Thursday, March 26, 2015


It is hard to believe it is the end of March already!!!  Where has the time gone.......hoping I have enough time in the year for the students to get everything accomplished!!!  Our class is wrapping up a mini-inquiry study in writing.  We did this inquiry whole group with individual outcomes.  (I also did this inquiry knowing what the kids were already wondering about and capitalizing on it).  The students had been talking a lot about writing stories and showing lots of interest in this during independent choice time.  About a month ago Carla and I started writing off with the question, "What questions do you still have about writing?" The students had a graphic organizer to feel out with their wonderings.  We then shared them whole group.  As a group we heard the same question over and over again which was, "How do I write a book?"  So we started an inquiry project on writing a story.  We researched our favorite stories.  I did a lot of modeling.  I also read this GREAT book called "Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble" which walks readers through how a Bad Kitty story is written.  When I read this aloud the students made lots of connections to their writing.  They were also able to determine what was important from the book and transfer it to their writing.  And, of course, this story was adding to their schema!

 We went through the whole writing process, which was the first time these students have done this in my class.............and I am assuming in their lives!!  We brainstormed, planned using graphic organizers, wrote the beginning, middle, end, proof-read and published.  They did a terrific job.  Today we celebrated by inviting our parents in for a publishing party.

I am not sure my thinking fits into used to think/now think but I have been struggling with inquiry and can it be whole group or should it only be individual/small group.  Last year I did some inquiry whole group and decided that it shouldn't be that way because it wasn't hitting everyone's interest.  Then I went to small group inquiry but me still dictating the topics.  At the start of this year I did individual questions which was wonderful but TONS of HARD work.............but after this writing "inquiry" which I still use in quotation marks because not sure it is true inquiry.........the student were really engaged.  It was a whole group question and whole group learning but student then had to transfer the knowledge and work on their individual story.   After spring break Carla and I will be diving into architecture.  We will be doing a huge inquiry project revolving around this topic.  We hope to spend about 2 weeks adding to schema.  Then students will begin to answer questions they have on architecture.  We don't have a solid plan yet because we have learned over time that planning for inquiry is REALLY hard because when we do these in depth projects we go where the kids take us and planning can't happen until we start learning with the students.  On the front end we will decide what we need to teach them to build their schema.  We are hoping to create a padlet to help the students be able to access the information easier since all the students are not able to fluently read.


  1. Of course you were able to find a Bad Kitty book that so smoothly correlated with what you are learning in class. I'm sure with that as both a mentor text and a model for writing the kids were incredibly engaged. Awesome!

  2. HI Jackie,
    I loved reading your post as it always makes me think of ways to engage the even younger kids! I'm wondering how I might take what you have learned and use it to engage the ECE children in the writing process. Would you be willing to share the graphic organizers you used so I can consider ways to scale them to be developmentally appropriate for my kids then maybe as our ECE kids come to you, they have some schema on which for you to build.

    FYI, our curriculum also has a study on buildings in which our children are exploring 5 essential questions...
    1. What do the buildings in our neighborhood and other places look like?
    2. Who builds buildings and what tools do they use?
    3. What are buildings made of and what makes them strong?
    4. What is special about our building?
    5. What happens inside buildings?
    This study was one of the favorites from last year and engaged so many of my students. Hopefully as a result, they will come to your class with some schema! We just started it last week again. It would probably be worth sharing with you more about what we do in case you want to build on what we have already done. Let me know.