Week. They are asked to inquire into a topic of their own choosing as a home project and to present their inquiry the following Friday. Like the topic, the manner of presentation is also the students’ choice. We have seen PowerPoint presentations, posters, 2D and 3D art works and experiments this term. Their work is then displayed on the class website and outside the classroom for school mates and parents to see.
In the past, my classroom has featured a Student Star each week. That student would present something each day – photos, a story, a letter from their parents, an object and the next student star. It was an opportunity to practice presenting to the class and they were excited for their turn – but that excitement was nothing compared to being named the Inquirer of the Week.
Students look forward to being the Inquirer of the Week, asking when it will be their turn and talking about what they will inquire into when their turn comes. One girl asked to book her turn as she had decided what her project would be about. By a coincidence, her name was announced later that day and she jumped and shouted with glee, collected her letter and danced her way to put it in her backpack.
Inquirer of the Week has encouraged the development of the PYP learner profile attributes and transdisciplinary skills in our classroom. Students are excited to learn about a topic of interest and sharing their findings with others. Interest and pride in their work gives EAL learners and shy students the confidence to speak in front of their classmates. The task encourages independence and can be completed at the students’ own levels (depending on the amount of ‘support’ given by the students’ families). The students are extremely proud of their inquiries and are all looking forward to their second turn at Inquirer of the Week.
Inquirer of the Week has been a great addition to our classroom and is enjoyed by students, teachers and the wider school community!
If you would like to try out Inquirer of the Week in your classroom, my information letter is available as a freebie on my TPT store.