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. After recently feeling the roller coaster ride of inquiry, I’m hoping this work will streamline the process for my novice yet eager researchers.
Last Friday I brought a video that one of my groups made for our first round of inquiry. I was so pleased with ALL of my students' inquiry projects and looked forward to the second round, thinking that I would have the same results. Not quite...I thought that they did such a wonderful job that I would just let them fly on their own with little guidance. WRONG!!! The key is "Guided Inquiry." I needed a therapy session with Michelle and she helped immensely. Her AhHa question was, "what did you do differently?" I came up with a list of things. I started my third round on Monday and already the scaffolding that I did has made a HUGE difference. I'm having them make a KWL chart. Of course, what they know about their question and what they want to know, which are all the questions that they have that will drive their inquiry. The scaffolding, which gives way to some structure, is wonderful. I look forward to their projects, with much more guidance.
Lynn Knowles and I are working on this third round together. She is teaching the Middle Ages with the 7th grade and the Civil War with the 8th. Their inquiry will be on their topic they are studying. At first we thought we'd give them all the same question, "Who has the power, and why?" The majority of them just weren't grooving on that question. So I told them that they could come up with their own, that pertains to their history topic, with Lynn and my approval. They have come up with GREAT questions and are working in earnest, of course with guidance.
I have really come a long way this year with having the students in rows last year and the majority of the work was done alone to having the desks in groups and inquiry is the driving force. I feel very comfortable with allowing the students to become responsible and take ownership for their learning
within the inquiry groups.
I am still trying to figure out this blog thing, so when I become more comfortable with it, I will upload pictures and even projects that the students have done. Stay tuned...