I wonder how many times a child has been in my art class wanting to ask a question and instead of asking has chosen to keep it in their mind. I wonder if my students feel that they will be listened to. I wonder if I am giving them enough opportunities to speak in front of their peers. I wonder if my students know how important their questions are to others.
My hope is that as we transform the traditional space we have shared for ten years in art, into an Inspiration Learning Lab a more collaborative inquiry based atmosphere will emerge. I know this won’t happen by itself, but with research and time our learning environment is going to become more creative than ever before.
One of the first things I am doing to begin this change is to learn as much as I can about questioning strategies, student lead dialogue and how technology can be used to promote this type of interaction among all students.
From now on, I am focussing on getting my students to be in charge of their learning by thinking of questions to further help them investigate cultures and artistic styles of people from around the world. What that looks like is different among all 21 of my classes. I could kick myself for not recording some of the amazing questions they’ve asked over the past week. We are beginning our k-5 unit “A World of Art” and students in each grade are focussing on art from a different country or countries. They are curious to know what other kids are learning and they need a place to see the learning unfold.
I’ve always wanted to try posting a question wall in art to create an interactive space for kids to write their questions down but I didn’t know how I would work this into each lesson. After a little brainstorming and searching out great ideas of other teachers I have found some strategies that I think will work really well for most of my students. One way we will attempt to create this type of space and practice is to record questions here in this post. Students can then visit this page to see what other kids are asking. Another hands-on student directed space and practice will be writing on a large roll of mural paper during the independent work period of our class. This will be a visual reminder to all students that this is now an expected and valued practice.
What strategies work well for you with your students? How have you created visuals to help students build on their inquiry practice? I am hoping some of the great minds out there reading this might comment!