Posts Tagged ‘Inquiry’

Great Collection of Critical Thinking Videos

December 12, 2012


Courtesy of


1- Critical Thinking Part 1:  A Valuable Argument

2- Critical Thinking Part 2 : Broken Logic

3- Critical Thinking Part 3 : The Man who was Made of Straw

4- Critical Thinking Part 4 : Getting Personal


5- Critical Thinking Part 5 : The Gambler’s Fallacy


6- Critical Thinking Part 6 : A Precautionary Tale


Click on the link to read Kid’s Cute Note to the Tooth Fairy

Click on the link to read ‘Love’ as Defined by a 5-Year Old

Click on the link to read The Innocence of Youth

Click on the link to read Letting Kids Take Risks is Healthy for Them

Click on the link to read Study Reveals Children Aren’t Selfish After All



7 Tips for Transforming Your Classroom

October 1, 2012

Courtesy of esteemed educator and blogger David Truss:


Inquiry based learning is a key tenet of the Inquiry Hub. When students get to choose their own topics, with guidance and support from their teachers, peers and community members, these learners will produce thoughtful, rich and compelling answers.

By helping students connect, create and learn together, we will encourage them to look outside of their box and seek a world of potential.

* Transforming Classrooms with Inquiry: It starts with educators asking really good questions. There are a lot of resources on Inquiry Learning, here is a great list of resources to get teachers started. The Calgary Science School’s Exemplary Learning and Teaching posters are excellent examples of the resources shared in the list. Which of these resources will help you develop more inquiry based lessons?


Neon Mic' by fensterbme on flickr

When students explore their interests in-depth, they will often discover insights worth sharing with others. At the Inquiry Hub, we believe that an integral part of learning is the ability to share what you’ve learned with others in meaningful ways.

* Transforming Classrooms with Voice: Be it a presentation to a small group, the entire school, the local community or online (with the world), work with students to craft their message in thoughtful, well represented ways. How can you use recording devices, now available on almost every phone and on every computer, to get students prepared for presentations or to get students to share their work publicly?


An important skill to learn is how to ‘write to a specific audience’, and there is no better way to promote this than to give learners a legitimate audience for their work.

* Transforming Classrooms with Audience: Through the use of blogs, wikis, digital portfolios and social media tools, you can invite the world to be a participatory audience in the work that our students do. An Authentic Audience Matters! What can you do to increase the audience of your students’ work beyond the class or just you, their teacher?


Collaboration is a learned skill that is essential in today’s world. Our goal will be to have students collaborate on projects that matter, in many different communities.

* Transforming Classrooms with Community: Provide opportunities for projects to extend beyond age-group peers to include younger and/or older students, parents and teachers, community members, subject area experts, and students from around the globe. Who do you know in your community (or your online network) that can share their expertise with your students?


“In a learning organization, leaders are designers, stewards, and teachers.” ~Peter Senge
At the Inquiry Hub, students will be provided with many opportunities to be designers, stewards and teachers. We believe that every student has the potential to lead!

* Transforming Classrooms with Leadership: Buddy up with students in younger classes. Create activities and events which truly allow students to ‘run the show’. Here is a resource I developed for teaching leadership and developing a school-wide leadership program. How can you create more authentic leadership opportunities for your students in your class?


We can learn a lot from (and within) play. Play promotes discovery and invites the idea that we can have fun learning, even from our mistakes. From the MIT Media Lab’s advocation of ‘Lifelong Kindergarten‘ to Google’s promotion of employees getting 20% of their work week dedicated to personal-interest projects, it is quickly becoming apparent that ingenuity and creativity are both sparked from an environment that incorporates play into learning.

* Transforming Classrooms with Play: There is a lot of pedagogy in play (at all ages). Do we provide “gaps” in our teaching? Time and spaces where students can be creative beyond the scope of the content we are teaching? Watch this interesting slide show, think about how ‘Game design’ invites creative play, and question how you can embed some of these ideas into your lessons?


A key principle in the new learning theory, Connectivism,  considers networks to be a central metaphor for learning. The theory suggests that ‘learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions’. The COL Inquiry Hub will use a hybrid model that blends classroom, community and online experiences, and so students will be exposed to a multitude of learning networks.

* Transforming Classrooms with Networks: Skype is a great tool to bring classes from across the country or across the globe together. Who can you connect your class with, and what tools can you use, beyond Skype, to connect the learning that’s happening in other physical and digital learning spaces?

For more wonderful material and advice from David Truss please follow this link.

Click on the link to read Top Ten Funny Excuses For Being Late To School

Click on the link to read Why Spelling is Important

Click on the link to read 2 Kids Outsmart 3 Robbers

Click on the link to read the 100 Skills Parents Should Teach Their Children

Schools are Failing Gifted Students

June 21, 2012

Catering for gifted students is a significant challenge for a teacher. Teachers can go dizzy trying to find time with students at both ends of the spectrum, whilst also working to help the rest of the class progress.

I am not surprised that many schools have struggled to properly cater for gifted students:

SCHOOLS are failing the state’s best and brightest students, a damning parliamentary report has found.

A 15-month inquiry has found the education provided to gifted students is often inadequate – sometimes with severe and devastating consequences.

The report, tabled in Parliament today, said up to 85,000 Victorian students fit the category of gifted.

“These students are frequently frustrated and disengaged,” the education and training committee report said.

“And rightfully so: they are being let down by the education system. These neglected students represent our state’s future visionaries and innovators.”

All teachers should be capable of recognising and teaching the gifted, the report said.

Education Minister Martin Dixon welcomed the report and said he “looked forward to responding to it in detail”.

“Our job in education is to engage, excite and extend students,” he said.

This problem is very real, but let’s not forget the difficulties teachers face with an ever-increasing workload and an overcrowded curriculum.

Students Encouraged to Question … sometimes

May 21, 2012

I am a big advocate for encouraging children to think for themselves. I have no desire to brainwash my students or have them align their thinking to my own worldview. On the contrary, little gives me more pleasure than watching my students reach their own conclusions and engage in a robust exchange of ideas. On the flip side, it can be a bit disappointing that many children are so used to being spoonfed and mollycoddled , that it is becoming quite rare for a young child to form their own ideas.

That’s why I was deeply disturbed to read about the teacher who publicly chastised her student for daring to criticise President Obama:

A North Carolina high school teacher was captured on video shouting at a student who questioned President Obama and suggesting he could be arrested for criticizing a sitting president. 

The Salisbury Post, which first reported on the YouTube video, did not identify the teacher in question, who is reportedly on staff at North Rowan High School. The video does not show faces, but the heated argument in the classroom can clearly be heard. 

“Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?” the teacher said toward the end of the argument, telling the student, “you are not supposed to slander the president.” 

The student told the teacher that one can’t be arrested “unless you threaten the president.” 

The argument started when the classroom began discussing news reports that Mitt Romney bullied a fellow student when he was in high school. 

“Didn’t Obama bully somebody though?” a student in the classroom asked, referring to an incident Obama described in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.” 

The teacher said she didn’t know — and the argument quickly escalated, as the teacher yelled at the student, telling him “there is no comparison.” 

“He’s running for president,” she said of Romney. “Obama is the president.”

 The student argued that both candidates are “just men,” but the teacher said: “Let me tell you something … you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom.” 

According to the Salisbury Post, the teacher is still employed and has not been suspended. 

“The Rowan-Salisbury School System expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom. This incident should serve as an education for all teachers to stop and reflect on their interaction with students,” the school said in a statement, published by the Post. “Due to personnel and student confidentiality, we cannot discuss the matter publicly.”

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