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  • 1. Pam Wenger – EDES 542 – Assignment 4 – Due: Aug 11, 2010 Inquiry Unit Plan Report Grade 5 Social Studies: Contemporary Canadian People The unit of study I’ve created an inquiry plan for is grade 5 Social Studies: Contemporary Canadian People. I am teaching Social Studies in a grade 4/5 class this year and I feel it would be a great opportunity for inquiry. Figure 1.0 shows the objectives listed in the Saskatchewan Curriculum for this unit, which would be the focus of study prior to this inquiry project. Figure 1.0 Saskatchewan Curriculum Objectives Concepts: • Identity, multiculturalism , point of view, Canadian heroes Knowledge Objectives Students will know: - that multiculturalism is part of Canada's identity. - that our heroes reflect Canada's diversity. Skills/Abilities Objectives Students will: - conduct a survey and tabulate the results. - identify various points of view. - access, organize and share information about various Canadians including heroes. Attitudes/Values Objectives Students will: - appreciate and value the country's diversity. Citizen Action Objectives Students may: - conduct a survey. - nominate, assess and induct heroes into a local Hall of Fame. SOURCE: Government of Saskatchewan (2010) 1
  • 2. Describe the project I have created a letter to the parents describing the project and suggesting ways that they could be supportive from home. “We want parents to be our allies and to support their children’s inquiries at home…” (Parker, 2007, p.93-94). The following letter in Figure 1.1 has been adapted from Parker’s letter in Planning for Inquiry (2007). Figure 1.1 – Letter to Families regarding Inquiry Project Dear families, Our Saskatchewan curriculum supports inquiry-based learning. We teach the required indicators and outcomes at each grade level and encourage the students to ask questions along the way. We help students make connections to what they know, we assist in exploring their curiosity, and guide them in finding what they need to know. It is our goal to make their learning personal, interactive and interesting, in hopes that they will become independent learners and life-long inquirers. We are currently working on a social studies unit about Canada with a focus on contemporary Canadian heroes. Within this unit, the students have been learning about multiculturalism, identity, heroes, and points of view. As a culminating project, the students are going to be working on an inquiry project. It is my duty to support your child as an inquirer through the following steps. 1) Each student will have an opportunity to select a Canadian hero that they feel has had an impact on them, that is interesting to them, or that has sparked some curiosity within them. Their selections will not be teacher-driven, rather open to their personal choice. They will be guided through this entire process with myself (the teacher-librarian), their classroom teacher and other teaching staff in the school. 2) Students will come up with a list of questions that they would have for their selected Canadian. This could include questions about family, early life, career, history, health, passions, interests, etc. 3) Once their questions have been created, they will begin to use various resources to help discover the answers. They may use internet, books, magazines, video interviews, etc. 4) Exploring the information and analyzing the resources may be a difficult task for students at this level. The teachers involved will work with the students to be critical thinkers and use information best suited to answer their questions. We will also guide them through the 2
  • 3. process of organizing the information that is found. 5) After all of the information is processed, students will have an opportunity to create a presentation for their findings. They will have several options for presentation, including: poster, written essay, written interview, voice recorded interview, digital video recording or any other format they prefer. Once the product is finished, they will present their “creation” to an audience. The students will be assessed during the entire process using a variety of assessment tools created by the teachers and some created by the teachers and students collaboratively. Teachers will be monitoring their progress and making suggestions along the way. This project is based on student interest, but will be somewhat structured for appropriate learning to take place. So what can parents do to support their child in this process? Parents play a vital role in allowing their children to be curious. → Allow them to come to you with questions → Ask your child questions → Learn alongside your child → Be a listener → Help access resources such as library books, computers, time, etc. We look forward to working together on this inquiry-based project. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call. Thanks for your continued support! Mrs. P Wenger & (classroom teacher) SOURCE: Based on Parker’s (2007) letter to parents I have also created a handout for students with information about the Inquiry Project for Contemporary Canadian Heroes. I plan to discuss this handout with them and allow them to ask questions about the project itself. It is important to outline the project with the students so they can see how each step comes together to form a “bigger picture” of the learning process. 3
