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Today we made a lot of progress sharing what inquiry techniques we have been using. I enjoy hearing the techniques media being used and how each of our processes are different. Brian was focusing on art as a business and the ins and outs of  creatting supply and demand. Amanda was story boarding with collaborative groups with her third graders. Amber discussed how her students could add music to Amanda’s stop motion animation. Angie shared her installation art experience with her students and how to try out the lesson with the next group of students. Carol shared her clay lesson experience where she used a video to show techniques and gave her students longer work time . I was able to share my own experience with cool colors and warm color painting techniques also a torn paper Christmas tree turned out well. It was interresting
seeing and hearing everyone’s processes, they gave me ideas as well as inspired me to try new types of inquiry.

QUOTE #1 discussion question:

What “problems” do you encounter with your students that could stimulate a shared inquiry as an active quest?

 Problem: Motivating the students through the whole inquiry based lesson.

I started a project with my students prior to this reading. The project is to turn a digital self-image into a pixel image. They were given no restrictions to the end size of their project or what medium they would use.

Each student was asked to research pixel art to help stimulate ideas.  They had to measure and re-scale the digital image to the end size to fit their needs.

I had students get very creative with this. Some used hole punch dots, beads, and yarn. I had a few who used more traditional mediums like paint and colored pencils. One project will end up being 5ft by 6ft.

The problem I am having is keeping the students motivated. They were excited about researching and designing the project but quickly lost interest in completing it. Even though they had the hardest part of the project done, they are having problems completing it.

I find this problem with most projects. I am not sure how to keep them motivated long enough to finish the project with the same intensity they started it.

Our group set a date and time for an open skype night where we could all address issues we were having dealing with our inquiry topic. James attended this meeting and added many interesting viewpoints, which we all appreciated greatly.

During our session, we were able to talk about what lessons we were doing in our individual classrooms.  Amanda recorded the session and sent an email to everyone in our group.  Angela typed up a couple pages and also emailed everyone notes from the meeting.

During the discussion, the topics almost created themselves. Amanda was discussing how she was going to do stop motion photography with her class, but didnt know if her lesson was truly inquiry based.  James was able to give great information on a better definition for inquiry vs. direct instruction.  The group was struggling with the idea that an entire lesson should be totally inquiry.  Meaning that you would not give directions or instruction.  He also discussed how “action research” was considered a type of study.

Our job during the time away from the group was to teach a lesson with direct instruction and one more inquiry based. Our group was having the issue that teaching one group was going to be different  since each class has a different dynamic and different students.  James pointed out that this issue was not really an issue, since we were not evaluating how differnet classes interacted, but rather how the information was being processed by students as a whole.

We also decided that during the remining time between our skype meeting and the next meeting at the IU we would bring in documentation or examples of our work with the students and have a sharing moment.  We were able to talk for over an hour, and discussed how to contact each other again if we had questions.

Cory, perhaps we can provide some tech support here?

I have been thinking about the participant’s process of including categories and tags in their posts. Perhaps it would be helpful for us to share some more specifics about this process?

We as a team need to be tagging our posts.  We can title our post as anything we want, but should tag the post for easy look up.  Here is a list that we will be using for the futute.  Please use these tags in accordance to what your posts are. 

1.  First required reading =             reading 1

2. Second required reading=         reading 2

3.  Post for 12/18=                           group inquiry 1

4.  post for 4/12=                             group inquiry 2

5. Post for 5/17=                               group inquiry 3

6.  also have 2 posts for our cig meetings   =       cig meeting 1 and cig meeting 2

You are able to add multiple tags to any post.  So feel free to tag it with any other information that may be needed.  For example, if you use an iPad you can tag iPad as well. 

Please make sure you are up to date on the times and dates these posts need to be completed.  Hope you all have a great holiday and happy new year.  Be safe.





