Collaborative reflections on our unit of inquiry

We have arrived at the end of our second unit of inquiry for the year. Our transdisciplinary theme was ‘How We Organise Ourselves’ and our central idea was ‘People use systems to organise information and acquire knowledge’.

We visited some wonderful places such as the Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne Aquarium, Scienceworks, Melbourne Museum and Polly Woodside. We looked at the ways each place was systematically organised, how they presented information and how we could locate the information to acquire a better understanding of our own areas of interest.

It is always fulfilling reaching the end of the unit and reviewing our teaching and learning collaboratively. For our students, it is a chance to self-assess their learning and their journey through the unit of inquiry. For us as teachers, a chance to assess what went well, what could be better, what needs to be modified and what needs to be completely thrown away for next time.

My students and I unpacked our rubric, and we were able to give an open, honest reflection of our learning. We considered the beginning, developing and established stages of our conceptual understandings, and discussed what evidence we had to validate them.

Respectful of each other’s reflections, this is what our collaborative reflection looked like once we shared our evidence:

20150519_132918A truly visual representation of our ‘collaborative self-assessment’. We discussed as a class what this new addition to our classroom walls actually tells us:

  • That we think and understand in different ways
  • That we have different ideas about what certain things mean
  • That some people take longer to totally grasp a concept than others

I considered one of our school’s learning principles – ‘We learn in different ways, depending on abilities, learning styles, preferences and interests‘ – and now I feel comfortable accepting that we can’t expect, hope or demand that all of our learners reach the ‘established’ stage of a particular learning focus. Maybe that’s something I hadn’t thought about earlier.

For our next unit I’ve decided to put our rubric up on a wall as it commences. I have placed the photos of my students on a table underneath it. This time, we won’t wait until the end of the unit to pin our faces up – we’ll be doing it throughout.

I feel this will be a great way for me to monitor individual and collective student learning and give me a better understanding of what needs to be taught. It’s another way I will utilise our whole-school goal of using data to inform teaching and learning.



About Dean Kuran

I'm a primary school teacher at an IB PYP school in Melbourne, Australia. I believe in establishing positive environments in which students can develop confidence and curiosity, while nurturing the skills that will benefit them outside of the learning space.
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One Response to Collaborative reflections on our unit of inquiry

  1. lanafleiszig says:

    It’s amazing how powerful a visible reflection can be – for the teacher and the learners! I like your shift in thinking with regard to having the rubric up throughout the next unit. I can’t wait to hear what happens. One thing I know for sure – it will be even more powerful in so many ways. Keep us posted.

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