Monday, 5 August 2013


Today has been an excellent day of evaluation, specifically Inquiry in practice. In the various classes and levels of Riverdale School, I've selected features of the Riverdale Wave, Think It Great, Think Box & Learning pathway that need to be further developed in my practice.

Transforming LC12's Inquiry Learning Pathway to resemble the Riverdale Wave & Think it Great process.

How will I adopt and integrate the KWHLAQ, Riverdale Wave, Think it Great & Think Box effectively in my classroom practice.

Observations & Interviews- 06.08.2013.

I will make appointments with members of the Sky Scrapers to see Inquiry in practice at the senior level.

30.07.2013- I met with D.Peck to discuss my Teacher Inquiry. This has led me to develop this Teacher Inquiry blog.

Refer to link:


  • A scrapbook of the Term's Inquiry learning must be assembled and made available to students, parents  & colleagues. At the end of Term 3, I will take photos of the learning process, and with the help of students annotate these and paste the learning into a scrapbook for our class library.
  • My students need to become experts in Inquiry, and in being cognisant of WHY / HOW they learn. I will post WALTS and the Learning Pathway stages onto the wall, and ensure that I discuss the process as explicitly as possible with the students individually, in groups or as a class. I will invite WhaeaL et al to visit and interview my Ss about the inquiry process.
  • My students will need to highlight for themselves their progress, in their books. By showing the part of the Inquiry process they are up to as they learn. The students will CODE their learning with numbers/ letters and words that relate to the WAVE et al.
  • The HOOK component of the wave is more than the introduction of K as I have proposed in an earlier post. Instead I will need to provide the Ss with a challenge / problem for them to solve. I will begin Week 3 with the challenge of developing an ACTION PLAN that details strategies for BEING PREPARED for a Natural disaster. I'll play the "incredibles" clip to the class and present this on the wall as the HOOK. After using this I'll then ask the class to support me in planning out the INQUIRY LEARNING pathway.
  • I will present in SECTION 3 of my planning folder the THINK IT GREAT learning pathway similar to the Junior school model. This will be evident in Ss work books in the form of pasted notes from class discussions.



Appointments I made with teachers to discuss Inquiry.

As part of my TEACHER INQUIRY I was given a CRT to complete observations of Inquiry teaching, to view walls / books, to interview students and teachers. 

Below are paraphrased transcripts of my findings. 

My next blog post will describe my SO WHAT or NEXT STEPS and a 'RE-THINKING' of where my class is at in terms of the RIVERDALE WAVE, THINK BOX & THINK IT GREAT learning pathway.

DISCLAIMER- To ensure participant anonymity I have created pseudonyms for my interviewees. I aim to present findings and this is in no way meant to be a judgement of classroom practice in Riverdale. Instead, I intend to use this to inform my classroom practice and apply my new learning.

Interview with M (student).
I asked M to describe the goings on in the class scrap book from Term 1 & 2. She was very knowledgeable of the learning pathway and cited several reasons to my questions. I asked her about the WONDER BRAINSTORMS in the books, she informed me that they were completed in groups and Ss discussed their prior knowledge and recorded their ideas as listed bullet points.

There was a KWL chart, according to M they completed K & W prior to the Marae visit and then recorded L afterward. This would be a perfect way to reflect on a field trip and to encourage evaluative thinking. 

M was very excited about the research they'd carried out online using the tablets to find out more about the Marae and Ti Kanga. M described the literacy link - Narrative writing, and recalled the process of analysing the deeper features of Legends and describing the meaning of the legends, which led me to see that they were clearly understanding more about how Tikanga is based around the oral retelling of said legends. 

Independent critical thinking tasks literally litter both scrapbooks from T1 & 2. M described how the Ss independently completed reasoning charts and then listed reasons to rules for visiting a Marae and discussed their answers with peers. Below is an example of said task.

Interview about the Riverdale Wave and Think Box:
Mr. P- Can you tell me about the RIVERDALE WAVE?
M- IDK what that is, is that the picture on the walls?
Mr. P- Yes, can you tell me about the Think Box?
M- We have circled everything we've achieved in the class over the year, we've watched videos, sent emails etc.

LC6 use the Think BOX as a check list, whereby they can see quite quickly what it is that has been achieved in their learning so far. 

Interview with I, Mi & WhaeaG.

Displayed on the wall are K & W charts illustrating the prior knowledge of Te Reo, Tikanga and Marae. The students also listed Wonderings AKA- 'What do we want to know?'
Ss completed a reflection task involving the presentation programme 'Comic Life'. Ss annotated trip pictures with the going's on in these pictures. 

Interview about the Riverdale Wave & Think Box:
Mr. P: How is inquiry learning recorded?
I: We don't really write it down.
Mr.P: Tell me about the Riverdale Wave.
I: I don't know what that is. Oh it's different parts of your learning.
Mr.P: Where on the wave are you?
I: Explore, because I'm still trying to see what I can do.
Mr.P: Show me in your books what you've done that relates to the wave?
Mi: I don't know, I can't really find anything.

