My thoughts concerning inquiry learning:

Inquiry learning is:
  1. searching for information for some need or problem that requires some application. In other words, it requires higher levels of thinkings.
  2. creating thinkers.
  3. enabling students to find information at a level appropriate for their reading ability.
  4. has three stages - teacher directed, negotiated, student directed.
  5. maximizing learning means collaboration of the findings of the students. (Groups of 3 recc.)
  6. leads to areas that students can research as "enrichment."

Inquiry learning is not:
  1. finding and regurgitating information.
  2. simply teacher assigning, students answering and mark assigned.

Inquiry learning takes students beyond "getting the assignment completed" to becoming engaged and learning how to take what they have learned and apply it in a meaningful way - really using thinking skills to solve "the mystery of the question." This is what I have been looking for.

Homework assignment:
I have given some thought about what might work in regards to this inquiry unit. Since one of the Grade 9 units is to be on Conflicts, Issues, and Choices –Doing the Right Thing (multi-genre inquiry and interdisciplinary), I thought The Giver by Lois Lowry would provide an excellent springboard for students to explore the issues and conflicts arising from a society's choices and what is the responsibility, if any, of the individual. This could easily be connected to the Holocaust or even what happened here in the Battlefords regarding the execution of the First Nations men after the Northwest Rebellion.

Feeling abit overwhelmed - where do we start? Just trying to decide what objectives to focus on was a bit daunting. The information we were given and tools was awesome. By the end, the group seemed to be operating on information overload. Feel like I need some time to sort through what I have learned and what we have talked about - just a chance to process things.

March 3 Quick Write
It has been quite the process - it has challenged and stretched me.

I have always enjoyed teaching using controversial questions to aid students' thinking outside the box. However, it has been me asking the questions. Since starting the Quest, I have "tried out" the inquiry approach with my students to "see if it really works" - I must say that I have been amazed at the questions my students have asked. Especially for some of my students, this is the motivator that they need.

I have found it helpful to work with other collegues. As a team, we bantered ideas, approaches, assessment needs etc. back and forth. I believe that as a team, we kept each other on track and came up with a better package as a result.

The technology tools were awesome. Many of these tools I would not have discovered on my own, but have found most helpful in the classroom. It would have been nice if we could have had some time to really nail down the tools that we used . . . especially for us who are a bit technologically challenged and a bit shy about it. My one disappointment is that many of these tools are not available to my students because my school's computer system does not have the technology to support them (it is not really feasible for a class of 17 to all use my laptop).

Overall, I felt the process was a worthwhile endeavor and hopefully the unit we have produced will reflect that.