Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting Started with Inquiry Circles

I mentioned the book Comprehension & Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action in my last post.  My reading coach, intern and I are taking the leap to give it a whirl!  We are excited but also in the mind frame of, "How will this work?" 

I find that I can research and learn to my heart's content but it's not the same as leaping and learning through the actual action.

My intern and I decided to tackle a topic that seemed easy and narrowed to us:  REPTILES!  Then we collected as many materials (books, posters, magazines, etc.) on the topic.  We then decided on five group topics based on the amount of materials: dinosaurs, snakes, turtles, lizards, and alligators.  Our overall strategy is Inferring, which lends itself naturally when you are learning about familiar things and investigating.

Our first week will focus on collaboration and learning about what inquiry circles are.  I grabbed lessons from the book and tweaked them a bit to fit for my firsties.  My thinking was plan for the things I know are absolutely essential and then add more as needed.

To start it all off we will be doing a chart on the questions we have about reptiles, then move on to the collaboration lessons.

My essential questions for the first week are (they are planned to be minilessons unless the students need otherwise):
-What is an inquiry circle and how does it work?
-What should the ground rules be while working in our inquiry circles?
-How do we make and use a work plan?
-How do we show friendliness and support while working together?
-What are the skills of effective small group discussion?

In the document the borders are from From the Pond and the fonts are from Fonts for Peas.

Here are the documents that I will be using with my class (only a few are pictured):

The following week will be short mini lessons and then time to work!  The essential questions for the mini lessons are: How do we leave tracks of our thinking while researching? How do we read with a question in mind?  How do we draw inferences from images, features and words?  How do we use our schema of the subject matter to support inferring?

If you have given this a go or are interested maybe we could talk further...let me know :)



  1. Guess what book I just ordered to read during my Spring Break? Can't wait. I'm ready to try something new! I will keep you posted!
    Monica Headley

  2. Monica, I'm so excited! Let's talk when you get started :)

  3. I read the book last year, but having just switched to 2nd from 1st I felt like I had too much on my plate to start Inquiry Circles this year. I would also love to talk to you more about this. Thanks for all you do. You have helped me get through this school year!