A Switch to Inquiry or Project-Based Learning

A Switch to Inquiry or Project-Based Learning

A few weeks ago, I posted about how one of my students had criticized the unit on friendship and mental health. It sent me into a bit of a spiral for a few days as I mulled over what to do. I had put a lot of effort into that unit and it was difficult to receive direct, negative feedback.

I had to reach out to people I could trust, and who had experience in this type of thing—Dave, my FA, and my friend Annalucinda, who is a long-time teacher. With their help, I was able to turn this situation into a positive. I realized that I was lucky to find out that the students weren’t engaged. It allowed me to adapt my lessons to make them more engaging.

I overcame that difficulty by pivoting my unit plan and turning the Friendship & Mental Health Unit into an inquiry project, or ‘Project-Based Learning’ project as Leyton calls in It’s All About Thinking, the green book. On pages 158-167, the authors (Schneller, Watson and Widdess) go over in great detail a project out of Kim Ondrik’s grade 6/7 classroom, called The Ozone Challenge.

I basically stole that entire unit for my Friendship and Mental Health inquiry project, switching out all the content and assessment to meet the needs of my class and topic.

The Project – building a website together as a team

One of the things I’ve learned in my time in the class is that the students are really interested in technology. They jump at the opportunity to use devices in the classroom. With my background in website design, I thought I could share my knowledge and have the class build a website as a team.

Because this is a complex project, all students will have to be involved. I’m looking forward to it. And the students are as well! When I announced the project, they leapt out of their seats. When I asked what roles each student wanted, some of them asked for more than one role.

I’m looking forward to hammering out the details of this project in my long practicum.