Sometimes when students are working on inquiry projects it can feel a little bit like you are the stage coach driver of a runaway carriage led by wild horses careening down the side of a mountain. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But I do think it’s easy for students (and teachers) to get caught up in the “project” and lose some of the learning. I had this thought while I was zoning out yesterday, that when my students present their work I want them to talk about the process they went through. This is the real learning piece and a big reason why many literature inquiries that we do during the year are not accompanied by a big “project” but a more modest form of sharing such as a blog post, informal chat, glogster, or mini-poster. The exception is some of the scientific inquiries where the project IS the learning but documenting the process is equally as important.
So today I’m going to give my students some reflection time to stop and take a look at where they’ve been, what they’re doing right now, and where they are going in the next few days.
Inquiry Reflection Questions
Spend 5 minutes jotting notes or tabbing pages in your notebook that address the questions. Then discuss them in your groups. After your conversation write any new ideas in your notebook.
Revisit your questions. What answers have you found? Have you narrowed or broadened your search since you began? What additional questions did you come up with while you were researching? Add them to your index card.
Talk about your process for research. Where did you get most of your information? What search engines did you use? How did you decide a website was worthwhile? Did you find anything surprising as you worked? Do you anticipate needing more information?
Talk about your process for creating. Why did you choose your specific medium for sharing your knowledge? What roadblocks have you encountered and overcome? What roadblocks are you still encountering.
If you are working in a group, what systems has your group set up to ensure that each person knows what their contribution is? How are they working? What can you do to improve?