What Next…

Where do you start when thinking about inquiry through play in the classroom? This question doesn’t have one specific answer because there is so many different answers. I will say this though:

Before I could piece anything together I needed to understand that not every lesson will look the same and that there is no specific guideline on how to do this but rather a frame work, or an approach that may or may not work. The whole idea of it might not work out can be intimidating but it can also be very exciting and rewarding for the students and you.

My next step is trying it out more in my the classroom. To look at different ways of incorporating pieces of it into the daily routines my students go through.

For Lindsy Friendship and I our next step as collaborators is presenting at the West CAST conference. At this conference we will be presenting a workshop where we will share our understanding and knowledge.

We know that in our schools today we see a unique diversity of students. As educators we are trying to find the most meaningful way to inspire learners to develop and grow as individuals. Play brings students passions and interests in an organic form. We want to have authentic learning experiences for our students. There are many misconceptions of what play is and its importance. Our curriculum today supports the process of play and its effectiveness in inquiry. “Cognitive development stems from social interactions from guided learning within the zone of proximal development as children and their partner’s co-construct knowledge” (McLeod). As educators we continuously pursue to create an engaging environment, play allows for student to engage in social and cognitive interactions that stem from a realistic approach. When students develop ideas, wonders, and questions we call them an inquiry. Many teachers and pre-service teachers struggle to find the right starting point for inquiry in the primary grades. The best place to start inquiry is through play. “The benefits of play are recognized by the scientific community. There is now evidence that neural pathways in children’s brains are influenced by and advanced in their development through the exploration, thinking skills, problem solving, and language expression that occur during play.”  (The Kindergarten Program 2016) Play helps children to discover and make sense of the world around them. Its universal continuous and versatile in the outcomes its brings to students learning and is “not bound by culture.” (Knowing Home) During the workshop participants will have the opportunity to play, collaborate and share their wonders in a way that is meaningful to them.

 

Our learning intention for our work shop is to have participants be able to say ‘I can implement inquiry through play in my classroom’.

 

Please check out Lindsy’s site to get more information and perspective.

Lindsy Friendship word press link.

 

 

 

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Resources to Explore

I have come across some great resource that I thought I would compile together that supports our passion of piecing inquiry and play together.

Websites:

http://www.playwales.org.uk/eng/informationsheets

http://www.playwales.org.uk/login/uploaded/documents/INFORMATION%20SHEETS/Play%20types.pdf

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/play-work-of-children/pl3/#.WmwDN60ZP-Y

http://www.naturalcuriosity.ca/inpractice.php?m=p

 

http://www.foundintheforest.com/

http://www.inquiry-based.com/index.html

http://www.labschool.org/podium/default.aspx?t=136085

Books:

The Unscript Classroom by Susan Stacey

Emergent Curriculum by Susan Stacey

Working in the Reggio Way by Julianne P Wurm

Constructivism Across the Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms -Big Ideas as Inspirations by Christine Chaille

Play – How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown

Natural Curiosity by The Laboratory School at The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

Connecting the Dots by Stan Kozak & Susan Elliot

 

 

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Resources to Explore

I have come across some great resource that I thought I would compile together that supports our passion of piecing inquiry and play together.

Websites:

http://www.playwales.org.uk/eng/informationsheets

http://www.playwales.org.uk/login/uploaded/documents/INFORMATION%20SHEETS/Play%20types.pdf

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/play-work-of-children/pl3/#.WmwDN60ZP-Y

http://www.naturalcuriosity.ca/inpractice.php?m=p

 

http://www.foundintheforest.com/

http://www.inquiry-based.com/index.html

http://www.labschool.org/podium/default.aspx?t=136085

Books:

The Unscript Classroom by Susan Stacey

Emergent Curriculum by Susan Stacey

Working in the Reggio Way by Julianne P Wurm

Constructivism Across the Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms -Big Ideas as Inspirations by Christine Chaille

Play – How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown

Natural Curiosity by The Laboratory School at The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

Connecting the Dots by Stan Kozak & Susan Elliot

 

 

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Testing it Out

During my last practicum I was able to try some new things in the classroom with my students. I decided to try a Knowledge Building Circle with my class. This was new for me to teach, and new for my students to experience. This strategy is taken from the resource “Natural Curiosity”.

After speaking with my sponsor teacher she I both knew that the class would be a great class to try this with. They are so eager to learn and try new things. To give some background information, normally the class has quiet time during this block.

Although the class is adaptable it was still going to be a transition for the class to switch their daily routine. I knew that introducing something new to them would take a couple of days. I have done a KBC before as a participant in one of my own classes and also at a workshop. My plan was to first introduce what it was, create our own definition on what we knew the words meant. Below is the draft that we came up with as a class.

The anchor chart was put up each time we had our Knowledge Building Circle, so that students could look back at it.

We participated in a Knowledge Building Circle each day for the two weeks. The first day with this new strategy went surprisingly well. Students were interested and were catching on to the point of the circle.