Mr.P: How is the R.W & T.B integrated into your programme?
WhaeaG: We don't use the T.B. The Ss have a Personal Investigations planner in their books that has an Umbrella question, and the 'feeder questions' to help them understand / answer the U.Q. The students then would need to annotate the planner with the wave. At the moment the wave belongs to Teacher's and not to Ss in LC11. We aim to give them a process, as it's a learning process and if Ss want to know about something then this is the process they are to use. They're not owning this process just yet.
Mr.P: Should students be independently using the wave?
WhaeaG: I developed this planning process around "Find it out Friday". In the senior school the students needed to complete Personal Investigations. However, the learning needs to be guided through the use of a planner [the one I've given them]. When students fully understand the process then they're better equipped to carry out a Personal Investigation. [I need to make it more clear to them so that they understand the place of the wave in our classroom.]


On the wall is an excellent example of THINK IT GREAT and the RIVERDALE WAVE. Stages 1-8 are flagged against the various stages of the WAVE, along with photocopies of student work, WALTS, and blurbs that describe each stage in terms of LITERACY, specifically Narrative writing. The wave is used as a guide for the Ss to follow in the development of Narrative writing, the teacher has proposed the problem 'How do we write a Narrative?'. Ss are then encouraged to EXPLORE strategies for meeting this challenge. Ss evaluation of writing is also posted on the wall, demonstrating a strong focus on metacognition in action with young students. The transpearancy of the learning process is exemplary! It is clear how the WHAT and HOW of learning is linked to the terms Inquiry. 

Interview about The Riverdale Wave and Think It Great:

Mr.P- Tell me about the integration of the Wave and Think it Great in your classroom. I've interviewed some Ss, and they weren't completely clear about the purpose of the wave.
WhaeaN- The Ss haven't had enough history with the wave thus far. Inquiry in the way it is taught currently has been running for about 2 years. Laine Clarke renamed Personal Investigations as 'Personal Fluffing Around' and therefore deemed them ineffective in her eyes. Therefore, [if a P.I is ineffective she believes that] the T has to be [directly] involved in the P.I and ensure that the Ss develop new learning whilst carrying out a P.I. 

The HOOK has to be a challenge or Problem, not just a fun motivation. It has to be genuine. [A question must always be asked]... Why do I have to know about this now?

Mr.P- Where do you stand in terms of integration?
WhaeaN- We [WhaeaJ & WhaeaN] plan everything together, the Ss are lucky because they have two experts, one in Literacy and one in Numeracy & Inquiry. The Think It Great process only works when you produce something. TiG is integrated into the wave.


The walls paint a clear picture of the emphasis of INQUIRY in the classroom. The Tumuake of Riverdale has presented a real problem to each of the Junior Classes which is evident on LC2's wall. The focus on WONDER & EXPLORE follows this closely.

I interviewed 4 Ss from LC7, R, N, Ma & Le.
They demonstrated a similar understanding of the KWL from previous classes. R was keen to explain how they'd found answers to a picture label task by visiting websites on tablets. N was knowledgeable of the initial stage of the Inquiry by explaining what they learned. Ma & Le showed their Thinking books. I asked them to show me the work they're most proud of. They showed my the STOP, START, STAY chart, and clearly explained how they analysed their learning behaviour and then set goals. Mi described how they then set about understanding various Maori patterns, which are proudly presented on the class wall. Under each are labels describing the features of each. The Ss then highlighted how their Visual Art was integrated into their Inquiry. 

Mr.P: What does TiG look like in your classroom?
WhaeaK: There's a wall display up in the classroom that I don't take down, and when Market day happens we'll TiG.

The WAVE was carried out in an analysis of FLAGS. The Ss developed personal flags that represented them as individuals or as groups. They developed questions to guide their research. 
Through out their Inquiry book is a clear METACOGNITIVE approach to literacy, the Ss analyse a product or object using each of De Bono's Thinking Hats. 

A special thank you to all participants in my Teacher Inquiry.


TERM 3, 2013- Inquiry Learning through KWHLAQ

Key Focus- What does INQUIRY look like in LC12 currently?
As at Week 2, 2013, here is a snapshot.

In previous terms I have taught Ss to sift through research material looking for the KEY IDEAS / WORDS. They then highlight, and record the important information in list form known as DOT JOTS. DOT JOTS look like this:

The class split into their original research groups and I gave them several websites to visit and research packs. From this they created group DOT JOTS. The students then glued this information into their books and began to KERNAL their dot jots ready for paragraph writing.


Topic choice: 

Inquiry at Riverdale School- an analysis of the Riverdale wave, school curriculum, learning pathway and teaching paradigm.

Why the choice: 

As a new teacher to Riverdale School I see it as one of my priorities to align my classroom programme with the learning pathway of the school. Whilst I will align my programme I will also maintain aspects of Inquiry which I know to improve the recording of the Inquiry process, namely KWHLAQ. A major theme that connects the curriculum within this school is the Riverdale Wave and the ‘Think It Great’ tool. Preliminary discussions about this process have led me to believe that it can be difficult to track, and to have recorded what it is that students are learning. As I have a surface understanding of this process, I aim to further develop my understanding, perhaps clarify any misunderstandings, through observation, reflection, and teacher interviews. I will also provide my findings through a private blog. I intend to demonstrate what underpins my practice and the purpose of the Riverdale Wave, the application of ‘Think It Great’, and the integration of KWHLAQ within my classroom.