We’re Going Inquiry!

The events of last Friday brought the Kool and the Gang classic Celebration to mind as I began this post because this year’s hard work and collaborative efforts are bearing fruit.

On Friday, our school’s journey towards inquiry became more concrete. During our professional development days this year we engaged in a number of activities that helped develop our knowledge of inquiry. We explored the work of respected inquiry educators such as Kath Murdoch, Kathy Short, Neil Stephenson and the theory/practice of the IBO. Our teachers also gathered experiential knowledge by visiting schools that proudly demonstrated how inquiry teaching happens in their schools.

West Bay Elementary
Caulfield Elementary
Cypress Park Elementary
Southridge School
Capilano Elementary
Calgary Science School

On a professional development day in March, we came together as educators and shared our observations, opinions and ideas about how inquiry could be successfully implemented at Ridgeview. The importance of a common language throughout the grades, an easily understood model of the inquiry cycle, a scaffolded learning experience that allows the students to confidently delve deeper into their learning and a framework for teachers to structure their units effectively, were all identified as foundational pillars to engaging and deep inquiry.

At our last professional development day on Friday, we unveiled those pillars and began the next step in our journey. We introduced and discussed the Student Profiles, the Planning Framework and the Inquiry Model. After this introduction our teachers chose to collaboratively plan the beginnings of their inquiry units for the fall term.There were many questions as the Big Idea and Lines of Inquiry were somewhat challenging, but it was rewarding to observe the teachers debating their ideas as they created their units. The learning process was alive and well.

We still remain at the beginning of our journey into inquiry teaching but the foundation is laid for students to undertake their learning through the inquiry lens. I have shared our documents here because though we are moving forward, these continue to be living documents that will be tweaked between now and September and beyond as we gain more insight into inquiry. With that, I welcome your comments.


The Ridgeview Model of Inquiry

Unit Planning Framework

Student Profiles
These Profiles were created through discussion sessions with teachers, administrators and a group of students from each of the intermediate grades. They are the essential aspects that we believe contribute to well-rounded students. In developing our language, the students added the idea of an additional profile, Performer. This would represent students who demonstrated strong communication skills through the arts or otherwise. The Performer profile will be created at a later date.


  1. I am so excited with the transformation of West Van’s journey with inquiry. It is a pedagogically sound method of teaching our students and highly motivating for learners. It looks like Ridgeview has made progress with essential agreements among staff, students, parents and the district without having to transform itself into an IB school. Well done!- Mary Laudien (former Principal of West Bay Elementary and Cypress Park Primary)

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