Every teacher needs a teaching tool kit. A bunch of go to teaching strategies that they can use to carry out their amazing lessons. If you are beginning with inquiry you may need to refill your teacher bag of tricks with some new ideas. Because sometimes we get stuck in a rut and forget that there is more than the think-pair-share strategy that will help us teach.
Remember back to a time when you were a fresh-faced university student just entering teachers college with hopes, dreams, a mountain of debt and this naive notion that you could change the world one read aloud at a time?
Then you start teacher’s college and you are suddenly hit with ‘NO FREE TIME’ the work overload, and you are hit with all of these ideas for teaching strategies but with no real idea how or why they would be used. but the only one you do remember is that easy think-pair-share activity. So you take that and for the last few years have relied on that one strategy more than any others… or all of that could just be me ?!?!
There are so many great teaching strategies that help support inquiry-based learning in the classroom.This is what we talked about during EP31 on Teaching with Inquiry Live
Here are some strategies that you may want to incorporate into your daily instruction.
This is a three stage questioning activity. First, you pose a question to your classYou give them time to process and think in silence. Then you have them share and work out their ideas with a partner. Finally, students share their thinking with the whole group
A great idea from Visible Thinking is think-puzzle-explore. This is an activity to help students identify background knowledge, begin to question, then make a plan to find answers. It is perfect to use as a provocation during the engage stage of inquiry.
This is a teaching strategy that I use with my students to help them dig deeper and ask more meaningful questions, arrive at deeper conclusions, make connections with what they are learning. After students share you ask them to explain their thinking with phrases like ‘why might it be that way’ ‘why do you think that’. Asking them to share-clarify-share-clarify 3-5 times helps students to come to much more meaningful conclusions and go beyond the surface.
Question Sort Matrix
If you are looking for a ‘now what’ after you have finished your wonder wall. This strategy will help you and your students to sort through those questions and evaluate which ones are worth exploring. In a graph you first evaluate the type of question on a horizontal line then you evaluate the questions on how interesting and appropriate they are to dig deeper with.
Connect – Extend – Challenge
When students are in the midst of learning sometimes you need them to focus on what it all means. Using this teaching strategy will help your students to connect new ideas to old ideas. Students connect what they are learning to previous learning, identify how their understanding has changed and explore ideas they still have questions about.
2 Stars and a Wish
Providing students with feedback is important but keeping it focused and manageable is important. Using this teaching strategy has helped me to frame how I provide either oral or written feedback for students. Presented in a compliment sandwich students can learn what they did well and what one next step they need to focus on next.
This is a strategy that I talked about in EP26 of My Podcast. Students need to be explicitly taught how to contribute to a discussion and IDEAS is a strategy that you can use to help them remember the ways they can contribute.
Sometimes you just don’t want to see another sticky note. I get it!! So sometimes I use a graffiti write instead. Students write their ideas all over the paper to answer a question, share their thoughts, or engage in a new concept. When students are done you have a paper that is full of student ideas going any direction possible.
This is one of those popular teaching strategies from teachers college. It is a great way to cover a lot of information in a shorter amount of time. This is especially important when you want students exposed to lots of different ideas but perhaps they don’t need expert knowledge in all areas. I often use this strategy when looking at habitats, energy sources, or physical regions. This activity requires a high degree of accountability on all students. Sometimes this isn’t always possible and some students need more support. Hear about how I handle this issue in EP31 of Teaching With Madly Learning.
This is a great teaching strategy tool that was popularized by this great resource and amazing teacher Jennifer Runde. She uses learning journals in her interactive math journal resource on TPT. This idea of getting students to reflect on their learning is an important task that I include in my student conferences as well as my science and social studies units. Students identify the learning goal, and what they know about it before learning. After some new knowledge has been gained students reflect on what they have learned and show that they have learned it through this journal.
Do you want more details on the teaching strategies listed here? These slides and more are in my inquiry teaching library.