Monday, April 11, 2011

Student Inquiry Project Self-Assessment

Our SIP was adapted from a unit design already in IO. I think this alone was an important step for me because, for some reason, I have always had this idea that your lesson plans/ideas should be your own. It's kind of like how people think about plagiarism. But I've experienced this epiphany over the semester that I hope my peers have as well: you don't have to reinvent the wheel! And why should you when there are so many great ideas already out there? The point is to take them and make them work for you and your students. So I was glad that our group took this approach.

The core subject our project covered was grade 9 science which I was originally a bit uncomfortable with, coming from an early childhood perspective. However, I am so glad I did! It was fun doing more sophisticated work that challenged me more academically. The topic was so interesting for me. I think that this fulfilled a professional goal that I didn't even know I had: collaborate with teachers in different grades. Yes, we have different perspectives and very different ideas about assessment, but there is a lot we can learn from one another that can help bridge the gap for students too.

Technology is often thought to go hand-in-hand with science, however this often is not the case in schools. In contrast, science tends to focus more on experiential learning and non-digital forms of technology. I know this was definitely the case in my science courses at university. While this unit included a 3D representation of the chromosomes, it also provided the option of creating a digital version. This part of the project was useful for integrating art and graphic design. Because the technology provided students with several entry points, this was an effective use of it.

For our exemplar, we used a GoogleDoc to share our researched information and make notes to one another about what we had done and asked questions. This allowed us to work on the project at our own paces and keep up to date with what others were doing. Also, because we all had different schedules, we didn't have to arrange to meet in person or worry about several different copies of our work floating around.

I have realized through this project, and others over the semester, that there are so many possibilities for learning and developing when we collaborate. The different perspectives that we all bring to the table allow for creative ideas we never could have come up with on our own. It's exciting! I think the colleagial group needs to be in a continuous sway where, occasionally, each member will take on a heavier portion of the workload. Sometimes this depends on passions, interests, and specialities, while other times we just need to give someone a break.

Considering that I will eventually work in grades K-3, I don't see a lot of possibilities for this particular unit on DNA and Genetic mutations. However, I definitely see myself using the amazing resources in IO and, at the very least, following the guidlines about creating an engaging and meaningful inquiry project!

I'm grateful to my fantastic group for all their time and hard work! Go team!

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