This post is part of my series of posts that chronicle a two and half week inquiry project from start to finish. Here are some other posts in this series.
Explore More: Explaining what it is and the background of the project.
Going Deeper with Questioning: Sparking students’ curiosity using images.
Collaboration: Supporting students’ work in small groups.
Focusing on Process (not just product): Helping students reflect and document the learning process.
Helping students organize themselves and learn time management skills is an essential part of the inquiry process. This year we gave each group a small report cover filled with essential documents to help them through the process. It’s very important that students learn these management skills and that we support them in doing so.
Each “book” starts with a wonder page. When student groups initially met their first task was to brainstorm a list of questions both big and small. They add to their page as more questions arise. This is a great way to give them a daily reminder of the real purpose of their work. To inquire into topics and questions that THEY find interesting.
We also include a planning calendar for the duration of the inquiry. This is a great way to teach students how to work on time management skill and helps them collaborate more efficiently. I ask students to reflect on their calendar periodically during the course of the project to see if their predictions for time allotment were correct. This helps them to build those skills for their next inquiry. I model how to fill out these calendars at the beginning of the year. Because we usually do inquiry work in two or two and half week segments students are used to the pace that they need to work at to get things accomplished.
As I wrote about in my last post, reflection is a big piece of our work this year. We spend the last 5-7 minutes of every class reflecting on the day. This has been really instrumental in helping the students develop their metacognition of the process. It’s also a great tool for me to do a quick check on any issues or frustrations the groups might have.