Curious Classroom Book Study: Investigate Ourselves and Our Classmates

Friday, 14 July 2017

Chapter 2

In This Chapter

This chapter is about the relationships that need to be developed and sustained in order to create a collaborative environment for inquiry.  It's about providing structures to "work explicitly on both identity (Who am I?) and acquaintance (Who are we?)."  The author reminds us that, "We can take affirmative steps from the start of the year to dramatically raise the odds of growing a collaborative group of students who can take responsibility for challenging and cooperative inquiries all year long."

Included are activities for creating "me charts" such as identity maps, partner venns,  and pie charts.  You'll also find ideas for exploring differences through a game called Step in, Step Out, and for those serving highly diverse populations, suggestions on ways to have children share their first languages. Lastly, there are several pages devoted to developing morning greeting rituals as a means of building community and getting your day off to a great start! 

What I've Tried

The mapping activities shared in the beginning of this chapter, might be a bit challenging for most beginning kindergartners. So here's a Heart Map I've used, in case you also work with young children, and are looking for something a bit simpler.

Children can use this map to draw and/or write what is "inside their hearts" while finding out what is near and dear to each other.

For me, one of the most important thoughts included in this chapter, comes at the end when the author reminds us that, "building a community isn't just a first-week-of-school-thing."  While beginning-of-year, get-to-know-you type of activities definitely have their place (you can find mine here), it's been my experience that providing time for a daily meeting to talk with the children about current classroom happenings such as project work, behavior, or home-school connections is essential to building the relationships necessary for inquiry work.  Through this structure, children share ideas, contribute to problem solving, and come to know that their contributions are valued.  You can read about my journey toward this type of meeting here!

What I'd Like to Try

I appreciated the section in this chapter on developing a morning greeting ritual as I think mine could use a little work! I like the idea of the dance party, but also might consider something a little more mellow such as Cosmic Yoga.

It also makes me think of an idea that has stayed with me for a long time, but I have yet to try, which is simply having the children engage with books upon arrival.  Check out this video by kindergarten teacher and author Sue Kempton, who writes a lot about this morning book time in her books, The Literate Kindergarten and her more recent work, Let's Find Out!  I've also seen (and I can't remember where) the idea of a "book blanket," which was a circular blanket laid out each morning for the children upon arrival and filled with books for them to explore - such a lovely, welcoming idea!

Your Turn

What are some ways you set the stage for inquiry by building relationships and community in your classroom? What new ideas are you wanting to implement?  Share your ideas in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I recently bought this book and have only skimmed so far so this will be very timely! Thank you for this! Your entire blog is great! Love the authenticity and child centered-ness (is that a word?! Lol). I teach first grade but find your kindergarten posts very inspiring! Agree that the first weeks of the year really set the tone for building community but it shouldn't stop there ... needs to be ongoing. Responsive Clsssroom books, online videos, and blog posts are very helpful with this! Ana

    1. Hi Ana! Glad to have you reading along with me! Yes, responsive classroom aligns well with this and are great resources for those looking to build community. Do you have a favorite Responsive Classroom book or even a video that was especially helpful to you?