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Reflections on Inquiry-Based Learning

Review two or more of the four handouts:

Dual Inquiry

Stipling Model of Inquiry

Lessons of Powerful Learning (How we learn)

Analyzing Primary Sources Teacher's Guide

If prompts are helpful, here are a few suggestions:

Have you integrated Inquiry Method into your teaching?

Which model do you see as useful to you?

How does an awareness of yourself as a Teacher Learner improve your teaching?

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  • Analyzing Primary Sources:  I liked this hand-out for the the classroom. It is something that is quick and easily implemented and user friendly for the students. I think the short questions in the "observe" and "reflect" sections would be valuable starters for getting students involved in analyzing primary sources. I like the follow up activities at the bottom of the hand-out as well.

    Stripling Model of Inquiry:  I liked the visual aspects of the first page, which is something my 6th graders could read and follow.  I think the students could benefit from the quick referece check and also use it as a way to refocus what they should be looking for while reading their primary sources.  The rest of the pages would be something I would have to cover through instruction/examples and discussion for the "wonder," "investigate," "construct," "express,"and "reflect" portions. 

  • At our site, our principal encourages Inquiry-Based Learning.  We have had a few site in-services on various methods of Inquiry-Based Learning, but learning about it and utilizing it are two very different things.  I have used it but only to a limited degree.  The Dual-Inquiry would be the one I use the most.  It is fairly straightforward and I like that it emphasizes the Student as Learner and Student as Teacher which was also indicated in the handout from class focusing on the teacher rather than the student.

    I enjoyed reading the Stripling Model of Inquiry handout. I like how it focuses on six main areas: Connect, Wonder, Investigate, Construct, Express, and Reflect.  The steps encourage students to learn, question, reflect and evaluate in various ways and that is vital to students making a lasting connection to content and understandings.

    Having an awareness of myself as a Teacher Learner definitely can improve me as a teacher.  The challenge with that is the embedded idea we have of teachers, once being students ourselves in school and then as teachers in training, both of which lend themselves to a separate ,albeit outdated idea, that being a teacher and being a student are very very opposite.  I am delighted to see that concept changing both how teachers are taught to be teachers and how students are encouraged to peer teach in the classroom.  We, as teachers, are being encouraged to be Teacher Learners which is an empowering movement that can help teachers to continue to learn.

    Finally, I like Inquiry Based Learning it probes at a deeper learning skill set than the idea that every question has just one right answer.  Students and teachers alike need to be more critical thinkers and teachers being teacher-learners also helps to model to students that the learning experience is ongoing for everyone.

  • Observe, Reflect, and Question.  It truly should be a mantra to how we as teachers live our lives.  Aren't we supposed to be the image of lifelong learners after all?  Sometimes I get into the rut thinking that history is static and once I have it down I really don't need to do any more with it, and then I am reminded that I am so so so very wrong.  I don't know everything about the subjects that I teach, and I need to be willing to live up to the idea of observe, reflect, and question.  One of the things that I am so grateful for when it comes to that is having a wife that I can have these great conversations with about all sorts of things, and that helps me to reflect and question because then I get a separate point of view.

    How does my awareness as a teacher learner improve my teaching?  the short answer is: a lot.  Because if I want to learn it then I can get my kids to want to learn it.  If I see myself as a learner fist then it makes it that much easier to reach out to learners.  What is interesting to me?  How would I learn this best?  Is this video really worth it or is it just boring?  Would I learn this material best by just reading it out of the textbook?  If I can think as a learner then my students end up with a better experience.

  • Reflection #2
        The Stripling Model is an inquiry based learning engages students in active learning experiences that require them to use questioning and critical thinking skills. Six phases are reviewed in the Stripling Model.
        The Connect phase utilizes previous knowledge and explores primary sources and practice thinking skills. Wonder phase allows students to develop focus questions. Investigating promotes students to answer focus questions using primary and secondary sources. Construct phase has students organize and make conclusions to debate their findings. During the Express phase students share their knowledge and understanding from their primary source research by producing a demonstration, poster or article. The concluding phase, Reflect gives students the opportunity to think of what they’ve learned from their research and develop additional thoughts or prepare questions for a new topic.
        Overall the Stripling Model supports critical thinking, questioning, inferencing, perspective, analytical skills that link primary sources to subjects needing evidentiary support.
        Dual Inquiry Handout
    How does an awareness of yourself as a Teacher Learner improve your teaching?
        When I am able to reflect on my objectives, goals and communications skills I can better relate to my students’ needs. The Dual Inquiry Model shares similar components (Connect, Wonder, Investigate, Construct, Express, Reflect) that the Stripling Model illustrates. The Dual Inquiry model is a direct look at the questions, from a Teacher as Learner perspective and a Teacher as Teacher perspective, that would best guide an educator through the best practices of proficient and reflective teaching. As class dynamics change annually, teachers must be ready to reflect and respond to the instruction best suited for their current group. This Dual Inquiry Model provides the prompts that teachers should address to best tailor their students’ educational needs.

