CristinaM.

Inquiry: To What End?

In activities, inquiry, thinking on April 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

This was originally supposed to be a simple reply to Aviva Dunsiger’s blog post. I soon realized it would have been too short and thus I could have been easily misunderstood.
It all started with my question: “How do these projects enable deeper thinking?”, question that I asked after seeing her students’ work. Briefly the sequence of activities was the following:
1. Students brainstormed questions to guide their research on natural phenomena.
2. In groups of 2-3 they would write a poem using onomatopoeia and personification in the context of their natural phenomenon.
3. Last, they would create artwork that showed the natural phenomenon they researched about.
At first glance, this is an interesting and engaging chain of activities. Yet, to me, the over-arching question was missing. To what end? What was the understanding the teacher wanted the students to have? How does each of the three activities help build a central powerful idea about natural phenomena?
I realized then that we adhere to different instruction theories: project-based vs. concept-driven learning. On the surface, many can mistake one for the other, especially since both use inquiry as a vehicle to construct understanding.

Patterns, Patterns Everywhere

In activities, inquiry, thinking on October 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm

This post was prompted by looking at  Aviva Dunsiger‘s Twitter stream – she is working on patterns with her students.  I would like to engage with her 6th grade class on Skype (my students are in 2nd grade) so we can do some Math together.

I am briefly outlining our inquiry into patterns last year so do not expect a “great” blog post.  It was written in half an hour!

1. PROVOCATIONS

I had 4 groups of students (red, blue etc.) and gave each group a set of 3 photos.

Photo3591

Question: What do these have in common? 

Dynamic Duos

In education, reflection on October 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm
Joy …children need to enjoy learning. As simple as that. It makes sense to *want* to learn. Effort…difficulty or complexity of tasks makes us think better. That can sometimes impact the level of engagement.
WONDER….encouraging and giving time for children to question; knowledge was historically built BY asking questions and wondering KNOW …building knowledge to be able to ask better questions and think better. You DO need to know things in order to think better.
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