Empowered Inquiry Spaces

Gone are the days of a shhh, quiet and isolating learning spaces. Whether we are referring to our classrooms, our learning commons or our small group work rooms, we believe that our learning spaces need to be designed with inquiry in mind.  We elaborate on this belief throughout Chapter 8 in Inquiry Mindset. Trevor MacKenzie and I speak to the idea of shifting our traditional learning spaces towards becoming more collaborative learning environments that are designed with intention and flexibility to support our learners working in inquiry. 

The design of our space is crucial to creating a culture of inquiry.  We spend time demonstrating and explicitly teaching our learners the benefit and purpose of each step. We model how to use various tools and spaces in our room to be successful and feel supported in our learning environments. We are inspired by David Thornburg’s work and his book Campfires in Cyberspace. Thornburg proposes learning spaces that empower our learners with choice and flexible seating to best meet their needs and allow them to learn in a way that supports them. We feel these spaces lend well to creating an empowered inquiry space. The Cave, the Watering hole, the Campfire and Life are four spaces that resonate with us and inspired us to write about in Inquiry Mindset.

Here is a sketchnote and brief explanation of each space. For more details please see Chapter 8 of Inquiry Mindset. 

Empowered Inquiry Spaces -Aug 2018 (1).png

Trevor and I are eager to implement these four learning spaces with our learners this upcoming school year. We will be introducing the learning spaces using this sketchnote. In addition, we have designed individual visuals for each space. We believe that the individual visuals support the explicit teaching and modeling of how and when to appropriately choose a space. We propose using the visuals around your room and perhaps on your front board to give space choices during specific learning blocks.

I have printed and laminated the larger set of the visuals and have them up on my front board ready to implement with my learners and I cannot wait to share with you how it goes. If you are feeling just as excited as we are about creating an Empowered Inquiry Space, click here to download the visuals and use them in your learning environment. 

We are sure you will have many more ideas and ways to use these visuals and we can’t wait to see what you do with them. Remember, in inquiry we are more powerful together, please do share to our online community how you use this resource in your classroom using our #InquiryMindset tag.

Stay curious, 
Rebecca 

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