  • 4. Figure 1.2 – Information for Students regarding Inquiry Project Contemporary Canadian Heroes Inquiry Project Have you ever had a question that you’ve struggled to answer on your own? This project will help teach you how to create questions and use the world’s information to help you answer them! Here’s what we’re going to do: 1) You get to pick a Canadian Hero that you want to learn more about. 2) You will come up with a list of questions you’d like to ask that hero. 3) Then you have a chance to learn about how to find information, seek out important facts and analyze resources. 4) Once you have information, you will learn to organize it and create a presentation to teach others about your Canadian Hero. 5) The final step entails presenting your project! You will have several opportunities to create assessment tools with the teachers and students! You will be introduced to new resources such as books, internet tools, interactive programs and much more! You will have experiences working in the large class setting, small groups, partners and independently. Your first question to answer is: Inquiry Plan Document 4
  • 5. In my plan, I have included as much information as I can gather at this point in my planning. Depending on the inquiry experience with the students I plan to use this with, changes will need to be made in terms of time. I have based my projections of time on approximately 60 minutes for each class period and each week as 3 class periods. I expect that the classroom teacher will provide students time without my presence (perhaps for extra work periods, catching up, homework, etc), but I plan to be a part of the classroom as much as possible. Some of the skills and strategies have been adapted from Understanding and assessing inquiry-based learning (2004) as well as Focus on inquiry: A teacher’s guide to implementing inquiry-based learning (2004). Planning Time Skills and strategies Supporting others Assessments (A) for students and Resources (R) 5
  • 6. a) building Few - learn background - use unit as pre-learning (A) background weeks to information in pairs, - provide resources (both - personal journal knowledge a month small groups, whole print and other to gain - participation class, and background) rubric for independently - look through resources discussions - being introduced to and discuss information created by teacher new information and - ask child questions: s and students resources Who interests you? Why? - learn to discuss new What do you already topics know? What do you (R) - begin to think about want to know? - Kidspiration interests - Horizon school b) establishing 2 class - learn about new - introduce parents, library catalogue topic of interest periods internet sites students and teachers to - Regina Public and - begin to think about lists of famous Canadians Library catalogue homewo topics - brainstorm possible - online rubric rk - learn how to build a topics for research and checklist concept map on paper - use concept maps, generators or online webs, online tools - ELA lead c) developing a 1 class - learn how to create - model good questions teacher good question period appropriate questions - discuss how you come - parents - assess sample up with questions questions in partners - model examples - learn how to use - brainstorm and discuss KWL chart examples of good - learn how to modify questions questions - use KWL chart - how to change and alter questions d) identifying 1 week - look through online - show options through information catalogs, pathfinders, computer and sources web tools in small school/public library groups catalogues - learn about call - create pathfinders numbers and search - share a variety of terms available resources - introduce call numbers and search terms e) identifying 1 class - learn the difference - discuss the purpose of audience and period between audiences difference presentations sharing format - view options for for different audiences options presentations in - determine audience partners (small group, class, school, parents) - share possible presentation formats f) establishing 2 class - compare a variety of - determine expectations assessment periods assessment tools in of teacher, parent and criteria for both partners student through process product and - work together to 6 - share possible
  • 7. Retrieving a) developing an 2 class - determine search - create online pathfinder (A) information periods terms based on for resources - personal journal retrieval plan question - guide students through - participation - learn about best critical thinking rubric for using places to find strategies resources created information by teachers - learn how to make - on task rubric plan to begin the created by inquiry process teachers and students - KWL b) locating and 1 week - learn how to locate - discuss possible collecting and resources using call resources (books, homewo numbers journals, articles, (R) rk - visit local public websites, databases, - Horizon school library videos, etc) library catalogue - provide appropriate - Regina Public print and media resources Library catalogue - review using call - Regina Public numbers library and c) selecting 2 class - select appropriate - model this process with technicians relevant periods material sample question - online rubric information and and checklist homewo generators rk - ELA lead d) evaluating 2 class - learn how to review - discuss research teacher resources periods information strategies - parents and - how to make jot notes homewo rk e) reviewing and 1 class - refer back to KWL - review how to narrow revising the plan period - make necessary search using search terms changes to inquiry - ask students: Are you still focused on same question? Any changes needed? Are you finding what you need? - refer back to KWL f) reflecting on 1 class - reflect on useful - discuss retrieval the process period resources strategies - share resources with - discuss useful resources others in small group 7
