A Chat with Trevor Mackenzie

My daughter makes fun of me when I use the word cool, but that’s the best way that I can describe today.  Cool.

Take a look:


Yep.  That’s Trevor MacKenzie, author of Dive Into Inquirychatting with me about the ideas in his book.  I’ve been interested in student-centred learning for years, but I haven’t had a solid framework to use for larger tasks.  Trevor’s book is helping me appreciate and understand the structure of inquiry so I can confidently approach open-ended projects with my students.

A few days ago, I wrote about my first encounters with essential questions, so I wanted to clarify my thinking in today’s chat with Trevor.  At this point, my concern was the creation of these questions:  was it ok if I didn’t find it easy to create an essential question?  Who knew it would be a learning experience to simply clarify the question you’re going to try to answer!



The student who began his inquiry last week wasn’t in class this afternoon, so I began talking about inquiry with another student since I knew that she has a passion for trapping.  Before creating an essential question, I wanted to know what was important to her so that I might help her connect her love of trapping with our art class.

At one point, I thought back to my conversation with Trevor when he was discussing the importance of why.  As I looked at Brandi’s notes, I asked her, “When I look at your final art work, what do you want me to understand?  What do you want me to think; to value?”  This is when she was able to talk about the importance of trapping as something that is shared in her family, passed down through the generations.

Now we’re getting somewhere…

Meanwhile, other students began listening to our conversation and began asking if they could design their own inquiry too.

That’s pretty cool.  

*I’m looking forward to exploring some examples of student work that have been shared on Trevor’s blog.

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