Thursday Throw Down! Making Learning More Interactive with Inquiry!

First, Happy Fourth of July to my American blogging buddies and readers! We just celebrated Canada Day which is on the first of July. I'll bet you are all out enjoying BBQs and fireworks as I type this post!

Today I am linking up with I'm Lovin' Lit for her new (and inspirational) linky called Thursday Throw Down (Ways to Make Learning More Interactive).
Be sure to check out her blog and click through the other links for more great tips and ideas for making learning more interactive!

As for me...I am in the midst of a shift in my teaching career.  I've always enjoyed trying to stay current and up to date on the newest trends in education.  This latest shift has moved into "Inquiry/Play Based Learning". Everything about this feels right to me.  I had the opportunity to take part in a provincial initiative here in Ontario called, "Early Primary Collaborative Inquiry". Basically, it was a bunch of teachers getting together to talk about how we can make inquiry learning work in our classrooms.  We had/have a lot of questions (my main question is "how do I make assessment work?").  In the end we had more questions than answers but what we did have was a ton of excitement and willingness to try this new way of teaching/learning.

In Ontario, our Kindergarten program is based on inquiry/play based learning but the rest of us our trying to wrap our heads around making this a central focus in the rest of the elementary grades.

Check out this website for a wealth of information about incorporating inquiry into your teaching (this site is mainly about environmental inquiry):
I've also been reading this book:

And this book:

This past school year I would say I dabbled in inquiry. I threw it in wherever I could and initially it had   more of an indoor recess feel to it.  Once I saw that the kids wouldn't explode from having more freedom I was able to settle in to attempting more planned inquiries.

You can check out this post about one of my first inquiries.  I decided to try teaching my money unit using an inquiry approach and the results were amazing! The engagement level of my students was  outstanding and from this I could see the true value in teaching with an inquiry approach.

My goal for next year is to focus on inquiry in my classroom as a whole, not just thrown in here and there.  We'll see how it goes!! I'm askeeeered!  Not even kidding....I'm seriously afraid for how it will go.  As a teacher, of course I like to be in control.  I like to have everything planned out and even scripted.  While you still have the control with inquiry learning in some aspects, it is very much a "let's see where this takes us" type of thing.

If you would like a little inspiration, here is a video that I posted a few months back when I first started this blog.  It's been my inspiration for wanting to incorporate inquiry into my classroom.  I even had my kids do our own version...the video is called Caine's Arcade (I'm sure many of you have heard of it or even watched it already!):

This video is actually one of the things that inspired me to start blogging and my very first blog post is all about how I began with Inquiry and Caine's arcade. To read that post, Click Here!

If any of you out there are beginning to focus on inquiry (or have been for a while) I would love to link up with you and share ideas!! Feel free to leave me your email address in the comments section or even post there about how you are using inquiry.....or better yet, Link Up with us for Thursday Throw Down!

I can't wait to read all the other blogs to see how you fabulous teachers are keeping things interactive!