Inquiry Project – looking to next year

Summer, that rejuvenating expanse of time that captures ideas, piles them in the dust bin and allows hints of thoughts to resurface in November. By sketching out some ideas here, I hope to create a platform to starting next year. Moving forwards!

  • Kick-off the year with this project. Students come in fresh from summer and have plenty of ideas. (Do they lose ideas as the year progresses or does the glitter of a new year tarnish with time?) Tap into their questions. Use the questions to build discussions and a strong classroom community.
  • Round-table brainstorms – other groups provide input and help one group problem solve
  • Spend time building questions and helping students develop good questions. Solid questions at the beginning help students get into observations with a better feel of what they are doing.
  • More days for the inquiry project but less time at each session. This year, I gave a class period (block schedule) a month to the project. Feedback highly encouraged more data collection days. Give it to them. I might have to give a half block twice a month but send them outside more often.
  • Scheduled meeting times – I need to spend more time with groups. I’ve leaned towards chats in the field while students are collecting data. The conversations give me a good understanding of student progress but I don’t think it pushed student thinking far enough. (No kidding – they were focused on data collection and I was a distraction). Towards the end this year, I scheduled 10 minute sit-downs. The questions poured out and directed conversations about ideas and observations took place.
  • Quarterly PechaKucha-style presentations. Scale down the time frame but have students give quick, interactive project updates.
  • Keep sharing – students need to talk and share their ideas a lot more.

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