Module 2: Learning Log 1

18 Sep

Another slow start for Module 2.  I don’t want to appear apathetic about this class!  I feel very torn by responsibilities at work, home, with friends (best friend from high school’s wedding this weekend, traveling involved) and a topic that really does interest me like collaboration in schools, specifically for inquiry based learning (which I want to feel more comfortable doing in my own classroom) for no other reason than to avoid the type of classroom environment in this popular SNL sketch.  (If you’ve never seen Jerry Seinfeld as a history teacher and David Spade, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley as his students, it is worth watching!)

In the beginning of the module, I read the article “For the Best Answers, Ask Tough Questions” by high school librarian and visionary Joyce Valenza.  Valenza encourages teachers to ask “fat” questions that require students to think critically, evaluate sources, and synthesize information rather than “skinny” questions that just require students to memorize facts.  At the end of the article, Valenza listed numerous websites teachers could use to develop their questioning/ inquiry skills with their students.  I wanted to take a look at a few, but found that many of the links no longer worked or the sites were out of date because the article had been written about 10 years ago.

So, I looked around to see if I could find some new sites that relate to the info/ methods in Valenza’s article:

Asking Good Questions” by Kenneth Vogler show how questions can be styled to fit the traditional and revised Blooms taxonomies.  He also explains 6 questioning “sequences” like “broad to narrow” or “narrow to broad” “relevant digressions” “circular path” etc. that could work with all grade levels and subject areas.

Concept to Classroom” offers teachers a step by step guide to implementing inquiry based learning in their classrooms, while offering corresponding theory to go along with the inquiry based approach.  One of the ideas I thought was most interesting is “while knowledge is constantly increasing, so is the boundary of the unknown.” I think older students would understand and appreciate this ever increasing area of knowledge and view it as a reason to inquire on their own.

Project Based Learning: Real World Issues Motivate Students” is an article by Diane Curtis for Edutopia.  Curtis offers a rationale for challenging students at a young age. She notes that benefits of PBL include higher levels of student engagement, higher test scores, and a greater appreciation for how their educations “fit in” with real world issues.  Three videos from different subjects/ grade levels are included.

Reading Valenza’s article and viewing these sites has made me think critically about the questions I ask my students.  As a future SLMS who hopes to collaborate with teachers, knowing questioning/ inquiry skills will be the foundation to building relevant projects for students as well as purposeful use of the library’s resources.



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