Launching our Units of Inquiry - SOLO & Vocabulary Lists attached

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Launching our Units of Inquiry - SOLO & Vocabulary Lists attached
Serrin Smyth

Throughout our Learning to Learn Weeks, students focused on developing an understanding of health & safety, well-being, learning, community & interactions for our 2020-2021 School Year. 

Many grades decided to encapsulate their understanding of this unit by creating an analogy to reflect their learning. 

In Grade 1, students explored how learning looks different at school to learning on online. As a class they sorted the characteristics of learning into what they felt were positives and negatives. They discovered through this experiences that sometimes we have different opinions on what may be a positive or negative feature. The Grade 1 teachers introduced the expression to the students, "Is the glass half full or is the glass half empty?" This expression was used an analogy to express the idea that we have a choice over how we see our learning in 2020. Many elements of our learning look different currently, but we can choose to see this as either a positive or a negative. We have control over our mind frame and how we view the world!

In Grade 5, students came up with the analogy to view their understanding of the Learning to Learn Weeks as a 'house' surrounded by trees, bridges and lakes. The trees provide the wood (elements of our well being) which is what the house is built from. Without the wood (elements of well being) we would not have a solid house for our learning. The trees represent our growth and development, learning and well-being in the different areas. Having strong well-being means we can better practice the learner profile. The bridges were the connections between their knowledge of the concepts.

Students generated ways they could strengthen their well-being in different areas, such as;

Spiritual Well-being: helping others, doing things we enjoy and value, practicing our faith

Physical Well-being: keeping fit, eating healthy, practicing good hygiene

Mental & Emotional Well-being: positive self talk, journalling, calming techniques

Family & Social Well-being: spending quality time with family and friends, developing relationships

The lakes provided spaces for the students to connect their knowledge and write generalizations about the concepts they had inquired into, here are some examples: 

Well-being & Learning:

- "When we have good well-being we can focus and be determined to learn."

- "When your well-being if not strong it is harder to learn, for example, when you are tired you might become grumpy. When your well-being is strong it is easier to learn, for example, you might be happy so you are better at teamwork and you are more optimistic."

- "I think well-being is important for our learning because if you don't have enough sleep, or eat healthy, the house will not be balanced and your brain will not be in learning mode."

We now move into our first unit of inquiry. Link to the 2020-2021 PYP Programme of Inquiry.

Below you will find links to the updated SOLO Taxonomy and Vocabulary Lists for Grades 1 - 6. It is important to note that in alignment with the Enhanced PYP, students may develop the SOLO taxonomy by co-constructing this with their teachers. This is to provide students with agency - choice, voice and ownership throughout the process of their learning. Therefore the SOLO co-constructed by students may look slightly different this one. This learning progression and vocabulary list is developed so you can support your daughter's learning at home.

How can I use the SOLO at home?

On the SOLO you will see two sections, one with inquiry questions to guide students learning through the different stages as they move from a shallow understanding of the lines of inquiry to a more deeper understanding. The possible assessment criteria are learning outcomes - learning outcomes are statements that describe the knowledge or skills we aim for students to acquire as a result of their engagement with the unit of inquiry. Inquiry is the leading pedagogy within the Primary Years Programme. Students are at different developmental stages and therefore may reach different levels of proficiency with knowledge and skills. Additionally you will see "possible questions to discuss". These are teacher guided questions that help to direct the unit of inquiry. You may wish to use these questions to begin a conversation with your chid about their unit of inquiry at home. 

How can I use the Vocabulary Lists at home? (These are on Page 2 after the SOLO)

The Vocabulary Lists are a guide for the possible vocabulary that may be explored throughout the unit of inquiry. It is encouraged that you explain and explore the words within this list with your child in their mother tongue. Perhaps you may talk about the concept of some of the words in English and also in your home language in order to deepen their understanding of them. There are blank spaces on the Word Vocabulary Lists where you and your child might generate more words that connect to the unit of inquiry. Please feel free to add them to the list, either in English or your mother tongue language. Ask your daughter to share these new words that have come up in conversations at home with their teacher, to build the connection between discussions at home and school. 


Grade 1's have recently begun their unit of inquiry: Who We Are - Relationships. They are exploring the central idea We develop a sense of belonging through building relationships and exploring our identity. This involves investigating and exploring the characteristics of good relationships, ways to build good relationships within our home, school and community and ways relationships contribute to our identity.

WWA - Relationships: SOLO Taxonomy & Vocabulary List


Grade 2's have recently begun their unit of inquiry: Who We Are - Learning Community. They are exploring the central idea Our approach to learning and interactions with others can help create a positive learning community. This involves investigating and exploring being active and engaged learners, ways collaboration and interaction can support our well-being and
learning and how we can contribute to a positive learning community.

WWA - Learning Community: SOLO Taxonomy & Vocabulary List


Grade 3 have recently begun their unit of inquiry Who We Are - Well-being. They are exploring the central idea Balance in our lives can promote health and well-being. This involves investigating and exploring the different forms of health (personal, physical, mental, social & spiritual), the impact of our choices on well-being and ways to maintain health & well-being.

WWA - Well-being: SOLO Taxonomy & Vocabulary List


Grade 4 have recently begun their unit of inquiry How We Express Ourselves - Symbolism. They are exploring the central idea People use symbolism in art to express complex and meaningful themes. This involves investigating and exploring the variety of themes reflected through art, different perspectives and interpretations of art and creating symbolic art to express yourself.

HWEO - Symbolism: SOLO Taxonomy & Vocabulary List


Grade 5 have recently begun their unit of inquiry Who We Are - Identity. They are exploring the central idea Our identity and thinking can be influenced and expressed through media. This involves investigating and exploring their identities, how messages are conveyed through media and how they might express their identity through media. 

WWA - Identity: SOLO Taxonomy & Vocabulary List

If you have any experience or expertise with the content of these units of inquiry, we would love to hear from you! We are extremely excited to have our community content with the unit of inquiry through sharing their knowledge, experiences or passions in these areas with us. 

Please contact our PYP Coordinator ( or your daughter's homeroom teacher.


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