Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Body Systems #6 - resources for research

Hello friends,

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the first time to share 5 items from my week :)
This will take the form of 5 varied resources students can use for research.

Inquiry Learning - open ended by its nature because students follow their own interests. While this is a concern for many teachers who feel that they have a better handle on the quality of learning in their rooms when they prepare and teach their own lessons, Inquiry Learning  offers true engagement as students really want to find answers to their own questions to satisfy their curiosity.

We teachers are now the facilitators of the learning, there to support, encourage and (dare I say) push students to reach their potential.

One of the ways we do this is by creating 'wanting' in our students. I 'wanted' them to 'want' to persist with research through a variety of resources in order to clarify their understanding as well as to confirm the accuracy of the facts that they were gathering. Simply due to their lack of life experience, they don't see the point of continuing their research if they believe to have found the answer in the first place they look. And teachers telling them they need to do so ...well why?... when they have the answer.

To initiate the research for the teacher guided inquiry, I provided my kiddies with (no.1) an explanation of the digestive system. I made it purposefully challenging (similar to the non-fiction topic books they would encounter on the subject) so that they felt that they got some information out of it but were still unclear about many areas.

After reading through it, I asked them to read it a second time and this time to highlight any words or key ideas that they would like to use in an oral retell.

Next I had them explain their understanding to a buddy, in their own words with reference only to their highlighted words.

By a show of hands I asked them to vote whether they were totally clear on the topic and could confidently explain it to anyone. No-one was willing to commit. So asked them what they felt would help them at this stage. One of the things they asked for was a diagram (no.2), so I gave them one. Their task was to go through the text again and to sequence the events with the labels on the diagram.

Many felt they gained some clarity. What they really wanted next was something to explain the Topic Words - so I provided the glossary (no.3) I had prepared. Now they felt they understood the text a lot better but still found it difficult to visualise the process because this was not part of their prior knowledge or experience. All they really knew was that food went in and 'poop' came out, so something went on in between. Sounds like a hypothesis to me!

Bring on the experiment (no.4):

This was such fun! The toughest kiddies were turning green at the gills, by the end.
Finally (no.5) we watched a few animations and videos on youtube (wonderful resource).

Exposing students to such a wide variety of resources allows access for varied learning styles, to the information that needs to be processed.

In their shared writing groups, they were able to access the necessary information from the aforementioned resources and collaborate on a paragraph for the class exemplar explanation.

Next time I'll post about kicking off the Student Initiated part of this Inquiry.

Be sure to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to share your five for the week :)
Have a great day everyone :)

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