Our last book club meeting, ended with grand conversations and excitement about continuing the journey. It was decided that next school year, we would revisit our professional learning text. We all felt that, we are only scratching the tip of the iceberg on what inquiry-based learning, could look like in our classrooms. Stay tuned!

 
 
Our book club members got together for a great discussion around classrooms and routines. It's interesting to note, how teachers approach ideas differently. After reading chapter 8, one teacher created a "Curiosity Notebook," while another started a "Wonder Board." We talked about small group work and it's importance. It needs to be noted that some teachers give up quickly on small group because they feel that students working can be loud and disruptive. Our own experience, proves that by spending time with developing relationships, routines and expectations... small group work can be very successful.
 
 
So...we did not meet on February 29th because of a snow/ice day. Please note, I hope we can meet in March and I'm recommending that we read chapter 9. Our next meeting will cover both chapter 8 & chapter 9. I will contact you as soon as possible with a date!

Guiding questions for chapter 9:

1. What possibilities do you see for your own school or board in the “small-group model adapted for curricular inquiry?”
2. Select one of the small-group inquiry stories to discuss in depth.
3. Compare and contrast“content”and“process”learning.
4. Students’ academic work improves when teachers and students set expectations. What are the benefits of the chart—“Develop Group Ground Rules”—like the one Mary developed?
5. What are some of the potential forms students might use to take their learning “public?”

INTO THE CLASSROOM
Identify one chunk of curriculum that is coming up in your teaching and make plans to teach it inquiry-circle style. Use the lessons in Chapter 7 as well as the classroom accounts in this chapter to support your planning and work with kids. What works? What is difficult? What are the kids saying and doing that’s different from everyday work? If possible, visit each others’ classrooms to observe and chat. Report back to the study group, bringing stories, samples of kids’ work, or classroom videos to share.
(Available on Heinemen-http://www.heinemann.com/products/E01230.aspx)

Please note, I will come in and take pictures or videos of your lesson. Let me know how I can help! Hope to see you in March.

 
 
We will be meeting on February 29th. Here are the guiding questions for Chapter 8:
1. How and why do authentic questions create engagement and foster motivation in kids?
2. What advantages do you see in question-driven teaching? How does it reflect and translate to the "real-world?"
3. Talk about some of the potential advantages of mini-inquiries. How would you use them in your classroom?
Use the lessons in Chapter 7 as well as the classroom accounts to support your planning and working with kids.

Comprehension & Collaboration, Inquiry Circles in Action - Stephanie Harvey, Harvey Daniels - Study
 
 
This chapter reminds us of the importance of teacher modeling. It also explains the instructional strategy known as the Gradual Release of Responsibility. The authors use a sport example that makes it easy for us to see the benefits of this strategy for student learning. This chapter contains 27 key lessons which, we have been working through. Anne worked on the lesson called "Ask Questions and Wonder About Information" (page 121). A video clip has been posted in the previous blog post about this lesson.
A concern raised was finding TIME to allow our students to dig deeper! Jessica is a half-time teacher and with her schedule is finding it challenging to set-up inquiry learning. Anne talked about how she was able to integrate the inquiry into her writing workshop. We all agreed that inquiry teaching is worth the effort and we will continue to work on key lessons from the book. Next meeting is February 29th @ 2:20.
 
 
Great meeting today! Our learning and sharing is growing. We shared slides & videos of lessons. Inquiry and learning from teachers and students is quite evident.
 
 
In Chapter Seven we are to look over the twenty-seven key lessons included in this chapter. Please select one of the lessons that fit into your teaching this month, and try it our with your kids. On February 2nd, come prepared to report back to the study group, bringing stories, sample of kids' work, or classroom videos to share. If you need help with collecting information or getting started, please let me (or Pete) know. Looking forward to hearing about your experience.
 
 
Thanks Danielle for the snacks and for facilitating our talk. We had a great discussion but once again ran out of time.
Highlights from the Meeting:
- Everyone enjoyed reading Chapter 5 - Preparing Your Active Learning Classroom- The ten key elements had practical ideas that could be implemented right away.
- Anne liked the quote from David Perkins (p. 75) 'Far from thinking coming after knowledge, knowledge comes on the coattails of thinking.' 'Learning floats on a sea of talk' is another quote that reminds us of what our classroom should sound like and feel like...interaction is central to inquiry-based learning.
- We discussed the importance of having short non-fiction text available in the classroom but it was noted that many of our classrooms are in desperate need of this resource - (talked about asking parents to donate magazines)
- Danielle started an inquiry-learning project on hibernation with her grade ones, she used a few codes from p. 93 to start her exploration
-The computers were available for us to investigate the websites listed in chapter six. The idea was for each of us to look at a few websites to explore then report to the group. We're hoping that you will share the sites you investigated from this chapter here and that you will share your favourite sites that you visit frequently, too

 
 
Discussion around chapter 5 - Preparing Your Active Learning Classroom & chapter 6 Surfing and Searching: Internet Research in School. In chapter 6 there is a plethora of websites to discover. Danielle and I were thinking we could have computers at our meeting so that we can each take a few sites to explore.

For our next meeting we will work on chapter 7. We will select one of the 27 lessons that fits into our teaching for January, and try it out with our kids.

Be prepared to report back to the group, bringing stories, samples of kids' work or classroom videos to share.

 
 
  1. Discuss how reading online may present different challenges for students. Think of ways to address these in your teaching.
  2. Check out some of the fake web sites that are mentioned in this chapter or Google "fake web sites" and work with another teacher in the study group to evaluate these and think about how your kids could distinguish these from real sites.
  3. New learning tools make inquiry even more exciting. Discuss how you might incorporate them into your teaching.