Generating Questions and Sorting Questions are Student Keys to Driving an Inquiry. I am always trying to find effective ways to include student voice in planning an inquiry. These two simple but effective resources help me to hand over the keys to the inquiry vehicle so students can drive their own inquiries.
Students can write the central idea in the middle, and begin formulating questions for each concept.
For students to identify their most powerful questions that could guide their inquiry and deepen their understanding, they can sort their questions. The Generative-Genuine double continuum is a great tool to sort questions. Inquiries need questions that are both generative (that take us somewhere) and genuine (that we care about) and this does the trick just nicely. I named each quadrant in order of value to inquiry as:
Although students pursue one DRIVING question, the thinking involved in generating questions and the insight it provides is valuable information about student learning.
When asked to explain inquiry, this is how I make sense of the different inquiry cycles available.
I have made a table with the cycles or processes I use and aligned them with Kath Murdoch’s model. We use the cycle that best supports the student's inquiry and leads to ACTION.
Many cycles or processes have elements that are key to a quality inquiry, such as, the traits for writing, or, the elements of music for composition. I find these equally useful.
As inquiry is an active present verb, it is also important to plan for inquiry where students are actively connecting and thinking within the discipline(s). For example, students should not only study scientists and their discoveries, but also experience BEING a scientist to make his or her own discoveries.
In addition there are skills and key questions, even attitudes, that can be used at different stages to support the inquiry. For example, you can use the questions within Problem Solving Talk and Problem Solving Steps for the Math Problem Solving Process. Alternatively, you can use the Question Frames for the Reading Comprehension Cycle.
Research is like writing, the more connected a student is to the topic at hand the more relevant information they will find and higher quality presentation they will create. This makes for better learning experience students will receive from the process. Scaffolding young students research will support their success and set productive patterns and honest approaches in their future. They time we can spend teaching young students how to research productively (and enjoy it too) will save much future time and energy regarding issues of plagiarism.
So what is the 'teaching solution' to text-copying problems?
Get your students connected to their research.
How do I get my students connected to their research?
I'm glad you asked. The UOI Research Support worksheet will help guide your students (and maybe yourself) through the process of formulating a question, reading and selecting information (FINDING OUT) and the making of and sorting notes (SORTING OUT).
Before you begin, as is true with anything new, I would provide a short period of time for students to openly explore the topic (chosen or nominated), its boundaries and possibilities. This will make the process richer, quicker.
I have been trying to find engaging and effective ways to begin our Units of Inquiry at the Tuning In phase to set the stage for maximum interest and involvement for the inquiry ahead.
I have begun using Chatterboxes as a tool for Tuning In. The idea came from Kath Murdoch’s book Classroom Connections: Strategies for Integrated Learning. Although you can do this by hand and have children color it themselves which helps them to create meaning, I made an electronic template to edit according to each current Unit of Inquiry. (See below for the Pages document you are welcome to download and a slide show on how to fold it).
This week, I will be trying a combination of both.
I will ask students to individually respond to the meaning of the key words which are color coded by using sticky notes to place on the display.
From this I will be able to assess their ideas and knowledge for discussion and couple it with their own questions further planning of the Unit of Inquiry ahead.
ProDivas is a simple sharing approach, teacher to teacher, for our professional development. We collect and share bite-sized practical ideas. Once you take a bite, you may be self-motivated to eat the whole meal! We aim to find ideas supported by research to then apply for “best practice” but some ideas are too good to miss and are just simple “teacher tips”.