• The typical classroom is one of habit and not of inquiry. We as teachers can identify what a great learning environment looks like, but often have trouble creating one in our own classes. What does a classroom of inquiry look like? Sound like? Feel like? What are the stumbling blocks to achieving this classroom?
Engaged students Students who are engaged: Students who are strategically compliant: • Learn at high levels and have a profound grasp of • Learn at high levels but have a superficial grasp of what they learn what they learn • Retain what they learn • Do not retain what they learn • Can transfer what they learn to new contexts • Usually cannot transfer what they learn from one context to another Phil Schlechty (2009) Both of these groups will demonstrate good learning by way of report card marks. The difference comes in how well the two students can use what was learned over the long term and in new life experiences. The engaged learners are the ones who have truly learned lessons and not just material for a test.
Through Our Eyes Yeah school. I see my friends, But the teacher’s talking never ends. I’m a dancer, an actor, a comedian, But the amount I sit, I could be a mannequin. If I have a good book, I can be still, But the ones you choose don’t fit the bill. All the facts you’re spouting drive me under, How about all the questions that I wonder? You expect me to give you my full attention,But what about the things in my life I don’t mention? Please let me choose the way I find, To create, expand and develop my mind. Give me adequate time to share, In smaller groups or even a pair. From where I am, I need to start the ride, With you beside me as my guide. Instead of staring at me with a glower, Make me feel like I have the power. Yeah school! By Michael Nielsen
InquiryInquiry orientation, as opposed to information-transmission (through lectures, worksheets, and tests that ask students to repeat information), is hands-on and active and requires the learner to construct his or her own understanding in the ways that experts do. Whereas information- transmission focuses solely on the what (or the content to be learned), inquiry focuses on the what but, more importantly, on the why (the purpose of learning both personally and immediately as well as in the future and in the disciplines), the who (including both the learner’s needs and the expert’s standards), the how (developing the tools for learning and understanding) as well as the when and where ( the situations in which this learning will be applicable and important). (Wilhelm, 2009p.13)
Wilhelm - Criteria of successful InquiryStart with a guided exploration of a topic as a class (must have some background knowledge)Connect topic to what you already know, to personal reality (self) and the worldProceed to small group InquiryAsk compelling questions -question topic should be contented with many perspectives- questions should be open ended: answer is unknown (as opposed to guess what the teacheror experts already know)Set goals and purposes what will you achieve, make or do as a result of answering thequestions?Work in groups; have a diversity of viewpoints; complementary perspectives and strengthsComfortable atmosphere for exploration and risk takingOpen-mindedness/Exploration - try stuff outHypothesize; test hypothesisLook for definable patternsMake and continually correct/ update predictions throughout the processInstructor as collaborative guide; assists at points of needArrive at a conclusion/ Take a standBe able to document and justify your conclusionRepresent what you have learned so that it can be shared and used – actualize knowledgeTake appropriate social actions
Why do things float?Everyone formed a hypothesis before we started, since we could not bescientists until we had made our educated guess at what we thoughtwould happen, but it was emphasized that the biggest breakthroughs inscience actually happen when scientists hypothesises are wrong and theyfigure out why.
Thinking Like ScientistsOne of our classmates was really thinking like a scientist as she was making her observations from different perspectives to see if there were any other insights from other angles. Variable such as white egg versus brown and fingers instead of fork were introduced, which resulted in students starting to experiment with their own variables (example: different plasticine shapes). We also introduced the idea of possible errors > egg from salt water placed in fresh water may bring salt with it.
Theories / Comparing with Other Scientists we collected theThe students shared their groups conclusions and ideas up on the board. After, we had all the ideas the students then looked at some water resources as well as the internet to see what we could add and learn. Checking with others in the scientific community and starting to use the language of the experts.
