Inquiry in a Standards Focused World

I was in a meeting last week where the idea of integration of subjects into a “unit of inquiry” came up.  One of the comments that was said was “Don’t forget that many of your language standards are addressed during unit work.”  Another teacher replied yes, but not all.  Which lead to a whole big discussion, but it got me thinking of a teaching experience that a fellow teacher told me about.

This teacher had taught in a small inquiry school in Australia where the students drove the inquiry. She had a parent tell her that when she asked her child what math he had learned he always said “We didn’t do math today.”

The students comment made this teacher think.  She knew that the students had learned math, she had balanced the days activities against her standards and knew that she had been covering what she needed to.  The problem that she realised was the kids didn’t “see” the math that they were doing as math or any other subject.

This prompted her to start having a daily conversation with her students to “analyse” what they had done during the day.  Helping the students through discussion to realize what they had learned during the day’s activities, allowed the students to begin to “see” their learning as it related to designated subjects.

I believe that having a conversation daily with your students is a key aspect in teaching.  I have found that in PYP schools, many kids feel that they don’t do science because we never use the word science.  Having the conversation allows the students to reflect on their learning while making connections to the topics/subjects that are “typical” in school.

These conversations will also allow teachers to see the connections to the standards that they are judged against.  I suspect that they will find out that they cover many more standards across their curriculum than they first thought.

Photo Credit: http://cultureofyes.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/inquiry.png

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