Earlier this year all Cluster teachers attended a Kath Murdoch day (http://www.vln.school.nz/blog/read/686262/kath-murdoch-pd-reflection) focused at improving professional knowledge around inquiry, particularly:
We have now asked all schools to reflect on how this has impacted on practice in schools.
Below are some examples of how the Kath Murdoch PD has directly influenced classroom inquiry learning practice at Somerset Crescent School. (An initial reflection of this can be seen here- http://www.vln.school.nz/blog/view/686262/kath-murdoch-pd-reflection)
Our new entrants class has had the wonderment and awe created through the use of high tech microscopes (the second post dated 23/8). It has added a whole new dimension to our minibeasts inquiry. Evidence can be seen on their blog -
Other examples of improved inquiry learning techniques, particularly in the areas of student voice, provoking curiosity, questioning and understanding the components of our school inquiry model can be viewed below also. Two examples are teachers individual reflections of how their programmes are progressing.
One senior room looked at which burger from 3 different fastfood places most resembled its advertising, had the best taste, nutrition and value for money. The children took polls as to which they thought would win, had class members try the burgers and rate them, some compared photos and all the students chose jobs and made sure everyone was involved. Student voice and choice was a large part of this inquiry.
A big book promoted a discussion during oral language and a ‘teachable moment” presented itself from this. As part of Student Voice and choice being a large part of inquiry we decided to pursue this further.
Students have had their scientific questions recorded using “Window Markers”.
Teacher has asked leading questions to generate discussions about the different theories that students have and their names have been recorded against these.
This prompted some good learning around respecting other opinions’ and that it is ok to think something different from someone else.
As part of the inquiry process the students then had to decide on what information sources would be good for our research. (This is helping to consolidate our ‘information literacy skills learning and the children are showing their confidence to use their new ICT effective questioning skills using search engines).
We recorded our research findings orally and compared the different sources against each other.
The positive impact of the Kath Murdoch PD at St James' has mainly been in the following areas.
Provoking curosity - creating wonderment and awe
One of strategies Kath suggested to nuture curisoty around a context was to use a 'See, Think, Wonder'. This has been used succefully at different levels of the school. Here are some examples:
Curiosity has also become 'part of rooms' children's wonderings are displayed and classrooms have spaces for compelling objects that children have found,
Lots of hands on activities in our science inquiries has also given children lots of 'Wow' moments.
Middle School Bird Feeders:
Room 5 Tray Experiments/Problem Solving: http://roomfivesjs.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/walt-understand-how-and-why-landforms.html
Room 4 Erosion Experiments: http://learningfourusall.blogspot.co.nz/
Helping learners to learn and understanding themselves as learners
In the Middle/Senior school this has been done in the context of 'being a scientist'. They have been working to improve at working like a scientist. There has been a particular focus on being a constructor/critiquer of questions in the Senior school. In the Middle School, children have been improving their ability to make observations.
Room 3 Constructing/Critiquing Questions: https://docs.google.com/a/stjamescatholic.school.nz/document/d/1joYyBRTMchz3sK6uDj1OR92G3tH8-2AiiY9PLoJt3rk/edit?pli=1
Room 2 Bird Observations:
Looking at the key components to an effective Inquiry process/model
There has also been a big push this term, to make sure our children understand the inquiry process. Inquiry walls are added to as classes move through the process and the learning at each stage is clear. The walls are becoming a second teacher.
In the Senior school, after finishing each stage, classes' have been co-constructing their own criteria for each stage in 'Kids Speak'. This has helped these older students confidently explain to others what they are doing at each stage.