Archives For April 2014


Skating Covent Garden London

Today Shannon Robb and I co-taught to kick off a new unit in Social Studies.  Through the picture above we were hoping to provoke students to think about aspects of daily life including:

  • Recreation
  • Clothing
  • Housing
  • Role of Children
  • Work
  • Religion and Spiritual Practices



We used a visible thinking strategy: I see, I think, I wonder.  Or, if you’re really fancy: I observe, I infer, I wonder.  The students wonderings are recording on this table below.

Student Number Wondering
20 I wonder if they are skating?
15 I wonder if they person with the white jacket was teaching the other guy.
8 I wonder if there is a restaurant?
19 I wonder if it’s London, Ontario
17 I wonder if it’s in London?
6 I wonder if it is Christmas time?
12 I wonder if the Christmas lights are in downtown London?
23 I wonder why there is snow.
14 I wonder if the snow hasn’t melted yet.
2 I wonder if it’s cold.
18 I wonder why they are skating.
5 I wonder if it’s fun to go skating there.
13 I wonder if it is a mall or something else.
9 I wonder if they are having fun?
10 I wonder if you can learn to skate there.
7 I wonder if I’ll know what’s the tallest building?
11 I wonder what the big A is for (The sign with the big A).
22 I wonder what is inside the buildings.
3 I wonder what the building in the background are for.
21 Absent.

We are going to keep track of the students wonderings and see how we can get our students to think more deeply over time.  Here are the themes that emerged from this first attempt.  Students wondered about:

Skating and Recreation/Fun  (N = 5)

Location (N = 2)

Celebrations, Religious and Spiritual Practices (N = 1)

Housing & Work (Infrastructure/services/buildings) (N=6)

As you can see by the themes that are in bold, some items from our list did come up.

Our next steps are to work with students using a shared inquiry model to focus on Religious and Spiritual practices in our daily lives. Shannon and I are leading with this one because we felt it was the most challenging and potentially would put students in an uncomfortable position of feeling as though they had to be ambassadors for their religions.  We want to facilitate sharing and students being able to see and learn from one another.  We decided to lead this one to ensure many voices are heard, model inclusion, empathy and appreciating different points of view. This will serve us well when students form inquiry circles to study the other aspects of daily life in the present day. We will guide the students to live like researchers and consider many different perspectives and points of view. They will also have to engage in social studies research methods to confirm or disprove what they think they know on various topics. This different forms of thinking and research will include: looking at artifacts, interviewing, studying pictures and other more traditional means of research including web search.