Wenger p4 inquiry unit


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Wenger p4 inquiry unit

  1. 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) Describe the project 1
  2. 2. 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 process of organizing the information that is found. 5) After all of the information is processed, students will have 2
  3. 3. 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. 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. 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 for students Supporting others Assessments (A) and Resources (R) a) building background knowledge Few weeks to a month - learn background information in pairs, small groups, whole class, and independently - being introduced to new information and resources - learn to discuss new topics - begin to think about interests - use unit as pre-learning - provide resources (both print and other to gain background) - look through resources and discuss information - ask child questions: Who interests you? Why? What do you already know? What do you want to know? (A) - personal journal - participation rubric for discussions created by teacher s and students (R) - Kidspiration - Horizon school library catalogue - Regina Public Library catalogue - online rubric and checklist generators - ELA lead teacher - parents b) establishing topic of interest 2 class periods and homewo rk - learn about new internet sites - begin to think about topics - learn how to build a concept map on paper or online - introduce parents, students and teachers to lists of famous Canadians - brainstorm possible topics for research - use concept maps, webs, online tools c) developing a good question 1 class period - learn how to create appropriate questions - assess sample questions in partners - model good questions - discuss how you come up with questions - model examples 5
  6. 6. - learn how to use KWL chart - learn how to modify questions - brainstorm and discuss examples of good questions - use KWL chart - how to change and alter questions d) identifying information sources 1 week - look through online catalogs, pathfinders, web tools in small groups - learn about call numbers and search terms - show options through computer and school/public library catalogues - create pathfinders - share a variety of available resources - introduce call numbers and search terms e) identifying audience and sharing format options 1 class period - learn the difference between audiences - view options for presentations in partners - discuss the purpose of difference presentations for different audiences - determine audience (small group, class, school, parents) - share possible presentation formats f) establishing assessment criteria for both product and process 2 class periods - compare a variety of assessment tools in partners - work together to create tools in large group - determine expectations of teacher, parent and student through process - share possible assessment tools g) reflecting on the process 2 class periods - begin to develop question - reflect on how it will be assessed - develop a plan - develop a plan - discuss criteria - discuss possible issues and solutions Retrieving a) developing an information retrieval plan 2 class periods - determine search terms based on question - learn about best places to find information - learn how to make plan to begin the inquiry process - create online pathfinder for resources - guide students through critical thinking strategies (A) - personal journal - participation rubric for using resources created by teachers - on task rubric created by teachers and students - KWL b) locating and 1 week - learn how to locate - discuss possible 6
  7. 7. collecting and homewo rk resources using call numbers - visit local public library resources (books, journals, articles, websites, databases, videos, etc) - provide appropriate print and media resources - review using call numbers (R) - Horizon school library catalogue - Regina Public Library catalogue - Regina Public library and technicians - online rubric and checklist generators - ELA lead teacher - parents c) selecting relevant information 2 class periods and homewo rk - select appropriate material - model this process with sample question d) evaluating resources 2 class periods and homewo rk - learn how to review information - discuss research strategies - how to make jot notes e) reviewing and revising the plan 1 class period - refer back to KWL - make necessary changes to inquiry - review how to narrow search using search terms - 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 the process 1 class period - reflect on useful resources - share resources with others in small group - discuss retrieval strategies - discuss useful resources Processing a) establishing a focus for inquiry 1 class period - refer back to KWL - reflect/confirm inquiry question - refer back to KWL (A) - personal journal - jot notes rubric created by teachers - KWL - graphic organizers created by teachers - on task checklists created by teachers and students b) choosing pertinent information 2 class periods and homewo rk - select information to answer questions - record information - learn how to make jot notes - review note taking strategies - share strategies for reading charts, graphs, tables, photos, and looking for key words c) recording information 1 week and homewo rk - learn how to read for important facts - provide graphic organizers for recording information - discuss the graphic 7
