TLLP - Inquiry and Research in Social Sciences and Humanities

Each course in the new 9-12 Social Sciences and Humanities document features Research and Inquiry as the first strand.  Six teachers, each representing various disciplines within Social Sciences and Humanities (General Social Science, General Family Studies, Social Justice/Equity, Foods, Fashion, Parenting), met four times to share best practices and develop new assessments based on inquiry and research. Assessments included anything from formal Social Science research process work to informal research that could be completed using ipads or Smartphones. These resources were uploaded to a board-wide "Social Sciences and Humanities Curriculum Share" group on D2L. These resources are available to any Social Sciences and Humanities teacher within our board. At the end of the school year, one Social Science and Humanities teacher-representative from each school within the board was invited to a one-day inservice to present and share our work from the year. We hope that the D2L group is sustainable and teachers will continue to collaborate by sharing and posting inquiry-based resources. It is our intention that the large-group professional learning community will continue into the future. 

The most significant challenge of the TLLP was scheduling dates for six teachers to get together. This was much easier said than done. In retrospect, we should have set out the dates from the start, rather than "book as you go." We had a few team members leave the TLLP group (due to maternity leaves and other major life events) but we were able to bring new people in halfway during the school year. 

An interesting strategy that I will continue to implement in the future is using student inquiry to plan a course. In the first few days of a course, we handed students a list of overall expectations, and had them graffiti/write/scribble questions they had about any topics outlined in the curriculum expectations.  From there, teachers organized units keeping the student questions in mind. We believe this increased student engagement (and likely, achievement) as students were able to contribute their own voice to help shape the course. I'm not sure if this strategy could be used in all courses, but it certainly fits with the nature of Social Science and its inherent spirit of inquiry. 

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