Curious Homework: An Inquiry Project for Students and Parents Photo credit: iStockphoto International educator Scot Hoffman is a big believer in the power of curiosity to drive learning. After nearly two decades of teaching around the globe, he also realizes that school isn't always so hospitable to inquiring minds. (As Einstein said, "It's a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.") That's why Hoffman has developed The Curiosity Project, a self-directed learning experience that engages students, parents, and teachers as collaborators in inquiry. I first met Hoffman a couple years ago during a visit to the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India. Here are highlights of our recent conversations about The Curiosity Project. What was the inspiration for this idea? Scot Hoffman: In about my third year of teaching -- this was back in the 1990s -- there were a couple students I just wasn't reaching. Another inspiration was a set of questions that a former professor, Dr. What is curiosity? What did you notice? How has the project evolved?
Caine's Arcade | A cardboard arcade made by a 9-year-old boy. Why Inquiry Learning is Worth the Trouble Visualization of SLA principal Chris Lehmann's 2011 talk: guiding kids' to thinking about how they think. Nearly seven years after first opening its doors, the Science Leadership Academy public magnet high school* in Philadelphia and its inquiry-based approach to learning have become a national model for the kinds of reforms educators strive towards. But in a talk this past weekend at EduCon 2.5, the school’s sixth-annual conference devoted to sharing its story and spreading its techniques, Founding Principal Chris Lehmann insisted that replicating his schools approach required difficult tradeoffs. “This is not easy. This is not perfect,” Lehmann told a crowd of devotees stuffed inside one of the Center City school’s second-floor science classrooms on Sunday. “There are really challenging pieces of this, and we should be OK with this.” “Inquiry means living in the soup. “To me it comes down to process,” Lehmann said. “Oh God, yeah,” Lehmann said in response to the latter teacher. Related
5 Tools to Help Students Learn How to Learn Helping students learn how to learn: That’s what most educators strive for, and that’s the goal of inquiry learning. That skill transfers to other academic subject areas and even to the workplace where employers have consistently said that they want creative, innovative and adaptive thinkers. Inquiry learning is an integrated approach that includes kinds of learning: content, literacy, information literacy, learning how to learn, and social or collaborative skills. Students think about the choices they make throughout the process and the way they feel as they learn. Those observations are as important as the content they learn or the projects they create. “We want students thinking about their thinking,” said Leslie Maniotes a teacher effectiveness coach in the Denver Public Schools and one of the authors of Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. “When they are able to see where they came from and where they got to it is very powerful for them.”
How ‘Deprogramming’ Kids From How to ‘Do School’ Could Improve Learning iStock One day, Adam Holman decided he was fed up with trying to cram knowledge into the brains of the high school students he taught. They weren’t grasping the physics he was teaching at the level he knew they were capable of, so he decided to change up his teaching style. “I felt I had to remove all the barriers I could on my end before I could ask my kids to meet me halfway,” Holman said. “The kids realized this made sense,” Holman said. “It turned my students into classmates and collaborators because I didn’t have a system in place to deny the collaboration,” Holman said. Holman didn’t just change his grading policies. At the start of each class period Holman and his students did icebreakers and read and discussed articles about how human brains learn best. The class read Timothy Slater’s article, “When Is a Good Day Teaching a Bad Thing?” Holman also asked students to read “Sermons For Grumpy Campers,” by Richard Felder, a graduate level professor who never lectured.
Is School Enough? Documentary Film Delves In A documentary film premiering on public television today — “Is School Enough?” — takes the viewer inside the lives of teens from various backgrounds and reveals the importance of tapping into students’ passions to drive their learning. These are some of the covered topics. Students at English High School in Boston helped pilot a social networking and planning tool called Community Planit. “I’m always trying to keep my ear to the ground to get my kids involved with meaningful projects,” said Xavier Rozas, instruction technology coordinator at English High School. “If it’s real and it’s meaningful and the kids understand it and they understand what putting their effort into something is going to deliver, they will go hard and do their best.” “At first when he brought it up I didn’t know what to do because we’re teens and he basically wanted us to act like adults, to speak up like adults,” said Xavier, an English High School student who participated in the project. Related
How to Create Your Own Textbook — With or Without Apple By Dolores Gende Apple’s iBooks2 and authoring app has created big waves in education circles. But smart educators don’t necessarily need Apple’s slick devices and software to create their own books. How educators think of content curation in the classroom is enough to change their reliance on print textbooks. As the open education movement continues to grow and become an even more rich trove of resources, teachers can use the content to make their own interactive textbooks. Here’s how to create a digital textbook and strategies for involving the students in its development in three steps. 1. Teachers can work with colleagues within their subject area departments and beyond the walls of the classroom to aggregate resources through social bookmarking. Also try Paper.li or The Twitted Times, which will sift through your connections’ resources and organize them. 2. One of the most user-friendly tools to post resources for your course is LiveBinders. 3. Cybrary Man Educational Resources
The Challenges and Realities of Inquiry-Based Learning Inquiry Learning Teaching Strategies Getty By Thom Markham Teachers in a rural southeast Michigan high school were recently discussing the odd behavior of the senior class. The teachers’ explanation: Project-based learning. Here’s the back story. Stories like this are about to become more important to educators. This is a steep challenge because it forces education to cross a philosophic divide. Standardizing Valuable Skills To put a new system in place, a first key step is to disseminate and train every teacher on a clear set of performance standards to assess skills required for effective inquiry, such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. The challenge: Right now, a standards-based environment forces teachers to straddle the inquiry process. Assessing Collaborative Learning The iconic model of the individual scholar has been replaced by team-based inquiry. Making Depth of Thinking Evident The challenge: In inquiry, process is as critical as the product.
Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? : NPR Ed The Limbic Reward System lights up when curiosity is piqued. LA Johnson/NPR hide caption itoggle caption LA Johnson/NPR The Limbic Reward System lights up when curiosity is piqued. LA Johnson/NPR How does a sunset work? So Blackwell, who teaches science at Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High in Davis, Calif., had her students watch a video of a sunset on YouTube as part of a physics lesson on motion. "I asked them: 'So what's moving? Once she got the discussion going, the questions came rapid-fire. Students asking questions and then exploring the answers. Blackwell, like many others teachers, understands that when kids are curious, they're much more likely to stay engaged. But why? Our Brains On Curiosity "In any given day, we encounter a barrage of new information," says Charan Ranganath, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis and one of the researchers behind the study. Ranganath was curious to know why we retain some information and forget other things.
Seeing, wondering, theorizing, learning: Inquiry-based instruction with Kishia Moore There they go — Mitchell County teacher Kishia Moore and her class of seventeen first graders — up Gem Mountain not far from their school, Greenlee Primary, to pan for gemstones for use in their NC Standard Course of Study-mandated science unit on minerals. And here the kids come, back down the hill, dirty, damp, and hauling impossibly heavy — for the kids’ size, that is — loads of rocks that during the next five to six weeks, they will study, sort, measure, weigh, scratch, break if possible, discuss, compare, draw pictures of, polish in noisy rock tumblers, and, ultimately, fashion into items of jewelry. If Ms. Moore employed traditional teaching methods, her next tasks would be to explain the sorting and measuring processes and then direct her students through those processes. The definition Ms. The theory Ms. How, it may be legitimately asked, can traditional teaching methods be characterized as obstructing learning? Answers Ms. The method Ms. Next, Ms. Classroom activity Thinking maps
Harvard Education Publishing Group - Home Last year, when Sherryl Hauser, a third-year math teacher, had to plan a project to develop her teaching, it was an easy choice: differentiated instruction. “One of the reasons I picked differentiating is that I kept trying it and it kept failing,” she says. It wasn’t as if she didn’t understand the concept. Hauser had coauthored an article, “Constructing Complexity for Differentiated Learning,” in the August 2009 issue of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. But in going from preservice grad student to full-time teacher at Sage Park Middle School in Windsor, Conn., Hauser saw a gap between theory and practice. Suddenly, “tiering”—or varying the difficulty of work for students based on readiness—had a twist: Kids didn’t like it when a classmate’s paper looked a lot different or had more problems on it. This method is best embodied in the work of Carol Ann Tomlinson, whose books, videos, and DVD have been embraced by many school districts and professional developers.
Reading Comprehension and Considerate Text, Teaching Today, Glencoe Online Inquiry-Based Approaches to Learning Few things excite teachers more than when their students take over the role of grand inquisitor. When students begin formulating questions, risking answers, probing for relationships, we know they've entered the zone where learning occurs. Not surprisingly, few things excite students more than when they are actively engaged in learning so much so that they forget the clock. These experiences are the goal of inquiry-based learning, an active, student-centered, educational method whose roots go back to the educational philosopher John Dewey. The basis of the inquiry-based approach is to facilitate student-generated questions as the core part of the learning process. After students learn effective questioning techniques, they begin researching to pursue answers and will, consequently, make their own discoveries. What are the steps of inquiry-based learning? What makes inquiry-based education different? What are the advantages to inquiry-based learning?