  • 8. Processing a) establishing a 1 class - refer back to KWL - refer back to KWL (A) focus for inquiry period - reflect/confirm - personal journal inquiry question - jot notes rubric created by b) choosing 2 class - select information to - review note taking teachers pertinent periods answer questions strategies - KWL information and - record information - share strategies for - graphic homewo - learn how to make reading charts, graphs, organizers created rk jot notes tables, photos, and by teachers looking for key words - on task c) recording 1 week - learn how to read for - provide graphic checklists created information and important facts organizers for recording by teachers and homewo information students rk - discuss the graphic organizers d) making 1 class - make connections to - allow time for students (R) connections and period background to share their findings - Horizon school inferences knowledge - refer back to KWL library catalogue - refer back to KWL - question the students: - Regina Public what does this remind Library catalogue you of? How does this - online rubric connect to your previous and checklist learning? New learning? generators e) locating more 1 class - use various resources - allow time for more - ELA lead information periods for information using research teacher and call numbers and - parents homewo refine search terms rk f) reviewing and 1 class - reflect on inquiry - question the students: revising the plan period question and new what is working? What for inquiry information hasn’t worked? What’s independently, in missing? What is found? small groups and as whole class g) reflecting on 1 class - refer back to inquiry - question the students: the process period question Based on findings, where do you go from here? What is the plan for creating stage? Creating 8
  • 9. a) organizing Few - learn how to sort out - provide time, space, (A) information class new information in a tools - on task rubric periods way that makes sense - refer back to graphic created by and - add and omit organizers teachers and homewo information - model organization students rk accordingly based on sample inquiry - personal journal independently and - continue to ask them - Participation with peers questions rubric created by teachers and students b) creating a 1 week - plan out final - show examples of - KWL product (creating and product previous student work - listening new knowledge) homewo - reflect on how you - introduce them to web checklist created rk want to present and 2.0 tools by teachers and how to best share new - brainstorm ideas based students knowledge on topics - reinforce how to make presentation personal (R) - Garageband c) thinking about 1 class - practice presentation - confirm audience - iMovie the audience period in small groups - discuss: What would - PowerPoint audience appreciate? - Animoto How will they best - ToonDo understand? - online rubric - discuss creativity, and checklist appeal generators d) revising and 1 class - use revise/edit - discuss editing, revising - Horizon school editing (remixing period strategies library catalogue and reworking) and - share work with - model revise/edit - ELA lead homewo others and offer strategies teacher rk suggestions in small - allow time to share - parents groups work with others and - write and discuss offer suggestions changes made - create multiple drafts e) reviewing and 1 class - make changes based - ask student questions: revising the plan period on peer and teacher Will this product provide for inquiry suggestions an appropriate learning - reflect on creativity opportunity for audience? and personality Is it creative and personal? f) reflecting on 1 class - reflect back on - ask student questions: the process period inquiry question and Have you begun to KWL answer original inquiry? - review plan to Are you knowledgeable present information enough to present to others? 9
  • 10. Sharing a) communicating 1 class - practice presentation - model presentation (A) with the audience periods with partners or behaviours: voice, eye - presentation and parents contact, volume, etc rubric created by homewo - present new learning teachers and rk to audience students b) presenting new 2 class - share knowledge in a - provide opportunities to - audience understandings periods variety of ways share new learning checklists created - make presentation by teachers and fun & educational students c) demonstrating Few - participate as an - allow audience to ask - peer assessment appropriate class audience member questions created by audience periods - reflect on teachers and behavior engagement students - discuss new learning - self assessment with whole class created by teachers and students (R) - online rubric and checklist generators - parents Evaluating 10
  • 11. a) evaluating the 1 class - refer to assessment - discuss assignment (A) process period criteria tools thus far - participation - complete self rubric for assessment and peer reflecting on assessments process created by b) evaluating the 1 class - reflect on KWL - ask the students teachers inquiry process period - refer to personal questions: What did you - personal journal and inquiry plan journal and discuss like? What did you strengths and learn? What surprised (R) weaknesses with you? What was easy? - online rubric whole class Difficult? and checklist - reflect on personal generators interactions with peers c) reviewing and I class - reflect on what - begin discussions revising personal period implications this regarding future learning inquiry model process has for future - ask the students learning questions: what did you - go back and examine discover about your own focus development style of learning? What - discuss how inquiry will you change for next changed and time? developed over time d) transferring 1 class - make connections to - discuss the learning to new period old and new opportunities for future situations/ knowledge learning beyond school - ask the students questions: how will this process affect new learning? Why is it important to have different opportunities for learning? How does your new knowledge affect your ability to inquire? 11