Student Collective Conclusions Plasticine Ball versus Plasticine Cup/Boat Student conclusion • cup pushes water out of way so boat goes up (later found scientific word displacement)Egg in Salt Water and Egg in Fresh Water salt water pushes egg up (later used scientific word buoyancy) salt water heavier than water (related to density later) water has nothing in it, salt water has salt pushing it
Paper Clip on Water layer on top holds the paper clip up (later found surface tension in a resource) when on edge sank, when laid gently flat with fork floated (distribution of weight) oil on hand made it sink (hydrophobic) like water bug (noted that scientist often think about where else in the world they have seen similar things to help them figure out how things work)
Oil vs Water vs Syrup oil lighter than water, syrup is heavier than water (later found -density = mass / volume) things that are lighter float When trust in students, they collectively give more than you expect. Giving students ownership of their learning has powerful results (engagement and enduring learning)
ApplicationAll cooked up challenges students in groups of 8 designed a structure that would float, hold a ping pong ball out of the water, and withstand added weight (marbles) Extend their understanding to their next experiment which proved hot water is lighter than cold water, which then led to a student connecting this to air, then connecting to why Aboriginal people slept on platforms in their longhouses, and eventually helped us understand the air cycle in our weather unit
Opportunities and Possibilities The students had the opportunity to: Explore their ideas with the support of a small group Conduct experiments using equipment for hands on experiences Read resources and think about what matched and what possibly changed their theories Represent their thinking using models and diagrams Use the language of experts in the field of science Reflect on the possible applications in the real world and work in a small team on their group work skills in solving a challenge Extend their understanding to their next experiment which proved hot water is lighter than cold water, which then led to a student connecting this to air, then connecting to why Aboriginal people slept on platforms in their longhouses, and eventually helped us understand the air cycle in our weather unit
• Competence, relatedness and autonomy (Deci & Ryan, 2000).• Competence, autonomy, relevance of instruction and perception of challenge (Shernoff et al, 2003).• Competence, autonomy, relatedness and value (Blumenfeld et. al, 2006).• Relevance, real-world feedback, responsibility and respect (Allen & Allen, 2010).
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in afeeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activityAccording to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-mindedimmersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service ofperforming and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive,energized, and aligned with the task at hand. - Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiOne cannot force oneself to enter flow. It just happens. A flow state can be entered while performingany activity, although it is most likely to occur when one is wholeheartedly performing a task oractivity for intrinsic purposesFlow theory postulates three conditions that have to be met to achieve a flow state: 1.One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals. This adds direction and structure tothe task. 2.The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate anychanging demands and allows him or her to adjust his or her performance to maintain the flow state.3.One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and his or herown perceived skills. One must have confidence that he or she is capable to do the task at hand.
• Literature circles• Writers’ Workshop• Science experiments• Any subject where students are engaged in the activity
• Engaged reading is a merger of motivation and thoughtfulness. Engaged readers seek to understand; they enjoy learning and they believe in their reading abilities. They are mastery oriented, intrinsically motivated, and have self-efficacy.• Classroom contexts can promote engaged reading. Teachers create contexts for engagement when they provide prominent knowledge goals, real-world connections to reading, meaningful choices about what, when, and how to read, and interesting texts that are familiar, vivid, important, and relevant. Teachers can further engagement by teaching reading strategies. A coherent classroom fuses these qualities.
• Writer’s Workshop allows students to become active thinkers in the writing process.• It also allows students to write about the topics that are important to them. This ownership instills an excitement and desire to write each day.• When students want to write, the quality of writing improves and so does their engagement.
• Both Writers’ Workshop and Literature Circles are group based activities.• They both ask participants to take a measure of risk taking to share thoughts and ideas, this requires trust and a sense of community to be effective.• The skills to build an effective community of learners must be taught. An approach such as tribes works well for many learners and teachers. The essential elements of Tribes are : • Mutual respect • Attentive listening • Right to pass • Appreciation for others
Experiencing the emotion of historical eventsby engaging in dramatic role play. Government Ban Of Potlatch
“We get to express how we feel about them (the politicians) and that banning potlatches is unfair. I like this because I can feel it and have better knowledge. It helped me have a better understanding of potlatches and the potlatch ban because I can feel the emotion”
Do we need to teach group skills? Just as with comprehension strategies, most of our students will not cobble together a complete set of small-group collaboration skills unless we teach them explicitly. If we can’t teach our students the social strategies needed for this kind of learning, disappointment awaits. If the kids don’t understand how to think together, to read, write, listen, and view as a team, they will drift off topic. Time and again, we noticed that when kids have authentic opportunities to read, think, and talk together, their curiosity explodes and their questions come fast and furious. When we teach kids to think and work together, learning is more seamless. When kids learn and practice strategies to comprehend what they read, hear, and see and when they learn the social skills necessary to work in small groups, their inquiries soar. Daniels and Harvey (2009)
It quickly became apparent that if we were going to be doing alot of small group inquiries, we needed to work on the skillsneeded to respectfully share and build on each others ideas.
What Changes Would Help Our Learning Together? Showing we care with our eyes and body Setting some explicit rules in place Sitting in groups of three in a triangle of heterogeneous strength to still allow support for each other, but also allowing for everyone to be seen and heard
Sharing CirclesAllowed for learning about eachother and seeing us as a group.
