Now that it’s Term 3 and you can finally get your teach on…I find it’s a great time to delve deep into your inquiry unit. At my school, student led inquiry units is encouraged – allowing the students to really pursue the different areas that interest them. I absolutely LOVE this approach to teaching and want to explore HOW to implement this approach within your classroom today! It’s the best kept secret for how to extend your student’s attention spans.
#1 Expanding your ability to “direct” student led learning
The reason I love student led learning is because the students get SO much out of it. By using student led learning, the students are so much more engaged because you’re pitching it to their level. By letting the students take the lead, set the tone and the direction – I find that it increases the student’s attention spans and results in less disruptions because they are so captivated!! This is such a wonderful thing to see in your classroom.
Here’s how I use student led inquiry in my classroom:
- Choose a topic. I like to choose the overarching topic for the inquiry unit. Some of my absolute FAVOURITES to teach are Australian Animals, Bugs, Butterflies, Plants, Frogs, Water. Are you picking up a theme?!! 🌱 My students love nature and animals, so I find that choosing a broad topic that captures their imagination is the best place to start!
- Invite the students to make a list of questions they have about the topic. Use this list to hold a discussion with your grade about what you’d like to explore.
- Group the students according to the common interests and what they want to explore. Then throughout your lessons, you can let the groups go off and explore together.
- Collect the resources you need to meet your student’s curiosity and learning levels. I have created a whole range of inquiry unit resources that are differentiated and cater for your student’s curious minds!
- Tie your student led inquiry units into other areas of the curriculum. Weave in reading as your students research their area through reading fact sheets. Cover writing as your students record facts and write about what they’re learning. Include maths by using the inquiry as the context for a worded maths problem and see their eyes light up with recognition!
- Watch your student’s confidence grow. There is NOTHING like watching your students look forward to the days learning and happily exploring a subject on their own. They grow in confidence as a learner and…you grow in confidence too!!
#2. Let me do your inquiry unit preparation!
The best thing about doing student led inquiry in Term 3 is that you KNOW your students so well. You know where each of your students are at in the different areas of learning AND what they’re interested in. It might be how a tadpole turns into a frog, all of the shades of colours in a rainbow or the differences between each of the Australian animals!
I have specifically created my inquiry unit resources for teachers to use with student led inquiry. They are differentiated and diverse, so they equip you to meet each of these abilities and curiosities!
They are FULL of activities and information for your students to explore – based on what they are interested in. They’re not scripted or week by week – so it’s a bit like a choose your own adventure!
You can start a lesson with a whole class Shared Reading using one of the fact sheets on the topic (included in my packs). Then you can send the students off with their own individual copy to read and/or the differentiated learning tasks included in my resources accordingly.
There’s little information booklets, facet sheets, flash cards, finger tracking exercises, labeling activities and more! These learning tasks are great at helping students feel a real sense of accomplishment. There are also more challenging activities for those who need extension like filling in fact sheets, labeling their own diagrams and reading information.
Here’s a list of my favourite Inquiry units:
#teachertip While all your students are engrossed in their unique activity that meets them where they’re at – you can focus on working with a particular group of students. 👉🏼Remember to not just work with the students who are needing extra support or the students needing more challenge…the students in the middle need attention from you too!!
What’s your experience?
I would love to hear your experiences of teaching using student led learning. Which step from the process above do you struggle with the most? Join the conversation over on Instagram and equip yourself as you expand your knowledge on student led inquiry.