Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rookie Researcher

Since others in my group have already stated our goals so eloquently, I will "borrow" their thoughts too...

Our inquiry group is the Research Rats. We are focusing our work around the first two stages of inquiry: Immerse and Investigate. Our overarching question is, “What are the skills necessary for students to conduct successful research during inquiry?” To help us answer this question, we are going to familiarize ourselves with Symbaloo,  a space for teachers and students to add relevant sources. 

I did not bring an artifact to our Friday meeting as I was just delving into my unit and not quite sure what to bring.  As we have just completed a unit around opinion/persuasive writing launching into a unit of inquiry was natural.  During our unit of opinion/persuasive writing the kids had so many questions about why things were the way they were.  After immersing them into several relevant topics through videos, articles, headlines, etc. if was clearly evident these 4th graders had very strong opinions about so many things, and were able to back up their thinking.  Thus we moved into the world of Non-fiction.  I began by again immersing the students into non fiction by having them "explore" various texts, watch videos, etc.  Then we created an anchor chart around their "Noticings" and  "Wonderings" about non-fiction.  The photos below document both what they noticed about non-fiction texts and what they wondered:

I found it interesting that so many kids immediately wondered about source validity, internet, and where authors find their information.  What sources do they use.  Inquiry at its best I would say...It made me realize that my next step is obviously that of exploring how we verify sources.

I don't want to spend a lot of time on these questions (bad I know), because we need to keep moving, but I think perhaps if we spend some time and do a mini inquiry around these questions, we can use them as a springboard into our actual research we will be doing around Colorado History.

I think my next step is to immerse them again into a mini unit of non fiction around a topic of high interest to all.  I am delving into the world of the Underground Railroad this next week.  I will begin with immersing them into this world with a variety of books, videos, articles, etc again and see where it leads us.  I think I have been doing inquiry for years through project based learning and now I am just looking at it more deeply.  We'll see what happens.

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