Yesterday, I wrote a blog post on the Olympics that I knew was going to cause some controversy. I was okay with that. I felt very strongly about what I had to say, and I thought that these beliefs were worth sharing. The great thing about blogging though is that it gives us this wonderful opportunity to reflect, and with this reflection, and this sharing, comes an evolving perspective. This is what happened to me.
You see, I think that I made a mistake. Sports still don’t interest me, and I am still not engaged by the sports themselves, but I think that I was very narrow-minded in my definition of the Olympics, and for that, I apologize. As people started commenting on my post last night, I realized that if the Olympics are presented as a true inquiry, then there will be multiple entry points, and all students will be engaged and interested in learning more.
I couldn’t help but use the learning in class today as an example. We just started our new inquiry unit on The Role of Government and Responsible Citizenship. I’ll admit that on paper, the unit doesn’t sound very exciting, but by providing choice on topics (from even just the different levels of government to explore) and immersing the students in the inquiry topic (by turning our classroom into the three levels of government), students are so eager to learn that they even begged me to make a change to my plans for tomorrow so that there could be more Language/Social Studies time. The structure of the inquiry helped students want to learn more. If I had structured an Olympic inquiry in the same way, would this have also been true? I’m now thinking, yes.
Do I regret not watching the hockey game yesterday? No. Do I feel like I missed out on a shared sense of national pride? No, because in my own way, I still experienced it. I kept up with all of the tweets yesterday morning. I saw the photographs. I read the encouraging words and the celebratory remarks. I experienced this Olympic event in a way that worked for me: through the Twitter stream and through the eyes of the many people in my PLN. And with inquiry, these varied ways of “watching” and “responding” to the events would work because even someone like me could have an entry point.
So I’m going to change my questions from yesterday: how do you use inquiry to engage all of your learners? How could you (or did you) use inquiry during the Olympics to make learning meaningful and fun? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! (And when are the next Olympics so that I can have a chance to act on my changing perspective? 🙂 )
So I missed this post yesterday. I also didn’t comment because I think you will see how we have been using the Olympics in the classroom today. We have been learning all about the issues around the Olympics (sexism, hetersexism, classism, racism, ableism, sportsmanship, national pride). Students have also been researching about the different sports and will be planning a school. Olympic day. It has been and is conti using to be a great inquiry project.
As for inquiry in general, you know my thoughts. I think it’s one of the greatest ways to increase talk, student engagement and assessment all in one. It really allows you to see where your students are, what they need to do and how best to support them. Great post.
Thanks Jonathan! I love how you used the Olympics in the classroom to really develop critical thinking skills and entry points for all students. They were definitely all engaged! I’m glad that I could see this in action. Thanks for helping me see a different perspective on the Olympics!
I think the thing that I love the most about this post Aviva is your desire to be open to change as a learner. You don’t have to be an expert or desire to know everything to be the kind of teacher that creates opportunities to learn.
That’s what make the time we spend as learners unique… our interests, our passions, our abilities shape our learning… some days are hard and we don’t know how we are going to make it through the day and others are just so inspiring they breeze on by.
I love seeing what you are doing in a day with your learners… seriously?
Is that all one day’s worth of amazing learning?
And all I can think is this… perspective is everything:)
Thanks for the nice comment, Jana! I think that if we want students to be “learners” then we need to be “learners” as well. That means it has to be okay for us to admit mistakes, re-examine things that we thought before, and become better because of suggestions, ideas, and questions that others share. Thank you for helping me learn and supporting me along the way!