Workshops, ideas, mini-inquiries…” What do good learners do to help themselves learn?”


It’s always the best when you come back from a workshop completely invigorated.  Attending Kath Murdoch’s Inquiry workshop was better than I would have expected because of how empowered I felt afterwards.  I had been toying with the idea of having a Makerspace in my classroom for sometime but struggling with how to use it in a way that was meaningful and as connected as possible.  Kath’s ideas on #personalinquiry times, #passionprojects, #geniushour, and #iTime fit in perfectly with this notion.  A time where students are focused on something that is meaningful to them, yet where they are working on all of those skills that make them good human beings.  Fortunately, working in an IB School, we already have a common language for those skills – Approaches to Learning and Learner Profiles.

Kath Murdoch helped me come up with a way to introduce that set of language where it would come out of discussion and conversations from the students.  Posing them the question “What do good learners do to help themselves learn?” and seeing the answers they came up with.  Unfortunately, but also not unsurprising, in a chalk talk students came up with many traditional ways of thinking (see image above).


However, as the students really started thinking they came up with new ideas.  Even though originally they had those traditional perspectives about learning, they soon realized (thank goodness) that maybe they don’t do those things all the time in this classroom.  Starting off with a question this broad allowed us to take it in multiple directions and we soon came up with a variety of “experts” we could ask.  Everyone from our Digital Literacy Coach, our STEAM teacher, Art, teacher Librarian to our parents, sisters, and brothers!

In the end students became reporters, investigators, videographers, interviewers, researchers, collators of information, and so everything in between…

Recording notes while listening to an expert answer the question.
Bringing back information they got from their families and reporting it back in a ’round table’ (horseshoe white board table) discussion.

Listening, and recording information from our peers before adding it to our growing list of ideas.

Video recording our interviews, in order to ensure we get every important piece of information.
Being an interviewer and remembering the question to ask our experts.

Re-watching our videos, editing them and adding it to our BookCreators to ensure we have all the essential information needed.

Adding our own thoughts and ideas to the new information we have collected.

Sorting out the information and grouping them into similar categories.


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