Activities to Allow Us to See the Power ofMultiple Perspectives and Multiple Viewpoints Gallery Walk of what stood out for Placemat Write of opinions on whether us at the Young Peoples Concert. video games could cause people to care (17 different topics) less about others. Placemat activity
CON PRO Video games have a negative impact on schoolwork. A review of seven years Gamers, particularly those who play of research offered this observation: action video games, are more adept at the skills necessary for multitasking. "Every investigator who has correlated They are able to juggle competing the amount of time that a child or demands and stay focused despite adolescent or young adult spends play- distractions. Certain spatial skills devel- ing video games with that students oped in video games are known to be academic performance has found a neg- important to surgeons. ative correlation" (Sax, 2007, p. 63). Video game players are encouraged to There is a well-established link between take calculated risks and learn to cope playing violent video games and with failure. In a study of 2500 business experiencing an increase in aggressive professionals, those who grew up play- thoughts and behaviours. ing games were compared with those Video games limit imagination and dull who had not. Those who had played creativity. Gamers are provided with a games were more serious about fully formed imaginative world; they achievement, more flexible and persist- dont need to do anything but play. ent in problem solving, and more willing Video games are passive and a waste of to take only those risks that made sense time. Playing them prevents young (Beck & Wade, 2004). people from spending time exploring the Gamers can more readily see multiple natural world. The result is obesity perspectives on an issue because video and disconnection from the natural games require them to view a virtual environment. world through multiple identities. Video games make people anti-social Video games engage adolescents in and isolated. Even with multi-player authentic problem-solving. games, the gaming experience doesnt Multi-player games help players develop support extended conversation and teamwork and communication skills. negotiation. Gamers are motivated and engaged. Video games reinforce negative or As a result, they are willing to practise limited perspectives on the world, such and they demonstrate persistence in as placing too much importance on learning. accumulating possessions or winning at any cost.
Five Secrets Prompts It is important for parents to always tell their children the truth about problems that they will encounter in their everyday lives. It is important for parents to protect their children from difficult truths. Therefore, it is sometimes best for parents to tell only that part of the truth their children can handle, to change the truth, or even to tell “white lies.” Children are vulnerable and need to feel safe. Therefore, parents should protect their children from disturbing truths. Children need to face reality. Therefore they should know all about world problems, family, concerns, and community issues as soon as they are able to understand them. Children should not have secrets kept from them because they might be blindsided, hurt, or unprepared if they are surprised. Should you always tell the truth? Explain.
Power of Collective IdeasGroup Challenges were met Our understanding of whywith team work were we things float was generatedbegan to focus on ways to from experience, studentinclude everyone. ideas, and student research.
Supporting the Learning of Our Peers Wall of Wonder allowed for Sharing written work classmates to help each other find the allowed for praise, answers to their wonders. questions, and suggestions.
What else have you done to helpstudents work together?
Principles of Inquiry Circles Choice of topics based on student curiosity, questions, interests Digging deeply into complex, authentic topics that matter to kids Flexible grouping, featuring small research teams, groups, task forces Heterogeneous, non-leveled groups with careful differentiation Student responsibility and peer leadership Use of proficient-reader/thinker/researcher strategies Drawing upon multiple, multigenre, and multimedia sources Going beyond fact-finding to synthesizing ideas and building and acquiring knowledge Actively using knowledge in our schools and communities: sharing, publication, products, and taking action Harvey Daniels and Stephanie Harvey, 2009, Inquiry Circles in Action
In well structured groups, we leverage each other’s thinking. Welearn more not just because we all bring different pieces of thepuzzle, but because, through talk, we actually make new and bettermeaning together.When they (kids) stop and talk about the information, theirconversations are more thoughtful. When they realize that activereaders think about the text, jot or draw their thinking, and talk toone another to come to a more complete understanding, kids gaininsight and build knowledge.Harvey Daniels and Stephanie Harvey, 2009, Inquiry Circles inAction
Chapter 1 "The Stranger"1) What does Finn Learson do when he is asked if he is Norwegian? (On)2) How does Finn explain the fact that he is the only survivor from his ship? (On)3) What bothered Robbie about Finn Learson? (Between)4) What do you do when a stranger comes to the door? How do you feel? (Conection)Chapter 2 "Fiddle Music"1) Did Finn Learson have to answer many questions? Why? (Between)2) Describe fully a Shetland bed. (On)3) What strange things happened after everyone went to bed? (On)4) Do things seem different at night? (Beyond)Chapter 3 "Gold"1) How does the author tell us that there is something wrong with Finns story? (Between)2) How do you think Finn got the gold coin? (Beyond)3) Why do you think Finn wants to stay? (Between)Chapter 4 "...and Dancing and Gold"1) What talent did Finn display that gained him the admiration of the island people? (On)2) What other characters have you read about that are mysterious? (connection - other stories)3) Are new people welcomed the same around the world? (Beyond) (connection - world)4) How do you feel about new students? What if they cannot speak English? (connection - self)
Questioning Circle for A Stranger Came Ashore By Mollie Hunter World and Me How do I feel about new Me Text and Me students in our classroom? Do my parents always listen toWhat do I do when a stranger comes to What if they do not speak me? Who else could I turn to? my door? Would I ever English? break a promise? Text What is Robbie prepared World to do in order to save his What groups are in the world sister? to help and protect us? Does Canada get involved in other country’s affairs? Why? Text and World How do the people of Black Ness welcome Finn into their community?Dense Question Are strangers treated the sameAre you able to solve all of your everywhere in the world? Why?problems? Are you able to help othersin their time of need? Are there waysfor you to help others in yourcommunity or even around the world?