  • 12. Supporting the Students and Teacher The inquiry project will be a constant process of supporting the teacher and students. It will be my personal responsibility to guide the students and teachers through a new learning experience. Although my time is limited with the classroom, I will have constant connection with the teacher via email, phone and face-to-face conversation. At the end of each class period, I will discuss the next step in the process with the students. After each class period, I will discuss the upcoming class period plan with the teacher so that they are prepared for what is to come. I have created the beginnings of a Pathfinder that has been adapted from one created by the Children’s Services Staff at the Strathcona County Library for the students to begin their searches. Figure 1.3 – Pathfinder for Contemporary Canadian Heroes Inquiry Project Famous Canadian Pathfinder Used with permission from Strathcona County Library, August 2010 Call Numbers from Juvenile Literature J 92 – J 926.1 Biographies on people, including famous Canadians J 970-J 971 Canada’s history, including significant people Subject Headings - Canada – biography - Canada – history - Canadians - Famous Canadians - Great Canadians - Heroes – Canada Websites 12
  • 13. http://particle.physics.ucdavis.edu/Canadians/ http://www.canadians.ca/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadians http://www.probability.ca/jeff/canadians.html http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b261/famous_canadians/index.html http://www.swlauriersb.qc.ca/english/edservices/pedresources/webquest/famous_ canadians/index.html Reference Materials Canadian Encyclopedia Online  Up-to-the-minute information about our country. Over 10,000 articles with lots of links and feature articles. World Book Online  Offers in-depth information on a variety of subjects. A good resource especially for pictures, biographical, & historical information. Books J 921 KYI Kyi, T. (2001). Canadian girls who rocked the world. Vancouver, BC: Walrus Books. Kyi, T. (2006). Canadian boys who rocked the world. Vancouver, BC: Walrus Books. J 921 MAC McLeod, E. (2006). Kids book of great Canadian women. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press. J 970.00497 KAL Kalman, B. (2004). Famous native North Americans. St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree Publishing. J 971.0099 ARA Arato, R. (2008). Courage and compassion: 10 Canadians who made a difference. Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press. J 971.0099 MAC McLeod, E. (2004). The best book of great Canadians. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press. SOURCE: Adapted from www.sclibrary.ab.ca/kids/pathfinders/famouscanadians.htm Personal Response 13
  • 14. This unit plan is a starting point for me in a process that was completely unfamiliar up until just a few weeks ago. It is the first inquiry-based unit plan that I have created, and because of this, my planning chart is quite generic. I have spent roughly 40 hours creating this unit plan in hopes that it is transferable to any curricular topic that my students, teachers and I are working on. According to Alvarado and Herr (2003), “one of the greatest pitfalls of using object-based lessons is that the first lesson you plan takes a great deal of time” (p. 21). Because time is limited for everyone and collaboration is something difficult to achieve at this point, creating my generic plan may encourage some teachers to become interested since the plan is well under-way. My head is full of new wonderings, new understandings, ideas, plans and questions. As with anything new, there is doubt and uncertainty. How will this assignment look in a classroom setting? Am I planned out well enough? Will the students be interested in their topics? Will I have a teacher that will be onboard? Can parents be supportive of this process even though it is different from how they learned? Do I have enough sense of assessment tools to be able to observe new learning with students? I suppose my biggest fear at this point is that there may not be teachers that are prepared for this type of collaboration. People in our school division are bombarded with new programs, assessments, reflections, classroom visits by Board Office staff, committees, etc. Why would they want to add more planning to their plate? It is important for us to create a sense of community with our teachers, reinforcing the fact that the teachers are guides through the process and that the community of adults involved (teacher, teacher-librarian, other teaching staff) support one another. Chu, Chow, Tse and Kuhlthau (2008) believe that “a collaborative approach involving three 14
  • 15. kinds of teachers and the school librarian in equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to conduct inquiry-based learning projects works effectively” (p. 26). I can see how this type of teaching can seem overwhelming and a little intimidating upon first glance, but the long term and short term benefits should outweigh the concerns. Parents may also seem doubtful at first since this learning is a far cry from how they learned when they were in school. It may take time to prepare the parents and ensure that you have their support. They may fear that they will end up completing the projects for the student, when in fact “parents should step in only when their children are having serious difficulties” (Chu et al., 2008, p. 17). Perhaps they may be concerned that teacher’s accountability for covering curricular topics may be decreasing, however every inquiry topic is curriculum-based and directly related to the units of study. We need teachers and parents to know that our goal through inquiry-based learning is “enhancing their knowledge and skills through close collaboration of the teaching staff and parental support” (Chu et al., 2008, p. 16). We are a team working towards a common goal: developing the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century which include independent learning and thinking, technological competency, social skills, information literacy skills, inquiry and self-confidence. I have gained significant confidence using technology through this course and have come to discover that for me, this new learning takes time. I’m looking forward to seeing growth with students in terms of information literacy skills while diving into this inquiry unit plan. Chu et al. (2008) found that “access to technology makes schools seem more real-world, and students are able to push the boundaries of their traditional school curriculum” (p. 12). Through inquiry, we are now allowing students to make connections to the real world and “the continuity between the curriculum within the school and the child’s experiences outside the school promotes sustained meaningful learning” 15
