Inquiring Minds

Being a specialist teacher provides us with the big picture of our students. Literally, we observe the spectrum of learning on a daily basis, we observe a range of learning styles and therefore we have tendency to make generalizations.

An interesting trend happens around Grade 2 and Grade 3, students struggle to ask questions. I have given them beautiful action packed nonfiction books and they just ask if they should research and take notes. When I prompted them by asking what they are wondering about, I'm met with blank stares.

Questioning is on the mind's of many educators, not just mine. Asking questions, gives the learner power over their learning.

So for the past two years I have made it my mission to encourage questioning from multiage to Grade 5, especially when beginning research.  I've got a variety of tools including little question rings. I use a lot of 'think/pair/share' since talking about their interests or wonderings seems to help promote deeper thinking. We ask, we draw and we read pictures.

Progress is being made, my older students (and their teachers) are getting better at formulating quesitons to direct their inquiries. Students are more likely to select nonfiction for their pleasure reading. Nonfiction books are important for a balanced reading diet. And when they return their books, they tell me not what they learned but what they are wondering about.


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