Encouraging Curiosity

As a Librarian, I am often asked to help with research projects with my high school students.  Some projects are truly great and engaging but too often I wonder just how interested are the students in learning something new or are they “just doing enough” to get the grade.

Creating a culture in your Library, classroom or school that embraces curiosity and celebrates learning can spark the imagination of students — especially when they have CHOICE in choosing what to research.  Teachers can do a lot to establish and model regular curiosity by asking questions, wondering aloud, sharing cool things they have learned, showing videos that are inspiring, etc.  When students see their Librarian and Teacher excited by their new discoveries they, in turn, will want to share what they have learned.

Former Social Studies teacher from Sunset High School and now District TOSA, Matt Hiefield, had every student create their own digital “Curiosity Board”  for 9th grade World History using a website called Linoit (http://en.linoit.com/).  Linoit is similar to Padlet (https://padlet.com/) and is like a digital corkboard where you can post images, text and embed videos. If an interesting question came up during a class discussion, Hiefield would direct his students to add it to their own curiosity board for investigation later on. Occasionally, he would have students research a chosen question and share what they learned during a gallery walk. What a great way to celebrate being curious!

If we want our students to be excellent researchers and be authentic in their interest in learning, we must make every effort to build a culture that acknowledges and celebrates deep learning. How do you create this culture in your classroom?