One of my professional goals this year is to effectively implement the resource First Steps into the programme of inquiry. I think it is a great resource, but, as I discussed in my appraisal meeting the other day, I think it would be easy to pay lip service to reading in a busy programme, and not use the resource to it’s potential.
So, this last few weeks I have tried the following…
At the moment our unit of inquiry is Where We Are in Place and Time, with the central idea: Present civilisations are built upon the experiences of civilisations from the past.
The reading strategies we are focusing on are skimming and scanning, and previously we looked at self-questioning.
As we started a guided inquiry into Ancient Greece, I modelled skimming. On the smartboard (SB) I had pages taken from a non-fiction text about Ancient Greece. I looked quickly through the pages, thinking out loud as I went, and looked at the headings to find out what parts of Ancient Greece I could learn about. Still on the SB then brainstormed the aspects of Ancient Greece. I then gave the children a brainstorming pages, and a number of books on Ancient Greece. The books had a wide variety of information, and since I have children with reading ages varying between 5 -12 years, the texts were varied in their difficulty. The children then practiced skimming through the pages. Some of the children worked independently, while others went through the process with me in a small group.
At this point, the children highlighted 1-3 aspects they wanted to research further. (I guided some more or less able children to choose 1 or 3 so as to extend or not overburden them).
My next step was to go back to the SB. The children helped me brainstorm specific questions I could ask about my chosen aspect (clothing). We came up with several options, discussing whether they were too big to cover, or too closed to be useful. Finally we decided my questions would be “What clothing did men and women each wear in Ancient Greece? And how are these the same or different to modern clothing?”
From here, the children brainstormed questions for their own Greek inquiry. They critiqued each others questions, looking for open ended, specific questions.
This post is getting long now, so I will tell you about how we included scanning… next time. 😉
In the meantime, do you have any thoughts about how you have meaningfully integrated reading, and reading strategies into your classroom?