Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Opening Minds Ch. 4-6
As I previewed the table of contents when I started the book, I automatically wanted to read Chapter 5: Any Other Ways to Think about That? Inquiry, Dialogue, Uncertainty and Difference. Those four focus words caught my attention, but I waited until I finally got to chapter 5.
Inquiry: Automatically in my mind I think of Wonderopolis and building wonder in my classroom. Inquiry is the basis of questioning and learning. Johnston connects "Uncertainty is the foundation of inquiry and research." I envision this statement like a chain locked fence and all three together build a higher level foundation in my classroom. I also was reinforced as he discussed the importance of teachers allowing students to see them be uncertain, to ask questions, to admit that they might not know the answer. I am all about that in my class already! Another powerful tool he suggests is sticky notes, to allow students the chance to wonder. Leaving a picture book open to an illustration and have students leave their thinking on the note and then come back later to continue reading the book. I loved how that gives every student a voice in my classroom. Finally I think I have my first bulletin board heading: What does a conversation sound like if there is confusion? Reinforcing the idea that confusion builds learning and inquiry.
Dialogue: "A classroom is one in which there are lots of open questions and extended exchanges among the students." This opening sentence made me stop to pause and reflect. The key for me goes back to my opening paragraph and key phrases that allow for open questions. With the extended discussions, students are able to comprehend more difficult texts (ie: van den Branden) which connects with Common Core. The students would be focused on meaning and taking responsibility for their own learning through extended dialogue conversations. For those students who are not connecting, I am thinking about using the sticky notes differently this year so all students have a voice in conversations. For example, post an opening day question allow students to reflect, post and then begin the conversations later in the day. Finally another bulletin board idea might be: What are the tools for growing minds? Something else for me to reflect on as I read the next three chapters.
This week's #CyberPD is hosted by Jill Fisch at My Primary Passion. Thank you for hosting this week. I am very excited to read the other blog posts and continue my learning.