The new Social Studies/Geography/History curriculum is arriving soon! The September 2012 implementation will be optional for school boards however full implementation across the province will be in place for September 2013.
The Ontario Elementary Social Studies Teachers' Association (OESSTA) is composed of teachers from Public and Catholic School Boards with members from different regions in the province. It is hoped that when the document is released, the association will be involved in activities and events that will support teachers and promote student achievement.
The following article was posted in the Ontario Elementary Social Studies Teachers' Association (OESSTA) newsletter. (Please note, you can find the newsletter on our website @ www.inquiry-based.com under the blog tab.)
We welcome the opportunity to share our website (www.inquiry-based.com) and project with OESSTA. The focus of this Teacher Learning and Leadership (TLLP – Ministry of Education) is inquiry-based teaching and learning. We created a website and blog to share our experiences with educators, in the hope that the ideas and strategies noted could be put into practice right away.
Our original project proposal was to use the inquiry approach in a grade 5/6 social studies classroom. Soon, we discovered that the move toward inquiry was by no means restricted to one subject area. Needless to say, our project has grown in ways we never considered. First and foremost, it was our own attitude and pure enjoyment of working with small groups of students as they explore and collaborate, and letting go of the idea that we are “the keeper of knowledge” to now “facilitator of learning”. Our enthusiasm spread across the school, so we started a book club, using “Comprehension & Collaboration, Inquiry Circles in Action” by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels. Soon, a few classroom teachers were using the inquiry approach, so we started a blog to share the school experience (www.inquiry-based.blogspot.com). Second, the management of ‘covering’ all strands of curriculum throughout the day is easily accomplished because the inquiry investigations are embedded in our everyday learning and thinking. Thirdly, it is the total engagement and motivation that the students display during their investigation that has been the most rewarding. Finally, the quality and caliber of student work and, their level of thinking and understanding has far outreached our expectations when we started our inquiry approach to teaching and learning.
If you have time to visit our website, please leave comments and/or feedback. We are interested in knowing what you think. Also, we’d like to open the site in order to share ideas and lessons from you, too… that could be a powerful inquiry resource.
Yours in Education,
Louise Robitaille & Peter Douglas