Questions/ The Inquirer

Eugen Ionesco said: “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”

In my practice as an art teacher, I tried more and more to apply inquiry-based learning experiences. Before the week starts, I prepare my lesson and I research different inquiry bases learning pedagogy.

So I was delighted to discover from Eduro Learning, Kim Cofino, # coach better 5 Minute Friday. Read about how you can use questions in your practice, in her blog “The Anatomy of a Great Question”.

It is always helpful to hear and read the tips from Kim Cofino and her 5 minutes Friday.

Also two weeks ago, we had great timing to talk more in our schools about the importance of questions in our teaching practice.

Our PYP coordinator, Michelle, introduces us to a fantastic choice of books from our library and I already picked two exciting books.

“Essential Questions/ Opening Doors to Student Understanding” by McTighe and Wigging and “The Power of Inquiry” by Kath Murdoch.



Inquiry-based learning is very important in our school, at ISB(International School Busan).

I was happy to see that we have amazing educators who are applying every day those concepts.

For The Inquiry Cycle we follow those models, from Kath Murdoch and IB Philosophy:

After reading many materials and books, I made a directed way of inquiry-based teaching applying concepts from Project Zero, “Artful Thinking Palette”

Project Zero


What makes you say that?

Creative questions

In my art class I showed my students an artwork with the big word “POP”, and I asked them what do they imagine behind the story.

Then I invited them to recreate the story in their own way, letting the imagination free. The artworks were amazing.

Another model that many of our teachers in ISB use is the concept:

See, Think, Wonder?


Trying to combine also the use of the digital tools in their inquiry, I introduced Brain Pop activities.

Brain Pop was a new educational tool, that I discovered that can be used also to assign tasks. A few weeks ago,  I used it for the 1st Grade to make a quiz game with my young student. In one game I inquire about drawing and we made a test about vocabulary.


The journey still continues and we have ongoing conversations with our colleagues and students every day, what are the essential questions for our life and learning experience.

My COETAIL instructor, Joel Bevans draw my attention to a very important model of inquiry-based learning from Project Zero. A very valuable resource.

Understanding map circle.

Do you practice similar concepts?

What kind of inquiry-based methods do you use in your practice?


The Thrill of Collaboration

One of “The 6Cs”,  as Michael Fullan states in New Pedagogies for Deep learning, is Collaboration.

The 6 C'

At ISB(International School Busan) in South Korea, one of the joy of teaching is when I collaborate with other teachers or we have collaboration projects with students. Collaboration is one of my favourite parts as a teacher.

It is a very exciting process when different opinions come together, melt in a new shape and find a common voice as a group.

I am so lucky to have wonderful colleagues, knowledgeable and open-minded teachers who exchange ideas, plan so well and take action.

We usually meet once a week to have collaborative meetings and plan the possible collaborations for different units of inquiry in our curriculum.

We brainstorm different ideas and exchange different views of how we could possibly collaborate and participate together in the learning journey of our students.

For the Unit of Inquiry:

Transportation. Where We Are in Place and Time?

The EY2 were very creative and were drawing maps of the surroundings of their neighbourhood,maps of the playground, maps of our school, pirate maps and even painted big canvases with this theme.

They thought even further and they were thinking about how we travel into space. And we moved from the 2D expression to 3D perception, and we created all the planets from our solar system. Some were just different balls, painted or pressed shiny present packing paper and some we were creating in Paper Mache.

This was the highlight of our learning experience, because the children they purely love creating paper mache. They were singing “Squish, Squash” and were so happy to feel the texture of the glue and newspaper, dipping, squeezing, glueing and flattening  on some balloons that we had as a mold for the round shape.

Paper Mache- collaboration EY2. Space exploration with the 3D Solar System. Space travelling.




Here are some tips about how to structure collaboration in the classroom.

10 Tips to structure collaboration in the classroom.

From my own experience those are my practical tips.

Simona’s collaboration tips:

  1. Meet with your colleagues (once a week).
  2. Plan together, create a document.
  3. Create with children.
  4. Follow up with the teachers (share and ask for feedback).
  5. What is missing, how can we guide the students into some specific learning skills, concepts?
  6. Put it all together.
  7. Document the process and the final product.
  8. Reflect. Say: “Thank you:)”

From my own experience it was important to meet with the home room teacher first to understand better the key concepts and how to connect to the project. A dialog in our collaborative meetings was always inspiring and a good way to brainstorm different possibilities of collaboration.

A great example of a successful interdisciplinary collaboration was recently the “Troy Story” with Mrs. Laura-Claire(the 4th Grade Homeroom teacher) and Mrs. Amanda (the Music Teacher).


* G4 Troy Story

(UOI: How we express ourselves? ).

Collaboration Music, Art, Homeroom teacher G4. (Collaboration with Ms. Amanda and Laura-Claire.)

Another example of transdisciplinary collaboration- across the school was:

* World Celebration -Home And Family Language Week 2021

Collaboration Art(3G,  KG), Dale IT Dep interviewing students across ES(Dale Plotzki), PYP Coordinator(Michelle Roland) and Dea(G3)-creating a 3D Graphs with the language spoken in our school.

Our children created flags from their home country and wrote creatively “Hello” in their home and family language.


Another wonderful resource about collaboration:

How about your experience? Are you open to work collaboratively? How do you connect with your colleagues and your students? How do you decide about the working teams among students? How about a project? How can you lead together? Or are you taking charge? I am curious about other schools how often they collaborate and how they collaborate in their community or across the borders with other educators schools around the world? Please drop a line and share your experience. Thank you.