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Page history last edited by jean prevost 8 years, 10 months ago




Feb - May 2012

Book: Collaboration and Comprehension: Inquiry Circles in Action

First Meeting: Feb 1st, 2012  3-4pm

Future Meetings:    

            Feb 29 (read Part 2)
            April 4 (read Park 3)
            May 2 (finish the book)

Attendees: Jean, Karen, Lisa, Monika, Susan, Katie, Kathryn, Kerri, Lisa (absent: Cindy and Anita)

Our Connections/Thoughts/Ideas based on Reading Part 1 (pages 1-50)

    •    great ideas, but what do you do with the few who won't contribute to the group (will social pressure work?)

    •    the assessment piece will help with identifying who understands and who doesn't
    •    for grade 1 it gives them choices of how they show their learning (different ways of showing such as making a model, writing, creating a picture, etc)

    •    this type of approach is a great hook for special needs students

    •    for intermediate students. if you give kids lots of choices then you need criteria for each one (eg how do you compare a written essay to a plate of cookies)

    •    choice is a huge motivation for everyone

    •    question:  how do you manage the group?how do you assess the various products?

    •    we have discovered that background knowledge is a key to inquiry - kids need lots of background knowledge in order to ask a good question, if they don't have enough background their questions tend to be "skinny" rather than "fat, juicy" questions and they often aren't really interested in them when they are low level questions

    •    teaching can be a very lonely job, its great to have colleagues to share ideas with, here at CBS we have each other and our wonderful EA's to share this inquiry journey

    •    working in groups, like this book club, helps us learn as adults too

    •    just like we are enjoying  our book club, the kids find this process exciting too

    •    when we are working on an inquiry project with our class, one way to use Jean in the library is to have half the kids in the lab and half in the library (that way  you have 2 adults helping a smaller group of kids)  - then they can get together and share their findings at the end of the time
    •    question: how do I get more spontaneous inquiry going?  Since I know that the processes are more important than the content, then is it really important that every nquiry study is based on a particular content area from the curriculum?

    •    every question that the kids ask doesn't have to end up being a big month-long inquiry unit
    •    (eg if a question pops up in the classroom, we might just stop and pose the question, and model for the kids how we would go about finding the answer - the whole thing might only take a few minutes, but its an opportunity to model the inquiry process for the class)

    •    the teacher doesn't have to be the "expert" in this process, the teacher is a learner too

    •    we see lots of respect when we are doing inquiry - respect for each other's learning, listening to one another

    •    we see engagement in action with inquiry

    •    cooperative groups need to be taught - this is a good topic for discussion for our next book club

    •    struggle: how do you sustain interest in a particular inquiry when you only teach the class once or twice a week?





Meeting #2


Book: Inquiry Circles


Second Meeting: Feb 29th, 2012 3-4pm


Future Meetings: April 4 (read Part 3)

May 2 (finish the book)


Book Club Members: Jean, Karen, Lisa K, Monika, Susan, Katie, Kathryn, Kerri, Lisa W, Anita


Our Connections/Thoughts/Ideas based on Reading Part 2 and watching the video


  • idea: Inquiry Around the Room (instead of Reading Around the Room)


  • Monika shared an activity she tried with her Gr 2's: "Tracks of Your Thinking"

    as the students read and looked at the pictures, they attached a post-it note with a symbol on it to show 1) I know this 2) new learning 3) question 4) confusion 5)important information 6) exciting or surprising 7) connection

  • Katie tried something similar with her Gr 1's only they were reading fiction and they were using post-it notes to label text-text, text-self and text-world connections


  • we are finding that a lot of other ideas weave into Inquiry like A. Gear's reading and writing ideas


  • we've also noticed that at CBS we have been focusing on non-fiction topics in Science and S.Studies, but inquiry is also useful in L.Arts


  • "Leaving Track of our Thinking" - maybe for primary students we might use only 3 codes - or even start with 2 and then add more


  • IDEA: ask PAC for funds to buy clipboards for each child (it would follow them through their years at CBS) also add post-it notes onto school supply list


  • something we liked from the video we watched: after a small group presents their inquiry findings to the audience (who have been writing their questions/things they've learned on post-it notes) the audience then shares what they have written with a partners. Next they ask the presenters their questions and the presenters answer them, then they put their post-it note onto a chart at the front of the classroom


  • watching the video and reading the book has made us feel encouraged that we're doing so much with inquiry at our school - feels good that we are well on our way!



