Saturday, April 11, 2015

Inquiry Evolving...Handing Over Responsibility to my Students

With all the interruptions of PARCC and the like, it has been challenging to keep this inquiry project as my first priority to my kids.

As we have delved (if that is a word) deeper into the world of Student Inquiry and research, many things have become clearer and clearer to me.  In a nutshell, the kids have read many short non fiction biographies of people famous in Colorado history.  At first they were not "thrilled" about what they would be reading, yet as they did, the positive vibe in the room became very apparent.  While the books were short, 30 pages max), they were easy to read for all students, and the questions and discussions were quite deep.  Kids were asking if they could read more of the books during their daily Independent Reading time...pretty impressive considering their reluctance at first.

After reading several titles, the kids began deciding who they wanted to know more about.  They decided whether they wanted to work independently, or within groups.  From there, I introduced several research sites, brought in as many books as I could find on each person, and then we were off.  

Here's What I thought:

  • Research would be easy and questions would be answered.
  • Students would decide how they would present their new learnings to their class (becoming the teacher).
  • The entire process would take 1.5-2 weeks to complete

Here's What I learned:

  • During the testing season it is very difficult to access information due to lack of computers.
  • Questions needed to be narrowed and teacher guidance is needed
  • Giving students too many choices on how to present their learning needs to be limited

I'll keep you posted on how this ends up.

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