Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Combat Doodling in Books

I have a group of boys that enjoy doodling and drawing in class time. A hot tip given to me by a colleague was to provide time for students to doodle or draw. Providing clear guidelines and expectations for each page of work, students are given 10-15 minutes per day to draw whatever they like. They must date the work when started and the teacher sign it off before a new page of work is started. Girls tend to write a story or letters while boys do their drawing. If boys know that they are allowed to doodle or draw at a later date then they will happily wait until that time of day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Using Trevor Bond's Questioning Model to Teach Questioning Skills

After a cluster workshop by Trevor Bond about questioning. I visited his website and re created his model to use with my Year 5/6 students.
The model requires the students to have knowledge of the Seven Servants using 7 levels of questioning. The levels are not ranked rather students are taught to use the most suitable question to gather relevant infomation required.
e.g. a level 3 question is just as effective as a level 7 question.

In order to teach the students, they needed to have an understanding of the jargon, e.g. contextual words/phrases/seven servants etc. Each child has a copy of the model in their Newsboard book and one is on permanent display in the classroom for frequent reference to.

The language was taught explicitly.

Using Harry Hood's Newsboard actitivity daily the students initially asked a range of questions relating to the topic. I then typed up each question onto a grid which was printed out. The students in pairs would then rate each question. As a class we then used the same questions enlarged. We would then discuss each using the language of questioning. This activitiy is repeated 2x per week and over the last 6 weeks and the understanding of questioning has developed as part of the children's psyche. They can tell me the difference between the level of questioning with confidence.

Term Two: Saving our Pool Inquiry

In Term two students in Room 16 focussed their inquiry on the local swimming pool. The local council felt that the cost of maintaining the pool was too much so intended to either close the pool or offer it to the community to fund. The students felt that with only one other pool in the town it was important that the pool remained opened. With lots of work and investigating the students managed to put together a mock submission to the council, explaining their views using factual information. It was very successful and had real meaning.

Term 3 Inquiry Focus: Hen Farming

At the momemt Room 16 are looking at Battery Farming vs Free Range Farming of 'Chickens'. We are using the inquiry model to guide us through the inquiry. Our first stage of ignition was to find out what we knew and where we would go. The children didn't know alot and they tended to ask lots of questions that seemed very basic to adults, but to them it was where they were at. It seemed to be going really well with me providing lots of information to get them questioning. With lots of interuptions this term we are still working through at week 8 our discovery. Most children have found relevant information and next week we will be looking at using the information in a meaningful way. As you can see with the blogs the children have been writing they are enjoying the inquiry learning process.