Meeting #3


Third Meeting - April 11, 2012 

Jean, Katie, Marsie, Monika, Kathryn, Anita, LisaK, LisaW. Susan

Missing: Karen M, Karen B


3:00- 4:00

We discussed Mini Inquiry and referred to page 156

Jean mentioned we have the resource “time for kids”


Led into individual projects in classes

Katie Spring Inquiry- bird

-wondering if it is ok to have more than one big question because the kids are in “awe of a lot of things”  - response was “Yes”

-       used the learning stickies

Anita Spring Inquiry

-       Multiple groups are investigating different topics and possibly multiple questions   within each group


Susan/ Kathryn

-       Inquiry Haida/ Inuit inquiry

-       wondering why the kids are reluctant/ not finding info

-       perhaps re-teach finding info (stepping back)


Page 173 Comment that murals need to be created before collecting infor so there is a place to put all the info.


Referred to Leslie’s body project where individual (inquiry) were brought together to create a body project.



Liked the Wonder list ideas – this is where they write down in a book about things they wonder.  This leads to the thought of can I cover it all?

Conversations led us to-

Page 261 Am I covering curriculum?

Page 42  The point of it all


Inquiry in Literature Idea

Page 206  We like idea and to keep this in mind for homecoming week

Page 203


Idea/strategy of Inquiry in Social Studies

Page 177 Slavery




Discussion around do we apply for Book Club funding ($500) again

-       interested in continuing to study current book

-       We would like to explore deeper into the strategies and websites

-       We would like to explore ways to implement and reflect



Do we apply for Ed as Researcher (3000)

-       Interest in applying so we have time to continue to explore and play with tech tools (constantly changing)

-       We are interested in ways to explore and reflect on the application of literacy circle inquiry as outline in our book


Do we apply for two grants one for technology and one for inquiry?

     -             Shall we try?


Final "Inquiry Circles in Action" Book Club meeting 

Wed. May 2nd, 2012 3:00 to 4:10 pm


Members in attendance: Jean, Katie, Susan, Alyssa, Monika, Anita, Lisa W., Karen MacE, Lisa K.


We watched the last part of the video, Intermediate Inquiry (two grade 4 classes)


The video showed two grade four classes involved in small group inquiry projects about Egypt. There were some good management ideas:


The teacher(s) used a chart to help the classes come up with good questions. After collecting background information on Egypt from a variety of sources, she put up the following chart:


Searching for a Question


Living like a researcher.....


1. Brainstorm good questions

2. Review your work

3. Browse text, surf the net

4. Talk to a friend

5. Be curious


The teacher also modelled her own Inquiry journal/notebook. Each student kept a notebook to record any ideas/wonderings that might be used for Inquiry.


What's in your notebook?


  • students wrote down their ideas and wonderings after collecting background knowledge on Egypt. Students then compared their "burning" questions and topics with each other


  • next, the teacher modelled how the students might consolidate some of their questions or topics so students would be able to work in groups on similar topics.


Getting Started


I have my question, now what?

  • browse books
  • get on-line
  • talk with partners
  • interview an expert


Students spent time grouping and sorting their questions and worked in partners or a group of three for Inquiry project time.


Next, the teacher worked with the students to decide on ground rules for Collaboration:


What does it look like?                                                What does it sound like?


- all group members are working                                    - peaceful noise

- take turns                                                                        - no fighting

-stay on track and on topic                                                - help each other

- talk to each other - work things                                    - bring in all items if that is your job

out -  everyone has a job                                                - respect everyone's ideas

- divide up the jobs

- sharing resources


Think Aloud - group reading of an article on the overhead. First time - guided practice with teacher modelling. Second time- students jot their new learning in the margins of their copies. Students read same article in partner groups and then predict, share what they are reading together. As they read, teacher encourages them to stop and think out loud together. Students highlight important facts - write out their new learning in the margins. Students summarize their learning on post-it notes.


Types of Inquiry Projects:


1. Whole group inquiry - class chooses one topic, collects background info, process is modelled by teacher. This is guided inquiry.


2.  Partner or small group inquiry - students are grouped in small groups with similar topics/questions.


3. Individual inquiry - students choose their own topics and the challenge is to go through the inquiry stages on their own.


Many classes at CBay have used this "gradual release" style:


Kindergarten   Marsie and Carol - whole group inquiry (Butterflies)

Gr. 1  Katie and Alyssa - whole group inquiry (birds and earthworms).

Gr. 2  Anita small group inquiry (signs of spring).

Gr. 3  Lisa W. and Lisa K. - small group inquiry projects (Solar System).

Gr. 4  Susan and Kathryn group inquiry projects (First Nations and Inuit)

Gr. 5  Karen Mac and Jenaka/Lesley - whole group and small group inquiry (Heroes, Human Body, Canadian Regions)  


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