Based on this statement from :


Based on John Dewey‘s philosophy that education begins with the curiosity of the learner, we use a spiral path of inquiry: asking questions, investigating solutions, creating new knowledge as we gather information, discussing our discoveries and experiences, and reflecting on our new-found knowledge

I can’t help but focus on the quote, “education begins with the curiosity of the learner.”  My job from this moment is to discover what my students are curious about. This will drive my curriculum for my communications class for the new 9 weeks beginning when I get back to the classroom.  I have decided to make a survey that my substitute can give to my social studies students. These students will represent the 7th grade student body of my district. I will develop questions to help me discover what my students will use in the path of inquiry.


In response to Attempting to Balance, miss capuzo and I have the same concerns. Do we start with a question and let them find the answer?
Today, I started a lesson about dogs. I showed the students a slideshow of real dog in various situations and examples of student work from last year. We discussed shapes and sizes of the parts of a dog. They were able to identify the shapes so I let them try on their own to make the shapes with scissors and construction paper. Frustration was rampant. They made their shapes too small to even cut out. The first graders need to learn fine motor skills so I encourage large ovals and circle. I stopped the class and did a quick demo of a large oval for the body and a smaller shape for the head. You could feel the tension disappearing. Maybe since they need my input, they may listen a little more carefully. In first grade they need the structure that I give at the beginning of each lesson. As the dogs take shape, the individual ideas begin to surface. While they are thinking about the type of dogs that they want, they will need to develop a sentence to add to the picture. The slideshow had sentences that enhanced the pictures. Next week when they come in, they will develop a sentence to complete the picture. Inquiry comes in to play with the sentences. I want them to pose a question about their dog. Taking time to write these questions plays a vital role in our district’s writing philosophy.

In a performance based class, preparation for public presentation requires sequential, planned rehearsals that build concentration and focus as well as the stamina to sustain both the physical and the mental challenges. With the High School Orchestra performance coming up next week, class time has had to be carefully used to insure that the students have that necessary “reserve” to be able to not only perform but to also be able to identify, analyze and to make on the spot adjustments to mishaps that may occur. Through the years there have been groups that had everything on edge right up until the moment of performance because they were inconsistent with home preparation and practice, making class preparation more repetitive. However, this semester we have been focusing more on the composer’s intentions rather than on obvious notations on the document. It seems that some of the technical issues have been addressed using less class time. Placing more emphasis on the phrase than on the components of the phrase has yielded more meaningful presentation, which seems to have promoted increased progress. When asked how the composer may have intended the phrase, one senior stated that “a phrase needed to be thought of holistically in itself.” This discussion continued and another responded that “the phrase needed to be expressed as a part of the greater idea of the piece, rather than by just spelling out the notes.” This particular class is a group of string players in grades 9-12, with abilities ranging from those who study privately to those who practice only when they fear embarrassment. In addition to increased focus on expression this semester, we have also looked at the back story of the music being played by using our Fiddle File wiki to post and discuss. One of the selections being performed on Monday is titled The Idylls of Pegasus. Some of the students discussed the myth on the wiki and one posted a picture of the constellation. This prompted two of the students to produce some art work depicting the tale. Another student suggested that those drawings could be projected during the concert and a product is near completion for use at the concert. This morning before rehearsing the piece, the draft of the presentation was projected for all of the students to be able to see the visual representation of the work. Imagery has been a focus of classroom discussion to improve phrasing delivery and the sample performance that followed the viewing of the art seemed to take things to a new level. It was really helpful to hear the critique that followed the rehearsal of the piece this morning and even better to hear the students making suggestions about improving their articulation and dynamics. I am eager to see how things progress on Friday and Monday at the final two rehearsals. The momentum has become much stronger as we approach the performance on Monday. More to follow in review of the concert…

November sketchbooks are due tomorrow, December 2, 2011 for my Drawing 1 students…

looking over the survey that M and D created at our last meeting and thinking about the questions in the survey  that are proposed to the students such as what motivates them in the art classes to do well and turn in sketchbooks- grades, the ability to become better, etc? Rewards seem to be the feeder in motivation. Right now there are opportunities for the students to earn money for contests and I have offered them bonus points and gift cards in addition to the recognition and that is not even working. Is it the time of year?

December 2011
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