Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Inquiry Workshop...opening minds with text sets

"In a dynamic world, when you run into difficulty it just means things are becoming more interesting.  Challenging activities present no threat, only the promise of learning something new." (page 12)
-Peter Johnston (Opening Minds)

The promise of learning something new.  This message is one that I have continued to think about after participating in this year's CyberPD.  Yes, I want students to learn new knowledge, but I also want students to know how to adjust when a challenging text or task presents itself.  I had shared about using Design Squad to reach all students in an inquiry workshop and to build teamwork with inquiry-based tasks.  These tasks promote not only brainstorming, designing, building, and testing...but most importantly redesigning and conversations.  Now what about a text that would ground this thinking to our world?

I discovered the book, Mistakes that Worked: 40 Familiar Inventions and How They Came to Be.  On page 1 you read, "Intelligence is not to make no mistakes.  But quickly to see the good in them."  This is the message I want students to hear right from the start of the school year as we use begin to use conversations to learn from each other.  This book includes the invention of coca-cola, doughnut holes, dog guides for people who are blind, silly putty, and even places in our world that were named on accident.  By using different text sections from this book, students can read about times in our world when challenging activities presented something new.  I know I am grateful for the accident that led to the invention of the chocolate chip cookie!  Students will have the opportunity to choose the text section that they would like to explore.  This choice will drive the student's engagement into the text. Then, when groups come together to discuss their text.  Students will share the text that impacted their strategies and engagement, hold on to their thinking by jotting, and synthesize in a group about how their big ideas connect to our world.  By using various text sections from this book, students can use familiar inventions to drive their motivation to continue to make learning more interesting in the year to come.

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