Read the Fall 2023 Inspiring Inquiry Newsletter and be Inspired!
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Inspiring Inquiry Newsletter


“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see."
Alexandra K. Trenfor
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Building A Classroom Community of Learners
As you prepare for a new school year (Northern Hemisphere), the following are resources that will support you in creating an inspiring community of learners and an engaging and inquiring classroom community.

Creating a Community of Learners

A strong learning community sets the ambience for life-giving and uplifting experiences that support inquiry, SEL and learner agency. Characteristics of effective learning communities are (1) sense of belonging, (2) interdependence or reliance among the members, (3) trust among members, and (4) faith or trust in the shared purpose of the community (Lenning and Ebbers 1999). Here are a variety of resources to help you create an an inspiring community of learners.

Creating a Classroom Community

First a call to action: Let's change the language from "classroom management" to "classroom community". We are not "managing" but  together with students we are creating a community. Here are several ideas and resources to assist you in creating an engaging and inquiring classroom community. Many of resources on this topic are found in these sections: Creating Classroom Community Articles Pt1 and Creating Classroom Community Articles Pt2
As educators, whether in the role of a teacher or administrator, we all have a responsibility as leaders to prepare students for a successful and productive life beyond graduation. To be an effective leader, I believe it is essential to have a clear vision of the “purpose of school” in the 21st century. This vision will serve as your moral compass as you develop and redevelop the crucial leadership skills required to prepare students for a successful and productive life beyond graduation. To help you achieve this vision, here are some valuable leadership resources that are insightful, strategic, and inspirational.
➡  NEW: Check out these curated leadership videos that offer valuable insights, strategies, and inspiration to assist you in implementing your leadership skills effectively. One video that I highly recommend is titled “Permission to Inquire: Taking Ownership of Your Curriculum” featuring Kathy Murdoch and expertly hosted by Cindy Blackburn from Toddle. Also, you may be interested in reading Kath’s latest blog: Experiencing The Cycle of Inquiry where she reflects on the concept of an Inquiry cycle.

➡  To help you better define your vision of the “purpose of schoollisten to/watch the Reimagining Education podcasts and videos

➡  Explore the Inspiring Inquiry Leadership page which contains a variety of useful leadership ideas, articles and resources.

Guided Reflection and Review

For a successful beginning to the school year, Toddle provides you a straightforward three-step blueprint designed to assist you in reflecting and resetting with purpose. This one-hour guided reflection session will enable you to ponder on the previous year, delve into your key takeaways, and establish actionable goals for the new school year. 
Teaching and Learning

Cultivating Learner Agency

This article from Edutopia points out that elementary students may stay more engaged in school if they feel that their voice matters in their learning experiences. The article explains how learner agency includes identity, belonging, mastery, and efficacy.

A New Way to Look at Teaching and Learning

In this provocative presentation by Keven Bartlett, founder of the Common Ground Collaborative (CGC) and one of the forefathers of the IB PYP, he discusses the purpose of school as developed by the CGC. There is lots of food for thought about the WHY, the WHAT and the HOW of teaching and learning. The CGC would be a good alternative to the PYP and worth exploring. 

SEL for Students

If you are looking for ways to integrate SEL into your curriculum, then this Spotlight from Education Week is for you. The article will help you understand what kinds of teaching and curriculum can be classified as social-emotional learning; consider the challenges of weaving SEL into academics and strategies for overcoming them; examine expert advice on how much class time should be dedicated to SEL; learn how SEL can provide necessary support to English- learners; and more.

Designing an Inviting Classroom

The physical space where students learn can greatly influence their sense of safety and, by extension, their confidence and engagement. In this video, Sarah Ortega, a 4th grade teacher at Harborside Elementary School in Chula Vista, California, leads a tour of her classroom. You’ll see how what’s up on the walls influences differentiation and learner agency.
AI in the Classroom

How to Create a Responsible Use Policy for AI

Now that AI is increasingly being used in schools, it raises concerns about data privacy and ethical use. Rather than blocking AI, schools should guide students and staff in using it responsibly and ethically. Creating a responsible use policy for AI is a good first step. Find out how by reading this article by TechNotes.

AI Assistance in Student Assignments

Check out this visual guide by Bill Barnum that explores how AI can assist in student assignments. He says, using AI in student assignments isn't a simple yes or no. It's multiple spectrums with varying degrees of involvement based on the learning activity.

Create a Rubric with ChatGPT Fast

Creating a solid rubric that’s clear, aligns with the curriculum, and is well-structured can be daunting and, let’s be real, time consuming. Can this be avoided? Yes. Thank goodness! Now you can create a rubric with ChatGPT in less than a minute and free up precious time for other priorities. This blog from TCEA tells you how.

Student Coding Program – Scratch

Scratch is a coding program designed for children (8-18 years old) that fosters critical thinking, creativity, AI ethics, and inquiry. Scratch utilizes a visual interface with blocks to create interactive stories, games, and animations. Learn more about Scratch and another coding program called CODE.