Literature Circles J connected with parents fighting over when to have a child with her family’s decision to have a second child. As a group we talked about what concerns people might have about having a child (too young, too old, too busy with job, not having a job that could support family, not willing to give time for self away and focus on a baby’s needs) and then talked about what happened in the book when the couple couldn’t agree, but still had the child. (The Pinballs) We had multiple questions about friendship from(The Girls, On My Honor, Because of Anya)Can you be friends with someone who likes different things?Should you ever have to fear a friend?Does everyone feel peer pressure? When?Do friends ask you to do things you don’t want to do?
E showed great skill as a reader when she questioned that the kids considered Leslie to be a teacher’s pet, but she disagreed as said that this did not match the character that the author was developing and pointed out reasons why she did not think Leslie was trying to be a teacher’s pet. This then led to talk about why people would want to be a teacher’s pet? Why not? Did they like it when a teacher shared their work with the class and why would a teacher want to share it? (Bridge to Terabithia) R Wanted to know more about what a Foster Home was, which led to talk about why would someone have to go there? and Would it be better? A connection to the orphanage reference in Hugo Cabret led to further talk about why some people put kids up for adoption. (Pinballs)
Grade seven responses to lit circles and engagingactivitiesJessica says: “It took a while for us to get used to saying something new during discussions. When we started, everyone said that same things or simple things. After Mr. Hutton sat down with us and pretended to be one of us, we got what we were supposed to do. It took a while for our group, but Samantha helped us because she kept asking us the questions like Mr. Hutton would about what things mean and how we could go deeper with our thinking. The discussions got way better after that.” Bryan says: “I liked the way that we knew the book better after the discussions. When people who were further on in the book talked about things that were going to happen, but they did not tell us the secrets, it made me want to read even faster. It was the same when we heard about the other books that our friends were reading. Everyone picked a book they thought they would like and I think that made us like it even more and read it faster.”Yannick said: “I am really enjoying this activity. It lets me move around and to work in different spaces. I also like that it is us who decides what it will look like. Our game is different than everyone else’s. It’s great that everyone in our group is working, that doesn’t happen too often.”
Varieties of Inquiry CASE LEARNING - Involves inquiry if used when the case study is problem based CHALLENGE-BASED LEARNING – Inquiry into problems of global importance EXPEDITIONARY LEARNING – Inquiry that includes exploration of the natural world GROUP INVESTIGATIONS – small groups, with each group conducting its own investigation of an aspect of the question or problem LITERATURE CIRCLES – Inquiry through small, peer-led reading discussion groups using any text PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING – Inquiry based on a problem that is presented so students recognize they need to learn new knowledge in order to solve the problem
Through My Eyes I started the journey to try to give you some choice, But then expanded the opportunities to include your voice. By approaching our topics with an inquiry question, We actively experimented, then sought an application. On the way we developed our ways to be kind, As we built our understanding using a collective mind. Including your wonders in the topic we were pursuing, We looked for the answers in a way more enduring. A surprise was the power of dramatic representation, To understand peoples’ emotions and help our explanation. Bringing your connections and wonders to the Lit. Circle table, Has lead to your reading skill becoming more able. With less control, guiding from the side is my new placement,And the flow that you’re showing indicates interest and engagement. With choice and group work, we supported student diversity, And I am finding a teaching style that really works for me. By Michael Nielsen