Well, I am a self confessed wanderer. A gypsy spirit. An explorer of experiences. Having clocked up 19 houses and 5 countries in 16 years, some might say, ” a little crazy”? However, in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.” And exploration does not have to leave the house, at all.
Exploring explorers; It is what the child becomes in a good classroom. If the whole concept of learning is really about being an explorer and learning HOW to explore, I BELIEVE we can teach a child how to explore the tools available to them, in order to find the answers to their questions.
The International Baccalaureate’s PYP is wholly based around inquiry. The 21st century expectations for learners is based around how children learn and teaching them to become self-sufficient with their learning. Think TRANS-DISCIPLINARY SKILLS! Hello world? Its the IB PYP here, we’ve been doing this for a long time and rather successfully too.
|A Complete Unit of Inquiry for the Theme of Where We Are in Place and Time.
The first thing about learning is recognising what we know and defining what it is we want to know. And so the great PROVOCATION is implemented shortly after the pre-assessment. Find out what the kids bring to the table within their myriad of background knowledge and then bring out those amazing questions! This is often my favourite beginning; they never fail to surprise me with what it is they want to know. We log our questions in our INQUIRY BANK and continue with this throughout our unit of inquiry. It is a living breathing thing, this inquiry bank; constantly being updated and added to. Its a great source in itself to show children what higher level questioning can look like, as one question from one person leads to another related question from someone else.
The World Upside Down.
Take for example an antique looking map, carefully pinned to the wall UPSIDE DOWN! Very deliberately upside down! You would be amazed at how different it makes the world look and how it doesn’t immediately click within the brain that really, its just UPSIDE DOWN. But, my oh my, the places it takes the children within their minds.
Not The Door Knob in A Vase Trick
Yes, really. It was that simple. I brought in an old brass door knob and stuck it inside a cheap old vase. Then, my fourth graders and I looked at it and INFERRED all of the thing sthat this strange discovery could be. We wrote our questions, built upon our questions and came up with many wonderful thoughts as to what, where, how, when and who. It makes me smile how easily we can engage THINKING in these kids who are so open to exploring.