Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt’s Inquiry Classroom

While I was not able to attend this workshop due to having to work, I listened to the audio recording of my peer’s visit. Inquiry is something we have been talking about since day 1 of this program, and I struggle with wrapping my head around what it really looks like in the classroom. What I was looking forward to about this opportunity to meet with Bathurst-Hunt was seeing what it looks like in practice with elementary school students. I hear her book is an incredible resource and I hope to grab a copy one day.

Image result for rebecca bathurst hunt

What I found interesting from the audio clip:
– George Jay has doubled in divisions in 5 five years
– She always reflects on her Educator Heart to ensure shes focusing on whats important to her and that shes not overwhelming herself with work (Visual 1)
– You may spend all of September building relationships, and the learning will follow. Get out from behind your desk… don’t sit down in practicum!
– Inquiry: What about the kids who don’t have questions or anything to say? Whose ‘Wonder’ bubble is blank?
– Always start your lessons, activities, units, with a question! Dont say “Were learning about patterns” but rather “Does anyone know what a pattern is?” and build off of knowledge already in the room.
– Types of student inquiry. (Visual 2)
– Inquiry needs to be structured to be successful. It is not free time.
– Structured: all engaging in one inquiry together/ one essential question. How to animals survive?
– Controlled: How to bears survive? Salmon? Wolves? Students pick and research
– Guided: Maybe six choices and different ways to represent their learning
– Free inquiry: Any topic or subject area not tied to content.
– Where do you do curriculum? You do it in the shallow end of the pool. Know curriculum and then use structured inquiry to find answers.
– As a new teacher, try your best and take the pressure off of yourself for not knowing the curriculum.
– How to inspire questions? (Visual 3)
– Classroom environment important: allow for choice and voice!
– A Provocation is any meaningful and rich experience to promote thinking, reflection, curiosity, excitement, and questioning; could be a set-up, station, a movie-clip, guest speaker, field trip. Strive to have as many of these as you can in your classroom. You will find lots of prior knowledge and build on that, share it with other students. (Visual 4).
– Set-ups can look like: artifacts, newspaper articles, play toys, tinker station, tools, random shapes and objects.
– Picture books are great provocations! Shared her favourite anchor books. (See visual 5)
– Following provocation: What do you See, What do you Know, What do you Wonder. This leads into a Wonderwall or KWL chart. The wall can be updated monthly to match the current inquiry and guide learning.
– If their questions help you meet your curriculum, use them! They’re curious and meet the curriculum, that is rich learning.
– GIFS she has found to be useful as they’re quick and easy clips so analyze and inspire questions and wonderings.
– Whats next after provocation? Research booklets, inquiry journal based on I see, parking lot for post-it notes, I know, I wonder… Great book to begin inquiry (see visual 6).
– Practicing inquiry: for one lesson each, just focus on noticing, making connections, asking wonder questions, etc.
– Uses Padlet to capture things while in someone else’s classroom. Can also create “shelves” to organize learning, make lists, and share with each other/students.
– PicCollage EDU app for taking photos outside and then adding text, then they can share it with the class.

I liked that she made inquiry seem less scary and gave concrete examples of what it looks like in a classroom. I am surprised how prevalent it is in her classroom since she teaches kindergarten. I assumed they would be too young for it as it is not structured enough, but who has more questions than a five-year-old!

Visual 1
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Visual 6
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