I've been contemplating the world of inquiry-based learning...
Owing to a busy schedule this term our 'learning pathway' programme is taking a bit of a back seat so I have been trying to squeeze as much in as I can, where I can.
Having been inspired by the notion of using envirethical themes within school programmes
my classes 'question' this term is Where is it From?
Here the kids get to investigate their favourite thing and find out about its origins (where is it made? who makes it? what are the working conditions like?)
In one of those spontaneous brain-waves (you know, the ones you have in a split second and the 'plan' for the day flies away) I decided one afternoon to 'model' the process using chocolate as an example.
I chucked a few questions onto the board and the kids googled away for 10-15 mins to come up with more information.
What are the ingredients of chocolate?
Where in the world are cocoa beans found?
What does child labour mean?
Interestingly these questions generated some interesting questions and statements from the kids:
Where is the ivory coast? Where is Ghana? (woop, spontaneous meaningful geography lesson)
Cocoa beans look like Coconuts, Miss! (Using prior understandings)
We then watched the Bitter-sweet BBC doco
And more questions came:
Why are they making those kids make chocolate for the world? (Critical Thinking)
Could they come to NZ and make us do it?
(I reassured them that we have laws in NZ to protect children and workers) Then one of them brought up Warner Brothers, but that's a different story. Needless to say, that was a lot of learning packed into 45 mins.
Some of them are now going to continue our chocolate study as their inquiry and I have noticed that the other individual research projects are benefiting from having gone through this process.
Normally we have talked about research methods, key words etc and then I have sent them on their merry way where I then 'react' to their questions and problems.
According to Harry Hood, a good literacy programme should have a balance of TO, WITH, and BY. In the early years there is a larger focus on TO and WITH and as the years go by it lies more heavily on WITH and BY. So why are we not doing this with inquiry-based learning? Or will this turn it back into 'topic'?
Watching The BBC Documentary
Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.Think long, think on.