Brooke Moore (@bmooreintheloop) is the Vice Principal and teacher at West Bay Elementary in West Vancouver, B.C. She is a member of BC's Networks of Inquiry and Innovation (formally NPBS). Brooke is passionate about how assessment can empower and move learners forward. She has shared this passion at workshops and presentations to educators all over BC and a little bit in China. Brooke shares the Networks' goal of 100% of students walking the stage with dignity, purpose and options.
Jumping into Inquiry
We had scheduled a Skype conversation Thursday afternoon, which is probably why Shelley Wright and her inquiry-minded ways were on my mind when I met with my Grade 8 English class Thursday morning. I had had a beautiful lesson plan ready to go; it involved a Venn diagram and some discussion that would lead to an epiphany about The Outsiders and life. It was a beautiful plan.
But then I opened my mouth and this came out: “what do you want to learn?”
My students played along and we ended up circled around ten of our favourite questions. We needed to come to consensus, so I asked one of the students to keep a speakers’ list and notified everyone that I would be part of the circle.
Liam threw me a sharp look and said, “You mean you aren’t going to give us the question?”
“No,” I said. “The whole point of this is for you guys to decide what you want to learn.”
“Yeah, but I thought you were just going to “let” us choose.”
“Nope,” I felt almost as shocked as Liam looked and wondered if “letting” students choose is what I normally do.
Liam, now looking incredulous, got more fully engaged in the consensus-making.
About 6 years ago when I went from grading to feedback, I felt a sense of flow enter my classroom. I feel on the brink of that flow again.
As for what my students really want to know? Here is their question: How do people find happiness in the darkest places?
As for what I want to know? Other than what to do next class (something Shelley helped me out with – thank you, Shelley!), I’m curious to see where this path will lead me and where it will lead my students, because – this time – we’re all learners.