Week 7: Sketch Notes, Google Classroom, and Twine

Sketch notes are ideas not art. It consists of visual notes, handwriting, drawings, and visual elements such as arrows. It is similar to a mind map. Sketch noting is good to use because it connects meaning to words which helps recall information later. A study in Waterloo showed that participants that merely copied down word for word notes had a recall of 30% whereas participants that summarized information through shorthanded words and drawings had a recall of 70%. This is because writing is not as fast as typing and forces the participant to summarize which takes more effort to understand. Sketch notes engage the whole mind, verbal and visual! It is a way to take notes in a fun, fulfilling way that allows for creativity. It taps into the visual language and helps students concentration.

The key to sketch notes is to do whatever makes sense personally. This includes the images and verbal cues needed, the fonts, and the pattern in which all the information is organized into.

We also used Google Classrooms. It was my first time using this resource and I found it to be incredibly helpful. I can only think of the possibilities this platform has for classrooms in the future because of the increasing use with technology in schools. It’s an efficient way to share slides, documents, assignments for specific topics within an entire class.

The last platform we worked with this week was Twine. This is an amazing platform that can be used in multiple capacities. It is ideal for creating choose your own adventure stories, or for helping someone choose a product that best suits them. For example, to narrow down specifics of what is desired in a laptop, someone could follow the path to the one that suits their needs best. Students could also use it for other creative outlets such as organizing a DnD campaign. Some key concepts to remember when working with Twine is that the project is stored with cookies. This means that if someone wipes the cookies on a computer all work will be lost. It is important to export the project to a hard drive, like google drive, or email it. Another thing is that it works well with firefox and chrome but not with safari or internet explorer.


Week 5: Inquiry Teaching

This week in class we did an out trip to George J Elementary to hear from Rebecca Bathurst Hunt about how to enhance our inquiry in the classroom. She co-authored alongside Trevor Mackenzie for the book “Inquiry Mindset.” Rebecca’s passion was apparent and she seemed to be very authentic in the way she approached inquiry and teaches in her classroom. I think authenticity is key in inquiry and that is why it has worked so well in her classroom.

One of the biggest things for me on this visit was seeing how she set up her classroom to maximize inquiry. On the board she had pictures of the students heads that had individual thought bubbles for their inquiry questions. This idea was great because when a new topic was choosen each of them could ask their own inquiry question and be reminded of that question as they explored the topic. I also noticed she had an area in her class designated for quiet reflection. This area included a meditation pillow to sit on and the illusion of “walls” so the student could retreat there if they needed some time to think, reflect, or just take a break. While working with inquiry I think it is important to be able to reflect on what has been learned and what the next step will be. This space allowed for this to occer. I noticed that in the classroom there was lots of manipulative for hands on work. I think this was great for the children, especially because this was a younger class (kindergarten), because hands on learning is important for discovery which is essential in the inquiry model of learning.

The current topic was on space. I was blown away by the time and effort put into the “space station” in the classroom. It was clear that Rebecca strived for an authentic experience where students can use these topic specific manipulative to learn more about space. I thought this way of teaching inquiry was amazing because students really get a chance to try out what it would be like to work in a space station! These kinds of experiences give students the opportunities at a young age to find unknown passions and discover things about the world and themselves in an engaging way.

Another thing that I took away from this inquiry based visit was how Rebecca taught with the intention to spark inquiry. She loved starting lessons with books because it provoked questions and thoughts related to the topic. She also liked using Giphy’s and pictures to provoke thinking in students.

Pictures such as the one below give wonder and excitement about a topic. It is also ideal to direct students learning for inquiry. For instance, this picture could spark discussion on why the water disperses at the bottom, how the mountain was formed, why different vegetation grows at the bottom and top of the mountain. From these questions the new topic could be about water cycles, ecosystems, tectonic processes. I think using pictures is ideal in classrooms because it can be directed while still inspiring students to creatively think of what they want to learn about. This process can also be used with any grade!

A Giphy can be used most effectively with older grades. This is because younger students may get to caught up in the specific movement of the photo that they cannot think beyond what they are seeing. Using this method enhances the previous idea of using a static picture by showing aspects of something that moves. Questions that could arise for instance would be, how is this butterfly flying? What keeps it in the air?

From these stimulants Rebecca asked 3 questions.

  • What do you see?
  • What do you know?
  • What do you Wonder?

I think this entire process worked well for inquiry. It is guided inspiration that allows for students creativity. The three questions are specific and helpful for expanding that creativity. It lets students really engage with the material and dig deep to find what they want to learn about.

Weekly Blog 1: Freedom Inquiry

In class film: Most Likely To Succeed

I found the message in this documentary to be profound. The original concepts for our education system over 100 years ago was driven by the need to create the middle class in a time of industrialization. Now technology has taken those mundane jobs. I agree that we need to start thinking of how to prep students in decision making, creative thinking, and self-determination. Now more than ever, with the influx of technology, schooling needs to be able to develop the skills in students for jobs that haven’t even been created yet. The new inquiry based system that has taken root is a step in the right direction. This video shaped how I see inquiry based studies. I see now that it is not only important but imperative moving forward into the future.

#Inquiry #Problem-Based Learning #Project-Based Learning