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No More Worksheets?

So what is the deal with all this hatred to the worksheet?  It was recently asked on a facebook forum if using worksheets in your classroom makes you the dreaded 'old school teacher'.  This sparked an interesting discussion amongst the teachers in the group as to what the big deal is on worksheets.  With schools pushing a paperless classroom in favor of digital tech and parents demanding an education for their children that reflects the familiar comforts of their own schooling. Teachers are put in the middle of a murky pond wondering how much is too much when it comes to our own worksheet usage.

Glows, Grows and Where to Goes

As August is winding down my mind is now shifting to getting ready for back to school.  Thinking about how I will set up my classroom this year.  Every year I change a few things based on what I learned the previous year.  Asking what worked and what didn't and why is a very important task.  How can we grow as teachers if we are not willing to work on improving and this, in my opinion, starts with some personal reflection.  Here are my glows, grows and where to goes for the upcoming year.


  • Inquiry: in science and social studies but especially in language.  I just couldn't believe how much my students learned and developed as writers by using this approach.  Organizing them into inquiry writing centers really helped too.  
  • Math: still a big fan of this always happening in the morning. Continue to use my morning math pages to frame our three part lessons and give differentiated ways to support students in developing math skills.  
  • Mentor Paragraphs/Sentences: these were great during our literacy centers as a way for student to practice editing and proof reading skills.  I noticed a drastic improvement in many students in this area which transferred to their own writing skills. 
  • Technology: Using technology as an accessible tool with a BYOD philosophy was important.  This allowed for google classroom, explain everything and other apps to be seamlessly integrated into our day.  The students capacity for innovative thoughts and actions surrounding technology was important. 
  • Independence: with such a large class I didn't have time to see all of my students as frequently as I would have liked. This had some negative consequences for students who needed more hand holding or anxiety however for many this allowed them to learn to rely on themselves and increased their autonomy and independence in learning which will ultimately benefit them later.  

Talking Inquiry - Letting Go of Control

Who I am as a Teacher

I am a teacher the thrives on organization and control over certain things in my classroom.  So I
  • Number student workbooks
  • Match all components of my program everything is colour coded
  • Classroom needs to match (my red pocket charts annoy me since they don't match)
  • So picky I make all of my own stuff or remake things so the fonts match and it looks pretty 

Despite this I am still a person that likes change but being stubborn I like to do it my own way and hate being told what to do.  So if you are like me then you need to commit to changing but find a way that is authentic to you.  

Talking Inquiry - Learning Goals and Success Criteria

Today I wanted to focus on learning goals and success criteria and how they are the center of your inquiry teaching practice.  I talked about a lot of things today on my broadcast and wanted to share my notes with you and some pictures of how these look in my classroom.  Check out the video here if you missed it.

What is Inquiry:
Inquiry is student-centered teaching that turns student interest and curiosity into real learning through questioning, investigating, observing and collaborating.

Learning Goals and Success Criteria
a learning goal is your big idea often based on your curriculum expectations or standards.  They are sentences written in student-friendly language and often start with key-word sentence starters such as

  • "We are learning about..."
  • "We want to know more about..."
  • " I can...."

Some examples that we have used in my classroom about learning goals are

Talking Inquiry - Knowledge Building Circles

So I just completed my very first live video in my Let's Talk About Inquiry Series on Facebook Live.

My first video was about how I used  Knowledge Building Circles with Wonder Walls in my classroom to help facilitate inquiry.  I wanted to share my notes with you so that you would have an additional copy of the ideas that I shared in my video.

WonderWalls and Knowledge Building Circles

These two components of my inquiry unit help to start off my unit.  

Knowledge Building Circles - Start off you inquiry
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