Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Beijing ’08 is Great!

This is the first year of my teaching career where I have been the Teacher, not the Student for the Olympic Games and its been fantastic. It is a wonderful platform for inquiry learning and my students are fully engaged in their investigations. I am also very impressed with the Chinese Olympic Mascots. The Fuwa relate perfectly with both the games and the Chinese Culture, not to mention incredibly cute.

The Fuwa

All About The Fuwa

Our class inquiry this term is centred around three questions based on information I would like them to discover. Along with this the students are required to complete five independent learning activities based on five different sub-topics based on the Olympics.

Here is a copy of the stations and activities (all based on different HOT tools):

Inquiry Rotation

As a side note we have decided to un-pack the curriculum value of Excellence, which is well matched with the games.

Curriculum Values Display

Anyway thats all for now, much TV to watch now

😉 Marama

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Pixton – Martha 1.0

Pixton – Martha 1.0

Posted using ShareThis

Just a bit of fun in Pixton 😀

Pixton is a great little site that allows you to make online comic strips quick and easily. You can upload these comics to the site and others can make comment about them (I am very excited because I got my first ‘LOL’ last night) and you can comment on other strips. Pixton was recently reviewed on TeachersFirst.com and you can check out their thoughts at this link:

http://www.teachersfirst.com/single.cfm?id=9280

In terms of use in my classroom, I can see it as a great way of creating situations and scenarios for the Dare programme we are doing next term.

Of course the old debate of clip art, to use or not to use, comes to mind. Are we stifling creativity and making it too easy by using pre-made figures and scenes? Are we encouraging kids to use other peoples creativity?

Personally, and feel free to disagree, I believe that in this case we must look at the purpose of using this platform. That is of course is feedback from an authentic audience. The power of Pixton is not the ease and speed of use, it is the social networking aspect. Students are able to express themselves in a relatively creative way and find out what Jim-Bob in the big old USA thinks about it. And I can tell you it feels pretty cool when a stranger gives you a LOL!

Inquiry Learning

Hi All,

So here is a blog I have set up about Inquiry Learning. Now I am by no means an expert. I have picked up most of what I know from watching other teachers and experimenting with my students.

As you all know, every child, class and situation. What works for me may be irrelevant for you, however I have found the following key points have helped me no matter who I am planning for.

1. Never assume anything! Especially what the children know or understand.

I once tried to facilitate a brainstorm on why Good Oral Language Skills are important with a Year Five and Six class. After getting nowhere for quite a while, I realised that the children didn’t know what the term Oral Language meant. Once I had explained this term the brainstorm was very successful, all of their knowledge had been blocked by my use of an unfamiliar term.

2. In order to be curious about something, you need to already know something about it.

I always begin any class inquiry topic with an immersion rotation, or pitch a mini class inquiry to hook the children’s interest. Lead the children to some key learning that will scaffold their understanding and own personal inquiry.

3. Good questions are essential, and good questioning must be taught.

They need to be taught about, open ended, closed, leading, and higher order questioning. Use Bloom’s, DeBono’s and Thinker’s Keys to scaffold them.

4. And finally, do it all over again and again and again.

Again it is the assumption thing. Don’t assume because they have done it before, whether it was last term or last year that they will remember how to conduct an inquiry. You will need to teach, use and refer to the basic skills of inquiry over and over again. I often use guided reading as means of teaching these skills.

Anyway, here are some resources that I have begged and borrowed in PDF.

inquiry-model – This was given to me by our team leader and could easily be turned into a check list.

issues-inquiry-learning1 – A student workbook used in a Yr5 & 6 class

Keywords, Skimming and Scanning Skills cards

scan-card1, key-words-card1, skimming-card1

Tools for good questioning

venn, bloom-rubric, 6hatsplanning, thinkers_keys_all-1

Please feel free to add anything else you think may be useful.

Marama