Beyond the Cell Phone – An Exclusive Preview

Ever wondered what new device will come along to challenge the cell phone? Well here it is. This exclusive preview of ground-breaking, unreleased technology, from former Apple designer and Humane cofounder Imran Chaudhri. He envisions a future where AI enables our devices to "disappear." Check out this TED Talk sneak peek of his company's new product and witness a stunning vision of the next leap in device design.
Project-Based Learning

How Project-Based Learning Supports ALL Students

Have you ever had students complain about project-based learning or active learning? Or have students ask for worksheets and lectures? For decades, there has been evidence that classroom techniques designed to get students to participate in the learning process produce better educational outcomes at virtually all levels. A.J. Juliani tackles this issue in this thought-provoking blog.

The Five Phases of Project Based Learning

Here’s an overview of the PBL process through the lens of five phases to help educators better understand the big picture so you can more effectively plan and implement the details within those phases by using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a sort of overlay.

How PBL Can Promote SEL Skills

Project Based Learning (PBL) is the perfect structure to teach, practice, and assess Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills and content standards simultaneously. This article by Mike Kaechele considers a few of the ways that students can develop SEL skills while at the same time learning content through PBL.
Early Childhood

Outdoor Adventures in the Early Years

As educators, we know that outdoor play is essential for children’s development, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to figure out the why, where, how, and what. I encourage you to watch this Toddle webinar with outdoor play specialist Christina Pickles.  You will discover the benefits of outdoor play, learn how to embrace your role as an outdoor play educator, explore how ‘loose’ parts can be used in outdoor play, and connect play adventures to curriculum areas. Also check out the free editable risk assessment form for outdoor play.

Developing a Loving Pedagogy in the Early Years

It is what we do in our settings and schools on a daily basis to help children feel loved, to feel a sense of belonging, and to put things like attachment theory into practice. A loving pedagogy is evident when we place children and their needs at the centre of our provision. Check out this PDF document and view/listen to the Podcast: Developing a loving pedagogy in the Early Years

Play Posters and Postcards

"Words are powerful. They can be encouraging and motivating, give meaning and inspiration, express ideas and feelings, instil curiosity and wonder!" Toddle. Check out this collection of play posters and postcards, created by Toddle, which does exactly that. They make you pause, reflect, wonder, and reassure.
Podcasts, Websites, Blogs, Videos etc.

On Learning Blog Site

In his engaging blog posts, Bevan Holloway writes about the one transformation he believes makes a difference in education: how teachers see and think about the children they teach. The key to this, he says, is to become attuned to the essence of each child and work to help it blossom. Recommended by Kath Murdoch.

TCEA Website/Blog and Webinars

The TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) website is a valuable resource for educators looking to integrate technology into their classrooms. The site offers an excellent blog site, free webinars, conferences, and professional development opportunities focused on educational technology.

Universal Design For Learning (UDL) Podcast

Katie Novak dives deep into the best practices with Universal Design For Learning, and how we can start removing barriers for all learners. If you've ever wanted to learn more about UDL, this episode is for you! And if you ever had a feeling that one size fits all learning doesn't work, here's how to fix it with real examples.
PD Opportunities

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities

This free to audit course through Coursera designed by teachers, for teachers, will appeal to teachers who want to increase their general understanding of AI, including why it is important for learners; and/or to those who want to embed AI into their teaching practice and their students’ learning.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Education for Teachers

Check out the Inspiring Inquiry PD page to find workshops provided by Kath Murdoch, Chapters International, Toddle, Professional Learning International, Innovative Global Education, and many more. Check them out here.

TIES 2023 Event

Register for Toddle's free TIES 2023 virtual event held on September 30th and October 1st to connect, learn, and grow alongside 50,000+ educators from around the world. Registration is now open.
Recommended Reading

Free to Learn

By: Peter Gray
A leading expert in childhood development makes the case for why self-directed learning -- "unschooling" -- is the best way to get kids to learn. In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. 

Social Media and Youth Mental Health

This report provides an overview of the current evidence on the positive and negative impacts of social media on children and adolescents, as well as the primary areas of concern for mental health and well-being. Health & Wellbeing
UN Sustainable Development Goals
SDG student-friendly resources can be found on the Inspiring Inquiry website HERE 

Latest Daily CO2 Rating

February 2023 421.09 ppm.  February 2022 417.32 ppm. 
1 Year Change +3.77 ppm (0.90%)
Suggested sustainable level = 350 ppm  +71.09 ppm
Source: Daily CO2 (10 Aug 2023) 

The Fairy Tales of the Fossil Fuel Industry

This Ted Talk by activist and School Strike for Climate organizer, Luisa Neubauer, traces the fossil fuel industry's five-decade trickle of lies about climate science. Luisa busts the myth that economic growth and stability are dependent on fossil fuels -- and issues a resounding message about how we can actually move towards a just world.

Hands-On Learning and the SDGs

Are you looking for few ways to incorporate the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals across the curriculum? This article from Edutopia offers some ideas. Also, see the Sustainable Goals section of Inspiring Inquiry.
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