In response to an email received from Cathie last week our CC21 team collaborated together to answers some questions about our project. I am going to post up the questions and our answers. It was great to reflect on our process as we are into our 4th week of teaching our units and as ever as we go along our children are guiding us to explore new facets of the inquiry learning process.
Here they are! IK
Can you provide details of all participants in your team and a brief summary
Our team consists of 6 team members
Maria Dichiera (Principal) Maria has provided assistance to all team members by collaborating and consulting with team members providing assistance and feedback in the development of integrated Units of work.
Renee McVicar (AP and ES1 Teacher) has written an Inquiry based learning unit using the New English, Science and Mathematics Syllabus that she is sharing in two Kindergarten classes. Her unit revolves around Living things and children investigating how to convince the Teacher to have a classroom pet. This Unit is science based looking at the needs of living things.
Ellen Krause ( AP and Stage 1 Teacher) has written an Inquiry based learning unit using the new English, Science Syllabus that she is implementing and collaborating with teachers in three Stage 1 classes. Stage 1 is focused on the English Syllabus exploring texts and writing about Living things and life cycles. Students are developing literacy skills required to produce a life cycle book.
Irena Kraljevic (Stage 2 Teacher) has written an Inquiry based learning unit using the new English, Science and Mathematics Syllabus that she is implementing and collaborating with another teacher in Stage 2. Students are looking at animal classification as well as factors affecting the gardens in their school. Students will research Living things and conclude by planting an Orchard at school to cater for the school needs for Crunch and Sip time. Irena is also team teaching a variety of ICT skills with teachers across the school to assist and familiarise teachers with the iPads purchased this term.
Janice Azzopardi (AP and Stage 3 Teacher) has written an Inquiry based learning unit using the new English, Science and Numeracy Syllabus that she is implementing and collaborating with teachers in three Stage 3 classes. The Stage 3 unit investigates natural disasters. Students will acquire knowledge of natural events, explore and describe how natural events cause changes to the Earth’s Surface and investigate recent Australian natural disaster examples. Students realise that these disasters cause devastation to families and communities. Students will work towards creating a picture book to help children like themselves through their experiences with natural disasters. Students will realise that devastation may be minimised if warning and preparation is in place. Students work through an inquiry process to identify the key components of an emergency plan for a school and design their own procedures and posters to assist themselves and the other classes in the case of a future emergency.
Kelly Russell (AP and ESL Teacher) Kelly has been assisting in creation of units and providing support and team teaching opportunities in Inquiry learning for all teachers involved in the project.
Can you explain how you are exploring inquiry based learning?
WDPS has been exploring Inquiry learning over the past 3 years. We have worked closely with the Canadian Educator Lane Clark, however this has not been the sole area of Inquiry learning. We also belong to a community of 4 schools with whom we work closely utilising a variety of resources available. Inquiry learning has been assisted greatly by the additional supply of technology devices in the classroom. All classes now have access to 4 desktops, an IWB, 2-3 laptops and 3 iPads. The units we have created for the CC21 project are underpinned with inquiry learning.
We do not want inquiry learning to be ‘students doing projects’ but rather to develop deep understanding, promote creative and critical thinking, model and use effective oral and written communication. Through the units students will be:
✦addressing real-world questions/issues;
✦developing questioning, research and communication skills;
✦solving problems or creating solutions;
✦collaborating within and beyond the classroom;
✦developing deep understanding of content knowledge and
✦participating in the public creation and improvement of ideas and knowledge.
How did you proceed with your collaborative planning? What tools did you use?
Our team used a planning day together to begin our collaborative planning. On this day we brainstormed ideas for our Units and put together a skeleton of ideas for how these units would use Inquiry learning. We were able to work with our Education Area Literacy and Numeracy consultant, Chris Fraser who guided us on how to use the Program Builder on the BOS website. We were able to have our first attempt at creating a unit using the new syllabus with a focus on Science and English. We used a variety of web searches, sample syllabus units and resources available in our school library.
- Your technology focus seems to be iPads. Can you explain how you have used (or intend to use) them in an inquiry based learning context?
IPads are used by all our classes as well as laptops and classroom computer hubs. The focus has been on iPads this project as they are a new addition to our school. In inquiry based learning the children are given a variety “organisers” and task cards that direct students to particular websites or videos. The children are required to use these task cards by completing organisers such as SWSW (Strengths, Weaknesses and finally So Whats) Each child in the school has a Learning Journal where they are required to discuss the So Whats.
The use of iPads differs in each stage. Some stages are using the iPads to inquire and research topics e.g ES1 have taken their iPads outside to take photos of living things. These photos are then displayed on the IWB and students examine features of living things. In other stages the iPads are are being used as cameras to create videos. Other classes have taken pictures based on their inquiry and added a voice overlay to explain what they have discovered.
Can you provide any images (e.g. classroom teaching, student samples, professional development sessions) that reflect your school’s involvement in CC21 and demonstrate your team’s progress?