Well, it’s a good thing I hadn’t planned on trying an inquiry on SNOW this year. With the unusually warm weather, I am wondering if maybe an inquiry on climate change would be more appropriate! However, that would be a rather depressing topic for 5 year olds (as it would be for people any age), and regardless of the lack of snow, there is still plenty to explore about Winter.
During the last week of school before the holidays, we had our team meeting to make sure we all have an idea of what we will be doing when we jump back into the game in January.
Here’s what I am planning on doing when we get back:
- I’d like to do a Winter Web of ideas, to gather what the students know about “What Happens in Winter”. Following a field trip to a bird sanctuary in early December, we have been reading books and talking about what people, plants, animals and bugs are doing as the weather gets colder. A Winter Web will help anchor the ideas and vocabulary we are hoping to expand upon through our inquiry.
- Winter Wonder Wall – A Knowledge Building Circle is so helpful for giving students a space to ask their questions, and where possible, to have them answered by their peers. We write “I wonder” questions that need more exploration on sentence strips and will post them on the board beside the Winter Web to be answered as discoveries are made. To help with our Winter Inquiry, we are really looking forward to a presentation from the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre where we will learn to play some Inuit Games as well as see and touch Inuit clothing and tools.
- Assessment/Evaluation – Following threads of wonder, each of the educators for our classes (2 ECE educators, 1 English teacher and 1 French Immersion teacher) will provide opportunities, such as the live Bear Cam of two grizzlies hibernating at https://www.grousemountain.com/wildlife-refuge/bear-cam , for the students in both classes to explore in more depth an aspect of the Winter Inquiry (hibernation, adaptation, migration, etc.) The goal is for the students to show us what they have learned about “What Happens in Winter”.
I am not sure how this inquiry will evolve. I can imagine our classrooms being completely transformed into wild places where the sand and water tables have hibernating reptiles and insects deep below the surfaces; where the cubbies are stuffed not with backpacks and coats, but furry animals curled up for a long sleep, and where tables and shelves have evidence of the life cycle of various plants. And in the middle of the space (with the windows wide open), the children, dressed for the cold, are playing Inuit Games. Sounds rather perfect, however, we will have to see where the students decide to take their learning. Stay tuned!