  • As a primary teacher, I usually find myself modeling inquiry to my students especially at the beginning of the school year.  The stripling model of inquiry consists of learning skills that are developed as the students progress through the year.  Just like how a teacher sets the tone in a classroom, encouraging inquiry needs to be carefully taught and modeled.

    I’ve noticed that my students are more engaged when I’m actively doing an activity with them and modeling think-aloud such as I wonder questions…. Another thing that they enjoy and make them more involved is when I share personal experiences and connect my teaching with things that happened to my children or me.  I’d suddenly get full and active participation during discussions.  I’m sure building this connection makes the students more interested in investigating, expressing, constructing and reflecting whether it's about Social Studies or any lessons.

    I know that using primary sources during the phases of inquiry will be great resources for teaching historical lessons.  I just wish I could find more to use for my current grade level.  Second grade Social Studies is geared towards Anchorage studies and it was difficult for me to find materials from the primary source collections.  Maybe I need to explore more of the site and be a better critical thinker.

  • I found the "How We Learn" section of the handout particularly interesting, especially as a student of history-it was enjoyable to compare/contrast the industrial vs. the information theory.  I learn using a combination of both, and try to teach using a combination of both.  As the "Lessons of Powerful Learning" states, I am often voluntarily stretched beyond my comfort zone, adapting and changing :)

    I really liked the Teacher's Guide to Analyzing Primary Sources--I think that it will be a valuable addition to how I work with students.  It also allows me to utilize the questions as *I* learn, both in this class and in life.

  • Inquiry Based Learning Reflection

    I appreciated all the handouts that were provided for all the subject matter we were discussing over these last two days. I don't always get a chance to see new things that have just come out or older things that I missed somehow.  

    Have you integrated Inquiry Method into your teaching?

    Yes, I use the reading apprenticeship strategies, KWL, and other strategies to help students.  I provide guidelines, texts, websites, and rubrics to help guide students in their thinking and research of a topic. I try to give students a variety of ways to show their knowledge of a subject (group work, written report, poster, pamphlet, etc).

    Which model do you see as useful to you?

    I appreciated the Dual Inquiry sheet. These are things that I take into consideration as I plan my lessons but are not necessarily written out. I like this visual and would like to adapt this and have it on a poster in my classroom for students to see.  I also liked the worksheet analysis on the NARA website and the Analyzing Primary Sources worksheets. These are things that I will use in my classroom next year.

    How does an awareness of yourself as a Teacher Learner improve your teaching?

    I try to consider how I learn when planning my lessons. It takes me a little longer sometimes to process what I have seen or read. I always assume that there are obstacles for students just as there are for me. I try to make sure I have given students information verbally as well as visually. As often as I can I try to do hands on projects or group discussions to assist students in their thinking and understanding.

  • Inquiry-based learning is an outstanding way to teach students to learn to reflect and think.  Our generation of students are so accustomed to “Googling” every answer that they are losing the ability to think critically and to investigate.  Even science fair projects are now done by finding a subject on the internet and following all the directions including the result and the conclusion. Kids can not answer why they wanted to do the project or how the result happened or that it is OK if the project did not work.  Connecting, investingating, reflecting and such is so important and the need to teach would be enhanced through Inquiry Based teaching. 

    Jane von Birgelen



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    Analyzing Primary Sources- I really liked working with this paper yesterday with the picture.  It made me look deeper, and dig more into what a LIVERY was because that was on the window of the car.  I also looked at the more detailed description of the picture and found out that he was a fifteen year old without a license and killed a man.  I think that sometimes we just see things on the surface and we don’t really understand the meaning of what we see.  This is what I learned by using this paper.


    I also focused on the paper “How We Learn”.  I made a connection with the brain based learning class that I took last year of making sure that our kids are learning, and being engaged with the activity so that they can learn which Skinner describes that learning are connections between stimuli and responses.  Historically speaking we learned that learning is building upon our schema.  It was nice that Skinner included both types of learning on this paper. I also think that a lot of times that we skip the refection part when learning- we memorize and spit it out on a test, and we don’t internalize the information.

  • Have you integrated Inquiry Method into your teaching? Yes, but not as much as I’d like to.  With the level I teach, inquiry takes a good deal of front loading and I found the Stripling Model a bit cumbersome. I also struggle with finding usable primary sources for the timeframe I teach which stretches from 1492 to 1860 or there abouts.

    Which model do you see as useful to you? I have used the Analyzing Primary Sources template repeatedly with interesting results. Its a great stepping stone for further inquiry and research. It also allows students to take ownership of not only their own learning but of history.

    How does an awareness of yourself as a Teacher Learner improve your teaching? The diagram for the Dual Inquiry is new to me and answers those ‘what now” questions I have struggled with while trying to implement more inquiry into my teaching. 

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