We’ve talked a lot about inquiry so far this year, outlining how classrooms use the inquiry cycle model to drive the learning in the classrooms. With this model, we put students in the driver’s seat (with the teacher as a guide), giving them more ownership in the process that unfolds throughout the year.
One way our our teachers do this is by giving student ownership of the current unit of inquiry bulletin board. These bulletin board usually display the transdisciplinary theme, central idea (or unit focus), student questions, and lines of inquiry (different ways that the class will focus their inquiry to break down and make sense of the central idea).
In Ms. Singh’s classroom she clearly displays all of these elements, but notice how her lines of inquiry (for their Sharing the Planet unit the fourth grade is focusing on the following lines of inquiry: economic, social, cultural, political and religions differences cause conflict; personal, local, and global conflict resolution; conflict resolution) and questions (on orange sticky notes) are written BY the students. You can see the students have creatively illustrated the three lines of inquiry, choosing specific design and illustrations to fit that focus. Although this may seem like a small detail, giving students ownership over their inquiry board validates the students thoughts and questions. Ms. Singh will use the questions to guide her planning and instruction to best meet the needs of her students, all the while involving the students with each step of the inquiry the process.
Interested in learning more about student-driven learning? Check out this short Ted Talk about the power of student driven learning!