By the end of the two weeks students were starting to use the phrase “I disagree because.” This was a huge step for the class to share their ideas and to support it. Not only did the class start to use language that was knew to them, that supported each others learning but they did so in a respectful way. There definitely was some helpful reminders of what it sounded like to respectfully disagree but over all students were able to communicate in an effective way.

Students not only began to develop new phrases to use during discussion but also new behaviours that supported an equal playing field. The purpose of a KBC is to eliminate hierarchy through different phrases, and actions. All of these things aren’t done at one time of course because it would be very overwhelming.

What I found most effective in introducing different aspects to the circle was to introduce ones that you could see naturally arising from the discussions students were having. By the end of the week students were placing their hand inside the circle rather than putting their hand up. Students waiting till their peers were finished speaking before they place their hand inside the circle.

To read more about what a Knowledge Building Circle is check out the book “Natural Curiosity.”

I should also mention that this was done with a grade 1/2 class. I was so very proud of them and the conversations that they were conducting on their own. As the teacher I was just there to guide and support when needed. By the end of the week two weeks they were leading their own KBC circle, and coming up with their own topics and questions!

 

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Natural Curiosity & LSF Workshop

The workshop was a two day event filled with rich conversations about what inquiry is, obstacles to overcome, the richness of its approach, and systemic issues of the conventional teaching approach.

It was a great experience to be involved in collaborative group work. The way that the workshop was laid out was exactly how you would start with an inquiry. The workshop shifted as the group did with the questions that were built. The workshop presenters recognized the need to move with the groups interest and knowledge and made the workshop focus on where the questions were taking us.

We got to experience nature based learning as we explored the beautiful campus at Royal Roads University. As we know a lot of approach to inquiry over lap just like any cross curricular approaches as well. Play based learning may come in different forms and roots. When we explored the trails at Royal Roads I realized that play for us and children can look the same and different. Play can come from the approach of place based learning, centres, and many more day to day activities that children experience.

Ask yourself what do you consider to be play? Is play really that different for children and adults? How might we continue play through out intermediate grades?

As students move through the school system it is evident that play is slowly removed from students daily routines and is left to be done during children’s free time. We wonder why students lose creativity and struggle with coming up with ideas and inspiration. This is partially due to the fact that we take away play, and build these perimeters  of how students need to think.

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Arrival at Royal Roads University
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Hatley Castle
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Partnership with Lindsy Friendship on this Inquiry on Inquiry of Play in a Primary Setting
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The Castle
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What is inquiry? What do you know/think?
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In action creating a Mind Map
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Our own Inquiry on Inquiry – Developing Questions
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Our own Inquiry on Inquiry- Developing Questions
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Our own Inquiry on Inquiry- Developing Questions
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Our own Inquiry on Inquiry- Developing Questions
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Knowledge Building Circle- Prompts for your class that you can slowly incorporate. This is a very helpful tool to have with Primary children, as visuals will be a huge benefit.
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Royal Roads University trails
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Royal Roads University trails
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Lindsy and I enriching our Professional Learning
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The End of our two day workshop

Lets make a shift!


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Natural Curiosity & LSF Workshop

The workshop was a two day event filled with rich conversations about what inquiry is, obstacles to overcome, the richness of its approach, and systemic issues of the conventional teaching approach.

It was a great experience to be involved in collaborative group work. The way that the workshop was laid out was exactly how you would start with an inquiry. The workshop shifted as the group did with the questions that were built. The workshop presenters recognized the need to move with the groups interest and knowledge and made the workshop focus on where the questions were taking us.

We got to experience nature based learning as we explored the beautiful campus at Royal Roads University. As we know a lot of approach to inquiry over lap just like any cross curricular approaches as well. Play based learning may come in different forms and roots. When we explored the trails at Royal Roads I realized that play for us and children can look the same and different. Play can come from the approach of place based learning, centres, and many more day to day activities that children experience.

Ask yourself what do you consider to be play? Is play really that different for children and adults? How might we continue play through out intermediate grades?

As students move through the school system it is evident that play is slowly removed from students daily routines and is left to be done during children’s free time. We wonder why students lose creativity and struggle with coming up with ideas and inspiration. This is partially due to the fact that we take away play, and build these perimeters  of how students need to think.

Lets make a shift!


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Conference

Looking forward to attending this workshop with my colleague Lindsy Friendship! We are ready to learn and grow, and bring back some strategies and ideas to implement and share!

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Moving Forward –>

We have learned so much about inquiry in these last month or so in our courses. A common pattern I have noticed is the focus on inquiry in more of an intermediate setting. Inquiry for the primary grades can be challenging because of the amount of materials and content that needs to be covered.

My colleague Lindsy Friendship and I have found a way to bring our primary students natural wonders and curiosities with inquiry and play. Some people may be wondering; What does this look like? Where do you go next? How do you cover all your students?

As we move through this inquiry you will get to see these questions being covered. We all know that every classroom is different and every student in the classroom is too, so not all of these ideas will work for every time and will definitely need to be adapted accordingly.

I am excited to explore this inquiry and share my experience with you! Please comment with any questions, or thoughts.

 

Thank you


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