  • 16. (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p. 26). Along with the powerful learning that takes place in that third space, the use of unique and varied technologies will help teachers and teacher-librarians meet the diverse needs of the students in our schools. After completing many readings on assessment, I had an “Aha!” moment that has really resonated with me. My biggest learning from this process is that assessing learning is completely different from assessing knowledge. When I reflect on my teaching throughout the years, I find that I’ve been assessing their knowledge at the end of a topic, not their learning along the way. Is it necessary that they memorize all of Saskatchewan’s treaty locations, dates and conditions once the information has been taught to them? Or is it more important to assess their thinking process, making connections to present day, asking questions and reflecting through learning about the Saskatchewan treaties? Harada and Yoshina (2005) believe “that assessment is conducted as an ongoing activity that provides crucial formative information about what the student is learning and how that learning is taking place” (p. 1). I need to remember that just as inquiry is a process, assessment is a process and if we discuss the stages of inquiry with students, we must discuss the aspects of assessment with students. In order for the students to make progress, they should be aware of how the assessments can benefit their learning. I was aware of the variety of assessment tools appropriate for assessing student learning, however, Harada and Yoshina (2005) provided me with more knowledge around how to construct these tools and how they are used to assess information literacy. Often times, teachers will use an assessment tool but it may not fit the criteria necessary for assessing the learning process. We have to become more critical thinkers in terms of what we want students to learn, how we are going to observe and record that learning and how “teachers and library media specialists examine the results to inform their own 16
  • 17. instruction” (Harada & Yoshina, 2005, p. 19). It’s not a matter of obtaining a “grade” and then moving onto a different focus, but rather analyzing the assessment and giving meaningful feedback to teachers, students and parents. Through this planning process, I’ve come to realize that it isn’t what we are planning to teach that is important, it’s how we plan to teach it. Regardless of the topic, we are teaching students all of the necessary 21st century skills that will be carried along with them for years to come. I will need to reinforce the fact that “the result of inquiry is not only deep learning about the inquiry question, but also the development of skills for independent learning” (Stripling, 2004, p. 1). They may not be able to recall every fact about their famous Canadian hero 5 years down the line, but perhaps we can inspire them to think critically in real life situations and put their knowledge of the process into practice in future learning opportunities. At first, inquiry seemed like something that was beyond my grasp. With all of my new-found knowledge and reflecting on my past teaching experiences, inquiry seems a little more within reach. With a little time, experimenting, educating and guiding, my fears are sure to lessen and any doubts that I once had will change to confidence. I am proud of the learning that I have done, and I’m excited to present this plan to teachers in the near future. References Alberta Learning. (2004). Focus on inquiry: A teacher’s guide to implementing inquiry-based learning. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.education.alberta.ca/media/313361/focusoninquiry.pdf Alvarado, A. E., & Herr., P. R. (2003). Inquiry-based learning using everyday objects. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc. Branch, J. L. (2004). Understanding and assessing inquiry based learning. In S. La Marca 17
  • 18. & M. Manning (Eds.), Reality bytes: Information literacy for independent learning (pp. 99-113). Carlton, Victoria, Australia: School Library Association of Victoria. Children’s Services Staff. (2009) Famous Canadians Pathfinder. Strathcona County Library: Sherwood Park, AB. Retrieved from http://www.sclibrary.ab.ca/kids/pathfinders/famouscanadians.htm Chu., S., Chow, K., Tse, S., & Kuhlthau, C. (2008) Grade 4 students’s development of research skills through inquiry-based learning projects. School Libraries Worldwide, 14(1), 10-37. DOI: 33013499 Government of Saskatchewan. (2010). Saskatchewan curriculum: Education the future within us. Retrieved from https://bbtest.edonline.sk.ca/webapps/moe-curriculum- BBLEARN/index.jsp?lang=en Harada, V. H., & Yoshina, J. M. (2005). Assessing learning: Librarians and teachers as partners. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Parker, D. (2007). Planning for inquiry: It’s not an oxymoron. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Stripling, B. (2004). Using inquiry to explode myths about learning and libraries. CSLA Journal, 28(1), 15-17. DOI: 20182741 18