The tour guide on the side – inquiry outside the classroom

Field trips. Barking at the children to not touch, wander off, fidget and listen attentively all while in the public eye. It's stressful. Does it need to be? Inquiry learning is something teachers plan for in the safety of the¬†school environment. However, once we take children on field trips, it's easy to slip back into... Continue Reading →

Memory is fallible – talk less, video more

One of the things I used to do a lot in class during provocations was interview my students during the provocation. Instead of writing copious notes or telling the children what I saw/was seeing, I could simply video the reflections for later. Memory is highly fallible. How often have you noticed and named something only... Continue Reading →

Home learning – now in video response

I'm not a huge fan of homework. It takes away from time children could be spending with their friends and families as well as time to get bored. However, I'm required to set it. So rather than give the children a 'task' to do every week, there's a simple statement which the children will then... Continue Reading →

Using time and space: visualising Singapore’s history through iPads

Our opening unit of the inquiry for the year is 'human exploration results in new discoveries' with a particular focus on Singapore and the different waves of migration that have shaped the country's history. There are two aspects to this unit that the children would likely find challenging. Firstly that waves of people from different... Continue Reading →

What does inquiry look like?

One of the challenges of moving from the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) to the Primary Years Programme (PYP) has been the amount of jargon to get my head around, Trans-disciplinary themes, the learner profile, essential elements, approaches to learning. On one level I have enjoyed attaching language to learning processes and things I've done in... Continue Reading →

Harkness discussion in Elementary Schools

This a classroom idea I stole from Chad Walsh and Sam Sherratt at Time Space education, the Harkness discussion. Put simply it is a discussion where classroom discussions are tracked by a teacher (or a better yet a child). The observer draw lines between participants in a discussion and jot down interesting ideas in the... Continue Reading →

Sorting out, not tuning in 18/365

It's the start if a new term, a new unit. Instead spending the week tuning in, the children have been sorting out patterns and non-patterns, lines of symmetry in their natural environment. They've been deciding where to go to take pictures to tell the story of life in Singapore. These ideas might seem disconnected. But... Continue Reading →

What is the Big Idea (Friday)?

Over the last few years I evolved a tradition in my class called Big Idea Friday. It started out from my own learning where I try to write a weekly blog post about something that I've been thinking about in my teaching practice. I found the process for processing the end of a busy week... Continue Reading →

Weekly Reflection: Who exactly needs to be tuning in?

We are inquiring into sharing the planet, rain forests. It's 'time' to tune in. But who exactly is tuning in? Often we think it is the teachers job to set out photos and displays, find videos to watch to lure students into finding out more about the central idea. We have to preload them so... Continue Reading →

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