Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Literacy Beginnings: Chapter 3

Today is my turn on the Book Study Blog Party. We're discussing chapter 3 today - Promoting Constructive Learning: Engaging Children in Inquiry.

(Chapter 1 was covered by Vanessa at Pre-K Pages; Chapter 2 by Deborah at Teach Preschool.)

This chapter reinforced the idea introduced in Chapter 1 - that play, exploration, and discovery are vital to a child's learning and growing. This type of constructive learning expands the brain's capability and grows a child's overall understanding of the world.

The chapter focused on the process of inquiry - asking questions and seeking solutions. Information seeking inquiry focuses on a specific question or problem and works for a solution or answer. Wondering inquiry is more general and broad. Young children use both kinds - and so do adults.

I like the process the authors illustrated for inquiry.

Mess Around (notice, wonder)

Let's put these lids on top of the others.

Define Question (plan for observing)

Look! I have green on the bottom and red on the top.

Find Out (investigate, explore)

I can mix up the materials to make 10.

Share Learning (discuss, draw conclusions)

We can roll and race the counting chips.
Look! They can knock down other obstacles.

By providing open-ended activities, teachers can help kids form questions, explore, wonder, and learn. That applies to literacy and to other learning.

Next up in the tour: Prekinders will discuss chapter 4 - An Organized, Engaging Environment for Learning.


  1. First of all - I am loving the lid activities! Second, I love how the authors say, "We do not want children to see school as just a place where they simply 'take-in' facts... but rather as a place for exploration and discovery." Building (or constructing) with blocks is a great way to remember the term 'Constructive Learning'. You do a lot of observations on block play Scott - all of your observations help me see constructive learning in action.

  2. Great activity Scott, so many possibilities and all of them are "right" :) I enjoy the inquiry process because it helps me understand how the child thinks. They don't think "outside the box" because they don't have a box- everything they do and think is new to them. I'm always learning a different way to do things from my students, I find myself saying often "I never thought of doing it that way, what a great idea!"
    Can't wait to read more of your posts on this book!

  3. Exploration and discovery is the strongest and most essential aspect of child development. The best part of my day is when a child entres my classroom on a monday morning and seeks out the "New" activity - their face lights up when they manipulate it and find success - independantly!
    I always introduce new activities to discover every Monday.

  4. That's great, Scott! Love how you took something recycled and that children see in their lives everyday and turned into a discovery activity!