Saturday, January 20, 2018

Black History Month

This post was written at the beginning of our journey, in the inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning (2012). We quickly noted that to begin an inquiry, it is important to build students' background knowledge on a subject, in this case Black History.  Students were unable to ask questions because they did not have enough information related to the topic.  Together, we read picture books, articles, watched news clips and shared stories.  Our students, then did their own mini research, mostly based on interest.  Finally, they began to ask quality questions. Their questions were discussed and listed on a chart paper, along with new vocabulary connected to Black History.  It is from these questions, that we developed stations (shared in the blog post) to further their knowledge and understanding.

You can find the original post here:

This story book was used as a read aloud and a great way to invite curiosity. Students enjoyed hearing about Henry's story.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Integrating Lessons

This post was written in 2014 and shows the work of a group of grade one students. You will notice that they are working on literacy, math concepts and simple machines.

This student is following his plan for constructing a power crane!

You can read about student learning in this classroom by clicking on the following link.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Theme Blog Post: Classroom Setup

The following blog posts are connected to setting up your classroom space.

1. This post shares the work we've done with 'Ontario Elementary Social Studies Teachers' Association' (OESSTA). We created 8 videos connected to Pete's inquiry-based classroom and this one video focus' on setting up your classroom space.

2. In preparing your classroom, you may need to think about the steps of inquiry. This post gives you example of the type of material you may need when setting up your inquiry-based classroom. 


Two important features for our classroom: large group gathering area and areas that allow for small group work.


Saturday, August 5, 2017


This blog was created in 2012, and my goal was to share what we've done in our classrooms, to share our learning and most importantly, to share how we've used the inquiry approach.  The way the blog structure is presented, old post get lost and there are top traffic posts, that I would like to share with you again! Whether you're new to this site, new to learning about the inquiry-approach or curious about what we have learned along the way, check here regularly as I highlight and recycle posts.

The following post was written in 2013 and it is THE top traffic post.  It was written for an Additional Qualification (AQ) course. Let me know what you think! 

Writing in Kindergarten 

P.S. I have two good reasons, for not regularly writing new blog posts...retirement and grandma-hood! However, I do plan to mix it up with new content and please stay tuned!

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Value of Working in Small Groups

We learned that creating a classroom with small working groups, celebrates diversity, allows students to learn with all types of people, and it builds teamwork skills. However, this is not always an easy task to set up. It takes time and patients to help students learn how to work collaboratively. But, in our experience it has been, well worth the effort.

We noticed that, once our students learned how to work together, many of our quiet ones, had a voice! There also seemed to be less stress in the classroom learning, students were helping each other, and often, they were inspiring confidence, and encouragement for all to participate. Our students, began to understand their classmates strengths and weaknesses. They developed care, compassion and understanding for each other!

Do your students work in small groups? 
Do you see the value of working in small groups? 

Allowing our students to work in small groups, turned our classroom into mini-workshops, full of excited voices and engaged students. You can view the following video clip, where we discuss the benefits of having our students' work in small groups and you can take a peek at a classroom in action. Please let us know what you think! Leave comments and/or feedback below. Thanks!

(OESSTA produced this video and it's one, in a series of videos titled 'An Approach to Inquiry' that can be found on the OESSTA website.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Reading Celebration - Castex 2016

The students at our school enjoy reading a variety of books from 'The Forest of Reading' program. Each year the Ontario Library Association create a list of book titles that celebrate Canadian authors. Our school, purchases the books from the nominated list in the Blue Spruce and Silver Birch category. Throughout the school year, students read and share book reviews in a variety of ways; one on one with our volunteer extraordinaire, or with peers in their class.

At the end of the school year, we have a celebration of reading and invite community members to celebrate with us. Scott Cooper is our favourite guest. He is a local musician, that likes to read the Forest of Reading books, and then he writes songs about them. How cool is that? Scott has entertained our students for the past couple of years, with his love for music and children's literature. Of course, the celebration would not be complete without a visit from the Community Librarian. She enjoys meeting the students and encourages them to join the library and to become a member of the summer reading program.

Scott Cooper
This reading program helps to foster a love of reading and generates a positive buzz for all books.  Take a look at this short clip, enjoy!  Forest of Reading - Castex 2016

How do you promote reading at your school? 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Natural Environment

Take a look at this group of primary students as they look at "How people affect the natural environment?"  

 This resource comes from the OESSTA website which has a bank of lessons, videos and resources to support the Social Studies, History and Geography curriculum.