Approaches to Learning, Communication, PYP

Needs-Based Planning

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I recently saw this graphic on Twitter. Posted by Bethany Hill , it was retweeted 48 times and liked 71 times, so obviously it was resonating with an audience.

I have been thinking a lot about communication and how we communicate. I was also thinking about how we communicate through things like our unit planners and the ideas we choose to focus on in our classroom.

Over lunch today, a colleague and I were discussing the idea of planning units based on observed needs of the students at our school. It just seemed to make sense to us. What if we were to observe our kids and identify things that stand out to us (both positive and negative) and build units of inquiry with those things embedded in them? What if we were to consciously plan to help kids address issues that continually arise within and across grade levels?

Sometimes it can seem like the issues that arise have to be put aside because of time or other things that need ‘covering’ but what if the issues were the thing? How might we plan differently if we started with the needs of our kids in mind?

In reviewing the Program of Inquiry, I would suggest we answer these sorts of questions:

  1. Are there needs not being met?
  2. What social skills do our kids lack?
  3. Do our kids have multiple ways to communicate?

What other questions should we be asking? Lets move beyond “vertical and horizontal articulation” and ensure the things we are choosing to focus on in our classrooms are reflective of the students in front of us.

2 thoughts on “Needs-Based Planning”

  1. I really wish there was a “LOVE” button for this idea! There are always needs that not being met because we have to stick with what we’ve communicated to parents, especially if it is in print. Why does the vertical and horizontal alignment have to be the end-all-be-all? Great thought provoking questions!

  2. Hi Sonya
    Great post. This year I’ve started with using Philosophy 4 Children as a framework for a guided Inquiry at the start of the unit and using the data to help co-write units with the children based on needs. The result is a unit which is a lot more personalised and meaningful for the learners but at the same time helping meet those approaches to learning and attitudes we talk about in planning meetings.


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