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independent-inquiry-based-learning

Inquiry Based Learning is a very important element to young children’s success in their early education.  Here is an article on Independent Inquiry that may help you in your classroom:

http://earlylearningcentral.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/independentinquiry.pdf

2 Responses to Independent Inquiry Based Learning

  • Corinne.Scarfo says:

    You have many great questions that so many are beginning to work through. I am not sure how Mandi’s classroom began their inquiry about water, but I know in my class the ideas that I have extended into inquiry, have come from the children talking within the centres. As my ECE partner and I place new materials out within the classroom it sparks curiosity and discussion. The inquiry based learning follows a scientific model and many of your ideas tie into this. We want to develop the children’s natural curiosity and build on it through open-ended activities. They are engaging as “scientists’ “in the process of inquiry through questioning, observation, and communicating what they are learning. You many also want to review ETFOs resource Thinking It Through–the Science and Technology booklet. You can have a look at some webcasts that support the inquiry process and there is also some teacher’s speaking to their experiences. http://resources.curriculum.org/secretariat/kindergarten/

    Planning does not take place the night before, we carefully map out how we will extend the learning on the topic into each centre, however sometimes this is not always necessary. By providing exciting materials and facilitating discussions many of the topics will be carried on for weeks. As far as the reading and writing components of the program, we still focus on balanced literacy. We teach in small group and large group. Our children have journals, we continue to work on letters and sounds, as well as the reading strategies. When the opportunity is there to integreate the learning, I plan for that. Every board is different, I use jolly phonics because that is what my students need. As their needs change, so will my programming.
    In our resource section there is an article regarding worksheets http://ultimateblockparty.ca/home/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Play-or-worksheets.pdf. Some black-line masters may be great, however, there are other opportunities to engage in developmentally appropriate learning for 4 and 5 year olds that are more hands-on and create rich learning, rather than a pencil and paper task. When students are engaged at these activities it will be easy to assess through a checklist, anedotal notes, photos, and oral language dialogue that will demonstrate to the educator about what they are learning and where they need to go. Writing is also integreated within each centre rather then in isolation. When I have my students writing formally, it is in response to literacy, math or they are communicating their learning about something that occurred in our inquiry. I have journals, communication sheets, and this year I am starting with inquiry binders.
    Long Range Planning is still continued, but it is flexible and changes to meet the learning in the class. When an inquiry idea is generated, I look to my overall expectations to see how they will connect and develop skills and strategies across the curriculum.

  • cyndy says:

    Can you tell me how you come up with the topic areas such as water- please tell me how you define inquiry based as it does not seem different than my themed based curriculum except I chose the theme – but really what is so different?
    Does inquiry based mean you cannot plan ahead (you plan the night before as it is based on what the kids decide)- long range plans are not allowed? Does it mean that the kids direct what is taught ( you chose pumpkins the kids did not)
    How is the pumpkin unit not a theme? When I did themes not everything was about that topic but if we could tie in areas we would -like using the pumpkins for math activities. When I used themes my kids did all kinds of experimenting and questioning. How do your kids learn to read and write? I have not noticed much difference in the program except calender time is a no no – which I think is wrong as my calender time was so varied with poems and songs(drama), interactive learning, sharing, leadership skills and social skills ( how to take turns, how to support each other). My kids had great experiences with the themes- we hatched eggs- recording how they should look every couple of days, (some drew, some wrote); when some didn’t hatch we tried to summize why; we walked to the tadpole pond to gather tadpoles and watch them grow; we planted seeds for Mother’s Day and took pictures of every aspect of growing them- we then wrote about each time (each child wrote their own feelings and actions) and put it in a book for our moms – along with the grown plant ( decorated pot). I played many word games – using all the strategies of phonemic awareness and some things I made up. I have been told that jolly phonics and starfall would not be allowed in this program- why not? I did use some black-line masters as there are some great ones but supposedly this is a no no as well. I know they can be over used and used with no meaning or learning occurring but if you make good choices black-line masters can support the kids learning. I am not trying to be facetious, I truly would like to know what is so different than my “old” program.

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