James Cowper asked the staff what they would like to do with some of the PD time the school is given. So, the staff filled out their ideas and who they might like to work with and my Principal did his best to make it happen. (How great is that? A principal that actually asks you what You want to learn about and then follows through with your ideas!) One of the things that I wrote down, was being able to facilitate a book talk and be able to have planning time to implement the ideas from the book. When James told me that I would be given 4 full days with coverage in the month of January for the book talk, I knew exactly what book to use.
I read Inquiry Circles last year, with a group of colleagues from Twitter and I loved the book. Also, Inquiry is a hot topic in our school board and even if you don't end up going through with Inquiry learning there are some fantastic ideas on how to teach comprehension and collaboration in the book.
Nine teachers at my school signed up for the book talk. They received the books before the Winter break and our first meeting was the first week back in January. I didn't want this to be a traditional book talk. After talking to the teachers that signed up, we agreed that this was a fantastic time to look at our curriculum and create some Curricular Inquiries that we could do in our classes. We had coverage for the teachers to be able to get from half a day to a full day out of the class to meet as a group each week in the month of January. We also had teachers that had never done inquiry in their classes before and some that have done many inquiries in the past year.
My teaching partner, Sarah Watson-Jones and I have had time to create a Social Studies Inquiry on Early Settlers and First Nation People and a Science Inquiry on Soil and Plants. We have created or found resources that have become very important in our set up and execution of our Inquiries that I wanted to share with you.
First, Kristin Ziemke is a friend, colleague and an awesome teacher that has answered my questions and helped me out with my own Inquiry questions. She also has co-written a fantastic resource Connecting Comprehension and Technology that is a must read if you are looking for ways to connect inquiry and comprehension with technology.
How To Find Resources For Your StudentsOne of the things that takes up a lot of time when doing Inquiry with younger students is finding resources that are at their reading level. I already had made a research folder on my students' iPads that has links, apps and search engines that are suitable for my grade 2/3 classroom.
Idea from Kristin Ziemke in her book Connecting Comprehension and Technology
A great way to curate articles from the web for your students is to use Readlists. Readlists is a group of web pages and or articles that you can send to pretty much any device. For education purposes, my teaching partner Sarah and I each created a readlist for our students. She curated a list of articles and websites about First Nation people and I created a readlist on Pioneers. Depending on what question our students come up with will depend on what readlist they will need. We then created a QR code for each list so all they have to do is scan the QR code and it will take them to a list of websites with information on either First Nation People or Pioneers.