Monday, May 4, 2015

April Inquiry Reflection


I feel like I've studied, experimented with, and discussed inquiry in so many different ways throughout the year. My 'idea' of inquiry has been challenged as I've continued to add to my schema. My biggest ah-ha this year has been realizing that inquiry can look really different depending on the classroom, content area, and grade level. My definition of inquiry has truly evolved throughout our year long study.

1. What are the ways that inquiry has had a positive impact on your teaching and / or student learning?

 Below are just some of the ways my instruction and student learning has been impacted. 

-Student engagement is very high during inquiry studies. 
-Students feel empowered by the work and have risen to the challenge. 
-Students who typically breeze through most work have been 'pushed' in a new way.
-Students are learning an authentic process that they will use forever. 
-I have learned what students are truly curious about. 
-I think about our content differently. Yes, we have to meet our standards, but there are many ways to do that.
-Inquiry provides the 'so what?' for so much of our learning. For example, researching a question after reading a text is authentic and powerful. Before we were just reading the texts, but not pushing our thinking. 

2. What are the drawbacks? What are the ways that inquiry still feels uncomfortable? What are you still unsure about?

There is so much I'm still unsure about regarding inquiry, but I know I'm surrounded by a community of learners that will continue to support me along the journey. 

-How can I keep mini inquiries 'mini'? One of my frustrations is how long inquiry can take. What can I do to limit the amount of time to ensure we cover everything we need.  
-How can I set up skills using an inquiry model?
-What feedback can I provide to students to help them live curious lives? (Thinking about process and product) 
-What lessons need to be taught and when? I know I need to use data I gather from conferring and looking at student work, but I think it's super challenging. 
-What are some methods for holding students accountable for learning from their peers? If everyone inquires about different topics, how can we learn from one another? 
-Is there such thing as too much inquiry? Is it ok to use the inquiry model in multiple subjects at once?

Clearly I still have numerous questions, but the positive impact outweighs my unknown or doubts. Incorporating the inquiry model is something I will continue to learn more about.

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