This month our group read Chapter 4- Inquiry Exemplars: How does a Lesson Look and Feel? We all picked one lesson that was close to our grade and content level and discussed what we noticed in the lessons. I had a lot more questions this time then were answered. First off, is inquiry really just posing a challenging question? Many of the math lessons just posed difficult questions and allowed students time to discuss and think about them. Perhaps I am already doing inquiry without realizing it?? We always have a question of the day, sometimes it takes us a few days to explore and talk about. We write, discuss, explore and question around these questions and maybe that is inquiry.
I used to think that moving towards inquiry was going to be very difficult and time consuming. Now I am thinking that I only need to change a few things and that we were already on the path towards inquiry-I just didn’t realize it. I still have many questions and need to continue working through some ideas and I think that the mini-inquiry approach in math is where I will be starting. One of the places I’m really feeling that I can work with to have more of an inquiry approach is our question of the day. We have been reviewing the thinking strategies much more explicitly as I want them to start connecting with the ones they are using. For our questions of the day they can solve them however they would like, my only requirement is that when we have finished we take a few minutes to reflect on our work through writing and I want them to start including the thinking strategies in this writing.
Another random thought/connection…This year I am working on an action research project focused around student discourse. I found a very section in the book we are reading called “Discourse (How are the environment and interactions structured?)”. It helps you take note of the questions that you and the students are asking and the interactions taking place in the classroom. I think that the questioning taking place in our classroom is around the proficient inquiry (level 3) and my goal is to move us towards the exemplary (level 4) type of questions. (pg. 100). I am excited to see connections that I can use in other areas this year and hope to continue finding more similarities.