We began on Monday with an introduction to inquiry learning. First we listed all the things we think we knew about the topic I chose (based on what I might encounter this summer at Glacier National Park). I read aloud a chapter on grizzly bears from Ted Lewin's Tooth and Claw: Animal Adventures in the Wild. Then we listed all the things we learned from the passage and crossed out things that were incorrect from our first list.
Never can I be completely engaged with a topic if I have little interest in it. Knowing the same to be true of students, I asked them to list topics about which they might be curious. They were delighted to have books about those topics in hand yesterday! We have been learning to write good questions about things that make us wonder. Wonderings, we have called them.
Today we worked on visual literacy (and later on, text clues). I started with Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother photograph and was astounded at what they wondered. They even pointed out something I have never noticed in the years I have looked at the photograph: the mother indifferently holds a baby in her left arm. The second practice photograph was of the Chrysler Building. They loved the gargoyle-like eagles (unlike the scarier gargoyles on the Chicago Public Library) and again generated incredible questions. Moving to their own books and images was easy! Tomorrow we start talking about our wondering thought processes.