Out of the many things I'm passionate about - inquiry is one that is close to the top of my list - it's a big list but it's up at the top. The whole idea of encouraging students to question and wonder is so exciting to me. Or maybe it's because I didn't always find that policy, "No question is a stupid question" to be true as a student.
Regardless, I have always held inquiry at the top of my list. So when I began my second year teaching young 5s, I knew I wanted to integrate inquiry even more into our curriculum. I just was not sure how. However, I watched my students closely and used them to guide my inquiry exploration.
You may ask, "How did you do that?"
Anyways, I wanted my students to wonder and engage more in questioning the world around them, so I encouraged them to write down their thinking and place it on our wonder wall (to the left). Our wonder wall had two purposes: 1. It was a great pre-writing activity for all students. 2. It got their questions down so we could answer them later.
If you look closely at the sticky notes (which I purchased at the dollar store) they are messy. Not all the writing is legible, others have only scribbles and some have formed sentences. But that wasn't the point. The point of the activity was to get them wondering about the world around them. The other pre-writing skills, well that was a bonus.
Through our wonder wall, our mission was accomplished. My students were constantly wondering and asking questions. Each day, our goal was to answer 2-3 questions off the wonder wall. Some of those questions we were able to answer quickly through Kiddle - others took more time. But it helped me to know where my students thinking was.
Our wonder wall also got them to think more deeply about other topics too. Honestly, I personally believe there is no one way to use a wonder wall. The whole idea is that you are promoting student wonder. However, I would recommend a framework to begin and then as your students become more confident take the structure away and allow it to be more open-ended.
Until next time,