  8. 8. organizers (R) - Horizon school library catalogue - Regina Public Library catalogue - online rubric and checklist generators - ELA lead teacher - parents d) making connections and inferences 1 class period - make connections to background knowledge - refer back to KWL - allow time for students to share their findings - refer back to KWL - question the students: what does this remind you of? How does this connect to your previous learning? New learning? e) locating more information 1 class periods and homewo rk - use various resources for information using call numbers and refine search terms - allow time for more research f) reviewing and revising the plan for inquiry 1 class period - reflect on inquiry question and new information independently, in small groups and as whole class - question the students: what is working? What hasn’t worked? What’s missing? What is found? g) reflecting on the process 1 class period - refer back to inquiry question - question the students: Based on findings, where do you go from here? What is the plan for creating stage? Creating a) organizing information Few class periods and homewo rk - learn how to sort out new information in a way that makes sense - add and omit information accordingly independently and with peers - provide time, space, tools - refer back to graphic organizers - model organization based on sample inquiry - continue to ask them questions (A) - on task rubric created by teachers and students - personal journal - Participation rubric created by teachers and students - KWL - listening checklist created by teachers and students (R) - Garageband - iMovie b) creating a product (creating new knowledge) 1 week and homewo rk - plan out final product - reflect on how you want to present and how to best share new knowledge - show examples of previous student work - introduce them to web 2.0 tools - brainstorm ideas based on topics - reinforce how to make presentation personal c) thinking about 1 class - practice presentation - confirm audience 8
  9. 9. the audience period in small groups - discuss: What would audience appreciate? How will they best understand? - discuss creativity, appeal - PowerPoint - Animoto - ToonDo - online rubric and checklist generators - Horizon school library catalogue - ELA lead teacher - parents d) revising and editing (remixing and reworking) 1 class period and homewo rk - use revise/edit strategies - share work with others and offer suggestions in small groups - write and discuss changes made - create multiple drafts - discuss editing, revising - model revise/edit strategies - allow time to share work with others and offer suggestions e) reviewing and revising the plan for inquiry 1 class period - make changes based on peer and teacher suggestions - reflect on creativity and personality - ask student questions: Will this product provide an appropriate learning opportunity for audience? Is it creative and personal? f) reflecting on the process 1 class period - reflect back on inquiry question and KWL - review plan to present information - ask student questions: Have you begun to answer original inquiry? Are you knowledgeable enough to present to others? Sharing a) communicating with the audience 1 class periods and homewo rk - practice presentation with partners or parents - present new learning to audience - model presentation behaviours: voice, eye contact, volume, etc (A) - presentation rubric created by teachers and students - audience checklists created by teachers and students - peer assessment created by teachers and students - self assessment created by teachers and students (R) - online rubric b) presenting new understandings 2 class periods - share knowledge in a variety of ways - make presentation fun & educational - provide opportunities to share new learning c) demonstrating appropriate audience behavior Few class periods - participate as an audience member - reflect on engagement - discuss new learning with whole class - allow audience to ask questions 9
  10. 10. and checklist generators - parents Evaluating a) evaluating the process 1 class period - refer to assessment criteria - complete self assessment and peer assessments - discuss assignment tools thus far (A) - participation rubric for reflecting on process created by teachers - personal journal (R) - online rubric and checklist generators b) evaluating the inquiry process and inquiry plan 1 class period - reflect on KWL - refer to personal journal and discuss strengths and weaknesses with whole class - reflect on personal interactions with peers - ask the students questions: What did you like? What did you learn? What surprised you? What was easy? Difficult? c) reviewing and revising personal inquiry model I class period - reflect on what implications this process has for future learning - go back and examine focus development - discuss how inquiry changed and developed over time - begin discussions regarding future learning - ask the students questions: what did you discover about your own style of learning? What will you change for next time? d) transferring learning to new situations/ beyond school 1 class period - make connections to old and new knowledge - discuss the opportunities for future learning - 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? 10
  11. 11. 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 11
  12. 12. 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 12
  13. 13. 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 13
  14. 14. 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” 14
  15. 15. (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 15
  16. 16. 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 16
  17. 17. & 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 17