Planning Templates for Inquiry/Project Based Teaching

I get multiple emails every day asking for copies of my inquiry planning templates and daily schedules. After clearing all of my emails and trash for the year, I accidentally deleted permanently some emails from people wanting these that I had yet to answer. Since I don't know who they were, I am hoping they will find this page and get the planning pages that they needed and know that I did not ignore them! In this post, I have links to all of my template pdf's in my google drive for you to download. I do all I can to help others on their journey into inquiry based teaching so these are free for you to download. They are not perfect but they have worked for me at different times in my journey as a Reggio Inspired Teacher. You can take the ideas and change them to work for you in your situation and environment, but they will give you a base to work from as you make your own.
When planning for Inquiry/Project based learning, it takes a lot of time up front, but then planning is easy for the rest of the inquiry which can last up to a month. Planning an Inquiry always starts with observing the students. Once I notice a large group interest, I find out what they know and wonder. I take that information and start planning.

Right now, my favorite planning tool is a simple web map. This web map was created based on the one that the amazing Joanne Babalis created over at Check her out! She is brilliant! I liked the way she designed it and I can just add more lines where I need them. Sometimes I use this template, but sometimes I just make my own web map with a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. It is a great way to organize my thoughts.

You can find this template here:

Here is a photo of a handmade one filled out.

As I am brainstorming ideas I have the Language Arts and Math Common Core Standards and Science and Social Studies Standards nearby. I made this sheet with all of the language arts and math standards all on one page to make it easy for me. It is amazing how many standards are covered, used, and learned by using the skills authentically during inquiry! I highlight the ones that will be covered.

You can download this Common Core list here:

This next inquiry planner is a great way to organize your ideas into the different stages of Inquiry Based Learning and also has an area for project ideas and presentations if you want to go even deeper using Project Based Learning. It literally spells out the process of Inquiry/Project Based Learning. This template was very helpful as I was transitioning from thematic based teaching to Inquiry Based Teaching.

You can download the Inquiry planning template above here:

Here is one already filled out about our castle inquiry as an example. You can download it here:

After that, I use many different "weekly" planning papers. This one is more fluid and open ended. It can also last for more than one week. I like the way it makes me plan for the environment as a third teacher. Many of the ideas that end up on my map can happen during our play-based learning block. I find that I use this template more the second half of the year.

You can download it here:

Here is an example filled out with plans here:

At the beginning of the year, I usually use my schedule as my planner. Here are two different years.
You can download the one above here:

And this one here:

These also show what my schedules look like but I will get more into scheduling in another post. They are far from perfect! I am constantly trying to figure out ways to have less transitions in the schedules and I feel that it is always a work in progress! I will be making some major changes to it next year. I am always looking back and reflecting on the previous year and this past year showed me some changes that I need to make. I will share that when I figure it out at the beginning of the next school year. Also know that my schedules are more fluid than they look on paper. If students are really engaged in some part of the day, I may let them have more time and move another planned lesson to the next day.

When I use these, I still need to plan my environment as the third teacher so I made a map of my room using Pages on my iPad. This is great to have for substitute teachers so they know what is going on during the play block! I just fill in the invitations to learn, provocations, challenges, and experiences that will be set up in each area.

Hopefully providing these links will help you all be able to get these when you want them, rather than having to wait for me to answer your emails! I hope they help!

Darla Myers
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