To learn more about how the inquiry cycle is affecting your child, read the grade level examples here.
Kindergarten teachers are working in a cycle of inquiry to help students solidify an understanding of the "tricky teens." All too often students have a difficult time ordering and writing the teen numbers because of place value confusion (21 for 12 and 51 for 15, etc.). Teachers are beginning to instruct the difficult concept of place value, among other strategies, to their kindergarteners to raise the success of students' ability to master those "tricky teens." What they find is that students who have already mastered the tricky teens are given more cognitive exercise as they learn about place value and how the order of the digits in two and three digit numbers really matters!
First and Second Grade teachers have been conducting a cycle of inquiry regarding mathematical problem solving, which addresses our need to better support and stretch students' problem solving and critical thinking abilities. Teachers in grade level teams began by assessing student's ability to solve word problems and explain their strategies used for solving the problem. For example, first grade teachers' expectation of a complete response is to (1) have a picture representative of the steps that were taken, (2) an equation that matches the story/their picture and then (3) two sentences or more describing each step they took to solve the problem - metacognition and procedural writing. Less than 20% of 1st graders were able to do all three tasks at the initial stage of the inquiry. However, after four weeks of focus they are realizing great improvements and the success rate was raised to 70%! At this point, teachers move from whole class instruction to small group intervention to address differing learning sizes.
Third Grade teachers have collected data from their writing rubrics which demonstrates that students have a difficult time writing (at grade level) summaries of novels and stories. In the primary grades, there is a tremendous amount of focus on students writing with detail, however in summary writing, students must tap into other skills to be able to write a summary that is not too wordy, yet it gives the reader a good idea of the story as a whole. Through this cycle of inquiry, third grade teachers have been able to determine which areas of writing need the most attention and have collaboratively designed lessons to address this area of need. In past inquiry cycles, which have addressed writing rubrics, we have found that each child's achievement level is raised by the end of the inquiry cycle.