Post 4

Inquiry in the Science Classroom

We’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of inquiry in science.  However, I still didn’t really know how I could apply this in a primary classroom.  After doing some research, I found a series of YouTube videos provided by the Ontario Science Centre. It’s a series of 4 videos that follows a primary teacher teaching simple machines.

Video 1: I really enjoyed how they explained that the teacher isn’t an expert in Science or the subject of ‘simple machines.’  It explains the steps she takes to setting up her lessons and inquiry activities.

Video 2: The teacher does an activity of structured inquiry, which is where she gives the question and procedure but not the answer/solution.
Question + Procedure + Solution

Video 3: This video talks a about teacher flexibility and its importance. It also discusses proper questioning for inquiry (open-ended questions).

Video 4: Talks about inquiry skills the students need to build. There are 4 skills they need to learn: Initiating and PlanningPerforming and RecordingAnalyzing and InterpretingCommunicating

What did you think of this teachers method?

-Genoa 🙂

Post 3

The Inquiry Teacher: 

In the book Inquiry Mindset (Nurturing the Dreams, Wonders, & Curiosities of our Youngest Learners) by Trevor Mackenzie and Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt, they describe some qualities a teacher must develop to have a successful inquiry classroom.

1. Inquiry Teachers are Playful:
“They find joy in learning and doing, and they share their delight with others.  The act of finding joy in being reflective and growth-focused in their teaching. They see challenges as opportunities to tinker in their practice and look at problems from different angles” (p.3)

2. Inquiry Teachers Teach Slowly:
“They don’t get bogged down with coverage or content…they focus on flowing down their learning to allow opportunities to deepen understanding, better support their students, and embrace the curiosities, passions, and interests of their learners. Learning is not a checklist of objectives or content-specific aims. They help learners take time to observe their own feelings, emotions, successes, and challenges in their learning.” (p.4)

3. Inquiry Teachers know their Curriculum:
“They are intensely familiar with what they’d like their learners to know. They are creative in the pathways they take to learning, the learning experiences they foster, how they cultivate learning opportunities for their students and how they weave student curiosities in their classroom.” (p.4)

4. Inquiry Teachers know their Students:
They know their students’ stories, passions, interest, and goals, and they use this knowledge to empower learners. They construct learning moments calling for reflection and sharing of self. They actively plan and work toward building relationship and trust. They help learners connect their stories, passions, interests and goals to the curriculum, shaping learning moments.” (p.5)

5. Inquiry Teachers Reflect and Revise as they Go:
They have a knack for reflecting and revising to better meet the needs of their students. They take time to stop and listen; they view their learners as collaborators they can learn from to better move forward. They reflect on their own role in the classroom (own actions, words, thoughts, and feelings).” (p.5)

6. Inquiry Teachers Go Outside to Come Back Inside:
“They look beyond their learning opportunities for both their students and themselves. They look to their community for connections and identify partnerships and collaborations to create rich learning experiences.” (p.6)

7. Inquiry Teachers are Curious:
They are inquirers themselves. Curiosity is at the heart of what they do, and they daily demonstrate and put voice to their own wonderings for their students to see. In inquiry classrooms, questions spiral to shape lessons, direct instruction, and encourage critical thinking and revision, which leads to even deeper questions.” (p.6)

8. Inquiry Teachers are Passionate:
“Inquiry teachers love the classroom. They are passionate about  kids and excited about learning. Their infectious energy ignites a passion for learning in their students, colleagues, and leaders. Their passion for learning is unwavering and is evident in many ways: their care for planning learning experiences, their tact in building relationships, or their expertise in fostering wonderings.” (p.7)

The book describes how important it is to have these characteristics.  They explain that all these characteristics can be learned, nurtured, and honed.  At the end of the chapter they ask for you to take a moment and consider which of these you already possess, which ones your working on and which ones you need to add to your repertoire.  I find as a pre-service teacher, I wish I could say I already possess all these characteristics, but I know I’m not quite there yet. I do believe I fit into numbers 1, 4, 5,  and 8, but still have to sharpen.  The rest I still need to add to my repertoire.  Hopefully during my practicum, I will be able to gain more of these characteristics.

-Genoa  ♥