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Hawaiian school parents get inspiration at book club

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Parents at Le Jardin Academy in Kailua, Hawaii, joined Lower School Principal Majken Johansson to delve into John Barell’s book Did You Ever Wonder: Fostering Curiosity Here There and Everywhere. Majken tells us all about the group’s experience.

Q: What practical advice did the group learn from the book?

We discovered lots of practical ideas to use at home and in school. Things like: thinking out loud to demonstrate our own wonders for our children; creating games to engage our children in mathematical concepts and higher level thinking skills; the importance of talking about our day at the dinner table and then asking each other questions, ensuring all questions are responded to; the importance of talking with our children when we don’t know the answers and discussing how can we find out; rather than pointing out mistakes in our children’s work, we could ask them to look at it again so they have a chance to find the mistake for themselves.

Q: How has the group implemented some of these practical things in reality?

One parent emailed me after the club, “The book and discussions have been inspiring and I enjoyed learning from other parents. As a family, we usually play “Guess the Animal” at meal times and during long drives, but now we’ve added a “Did You Ever Wonder” game as an alternative option.

Each person gets to ask a question that we all try to answer. My husband once asked “Did you ever wonder why the sky is blue?” Our four year old thought someone might be shining a huge blue light into the sky, while our six year old thought it to be a reflection of the sea. It’s a priceless glimpse into their minds!”

Q: How might the book foster inquiry in the classroom?

It serves as a great reminder for adults to engage with students as facilitators–throwing out clues without leading them directly to the treasure. In doing so, more time will be spent on wonders and asking crucial questions instead of just finding answers. Adults will begin to foster independence by providing opportunities for children to think about their learning by allowing more time to reflect.

Q: Has the book helped parents get a better understanding of the IB’s Primary Years Programme?

20130924_085359Parents were given mathematical manipulatives at one of our sessions and asked to create a mathematics game. Afterwards, they were given a copy of the transdisciplinary skills and asked to highlight any skill used (communication, research, thinking… etc). Nearly all the skills were highlighted and they realized how enriching an activity, such as creating a game, can be. We linked this activity directly with the book’s chapter about games. This helped parents understand the higher level of thinking skills used in IB World Schools.

Find out more about Did You Ever Wonder: Fostering Curiosity Here, There and Everywhere on the IB store.