#CTInquiry visits Pape Avenue P.S.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Last month we re-launched our #CTInquiry network at Pape Avenue P.S. in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).  With very little notice, and quite a long distance to travel, I looked at our gracious host worried that no one would show up!  What I love about CTI is that it's always a surprise who will attend our meeting(s), as registrations are not required.  We had a lovely turn out, with representation from several boards across Ontario.  Thank you to all who were able to join us!

Here is a peek into Lana O'Reilly & Syeda Sultana @shimmerteach's classroom! I also used Snapchat to provide an on the spot virtual tour.  For those unfamiliar with Snapchat, it's a relatively new social media platform that can be downloaded like other apps.  Once you search my name "joannebabalis," you are able to view short video clips or images in the form of a story.  This story only remains available for viewing during the twenty-four hour period that it was posted.

Please note, that I have also included some images from a visit that I had with Lana the year before as well!

During our session we discussed the article, "Your image of the child: Where teaching begins," by Loris Malaguzzi and made some plans for the following sessions.

Here are some of the ideas that were part of our rich discussion:

A quote from the article that inspired us, "There are hundreds of different images of the child.  Each one of you has inside yourself an image of the child that directs you as you begin to relate to a child.  This theory within you pushes you to behave in certain ways; it orients you as you talk to the child, listen to the child, observe the child" (Malaguzzi, 1993, p. 1).

Does our image of the child (in theory) match what we do daily in our programs (in practice)?

We spoke about putting ourselves in the child's position, and ensuring that we create a safe space for them to learn and grow.  Moreover, that the foundation of any school and classroom as a positive place, which includes ALL children.

A common theme that was discussed, was this notion of "time" and slowing down to allow the learning and experiences to go deeper.  When we provide open ended periods throughout our day, it becomes easier to build relationships, participate in play/inquiry learning, and explore the creative process.  When we let go magic happens!

Participants shared some of their ongoing wonderings:
  • How do we move beyond the pressures of documenting? How can we ensure that all of our students are being documented?
  • How might we grow more comfortable with the unknown that may occur within our school day? (embracing an emergent curriculum)
  • How do we plan in a way that will keep our students engaged over time? What are some "look fors" to support next steps of a provocation? 
  • What are some ways to communicate with families and get them involved so that they can understand our program?  (Specifically discussions around documentation and learning rather than what did my child eat for lunch...)
  • When an inquiry begins, how do we know where to take it so that it may unfold naturally?
  • How do we balance between exploration and curriculum? 
  • How do we encourage our colleagues to go beyond worksheets and cookie cutter crafts?

Current topics of interest and inquiry within their classrooms:
  • secret hideaways
  • fairies
  • castles
  • trees
  • space and rockets
  • ice and snow
  • animals
  • makers (engaged creatively with loose parts)
  • seeds and plants
  • gears
  • transformers
  • ponies
  • cars
  • hair salon

I challenged participants to share this article with their teaching partner or team and have a discussion about their image of the child.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 27th, 2016) we will be meeting in @maureencicinelli's classroom at St. Cecilia Catholic Elementary School of the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB).  Our meeting will be from 6:00-8:00 p.m., and we will be reading "From policing to participation: Overturning the rules and creating amiable classrooms," by Carol Anne Wien.

We have also agreed upon bringing a piece of documentation from our inquiry work to study together.  This could be a photograph, transcription of student talk, video clip, work sample, etc.

Be sure to follow along using the #CTInquiry hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, as well as, joannebabalis on Snapchat for a live tour!

If you are attending future events and would like to help with any of the following:

  • hosting a future session
  • providing snacks
  • arriving earlier to guide participants to our meeting room
  • donating a book or gift for the classroom we visit
  • co-facilitating the discussion in person or during our Twitterchats
  • setting up a provocation using something you tried in your own context (optional: with documentation)
  • presenting a project or strategy that you are proud of or that you feel the group would benefit from
  • sharing a new professional resource
  • recommending articles that are available online for us to read at future meetings
  • offering other ideas, events, locations, etc. for #CTInquiry 

This is our network, so please consider getting involved! You may let me know via email (joannemariebabalis@gmail.com) and we can make arrangements! 

A huge thank you is extended upon our gracious hosts, Lana O'Reilly and her teacher candidates for making this first session such a successful one! Your warm welcome and inspiring space, left us all wanting more opportunities to connect!

For information regarding future #CTInquiry meetings, online chats, or to download all the readings ahead of time, please click here.

The beautiful thing

about learning

is nobody can take it away 

from you.

                                                                        -B.B. King

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