Who We Are… making inquiry global

the best teachers are those who tell you where to look but don't tell you what to see{buy this print – not sponsored}

Last week we continued our inquiry into Who We Are by adding a global perspective. After finding out about who we are and who our friends are, it was time for this class of five year olds to find out about children from around the world. That’s a pretty big concept for these kiddos!

We used a beautiful photography book called “Where Children Sleep” by James Mollison to hook into what we notice and what we wonder. For our first try we went through this thinking routine as a whole class, then we split up into groups.

Previously I have used the ‘See, Think, Wonder‘ thinking routine with 5 year olds. This time I decided to stick to ‘What do you notice?’ and ‘What do you wonder?’. This really helped to focus children’s thinking on each question. In my experience ‘think’ and ‘wonder’ can be too similar for children who are still learning to share their thinking. But what do I know?

Notice and Wonder Thinking Routine

Here is my version of the notice and wonder thinking routine, adapted from my dabbling with Making Thinking Visible from personal reading and sharing (pinching) ideas with/from my PLN. I really hope to study the MTV program soon – I’ll let you know if I achieve that goal, I’m working on it! *wink wink, nudge nudge to leadership*

  • Show the image (or object/artefact/artwork).
  • Ask: what do you notice? Record children’s thinking.
  • Ask: what do you wonder? Record children’s thinking.
  • Stop and add more information. In this case it was the notes from the photographer about the child and where they sleep.
  • Ask: what do you wonder? Record children’s thinking.
  • Share: share the noticing and wondering as a class.
  • Add more: add more noticing and wondering as a group.

Another thing that this reflection has prompted me to add to this routine for next time…

  • Keep coming back: Display the photographs in the classroom for children to continue to look at and discuss. Add more noticing and wondering as it comes up.

Here’s a little video of the thinking we made visible on our first attempt at this thinking routine:

I have a class of 27 and it’s pretty tricky trying to get all their thinking recorded. The fact is, we can’t all have a turn when we’re doing whole class activities – their attention span just isn’t up for it. One way I make sure that there is always a range of children participating is using pop sticks rather than ‘hands up’ (props to Dylan Wiliam).

When I want to get small groups or individuals recording I make good use of our awesome Year 7 (12 year old) big buddies! They are da bomb when it comes to prompting our new Receptions to share their thinking and recording the younger children’s ideas.

Read some of the student’s thinking as recorded by their big buddies:

Who We Are Making Inquiry Global Who We Are Making Inquiry Global Who We Are Making Inquiry Global Who We Are Making Inquiry Global

If we weren’t lucky enough to have big buddies we could use our Seesaw Learning Journal (the newest love of my life – we’ve been going steady for about a year now). Students could take photos of the photos (!) and then leave an audio comment of their noticing and wondering. I will write about Seesaw one of these days too…


And check it, yo! … this task has built in creative thinking for intellectual stretch! It:

  • has an ungoogleable answer
  • requires sharing and collaboration
  • makes thinking visible
  • lets student’s do the thinking
  • allows students to jump in at their level
  • allows students to stretch their thinking
  • encourages students to stop and think

I wonder… does it have a ‘what if’ factor? Does it have productive failure? What do you think? I think kinda sorta…

Tell me about how your student’s inquiries are global. I dare ya.

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