I have never heard of this term Rhizomatic learning before this class. I felt a little bit embarrassed listening to the session and not having full understanding. I admit I “Googled” the phrase to try and get my head wrapped around what I was about to learn and have a conversation about. What I got out of the presentation was that it is similar to inquiry based learning. Students are responsible for their own learning; it doesn’t just stop after an assignment is handed in or a unit is completed. Learning should be ongoing and is considered a process.Through learning new questions and new understandings develop it can and will lead to more research or a completion of a project.

I admit that as an educator I am having troubles following this method and way of teaching. I like control. I am not the type of teacher to teach directly from a text book but I still am having troubles letting go and allowing students to be creative and in charge of their own learning. Students are also having some issues with this concept they start a project or research and they want to know when they are finished. I try to get them to develop questions and find their own answers but they don’t take it further they stop and become bored of the idea.

Photo Credit: Candace Nast via Compfight cc

Has anyone had success in using inquiry in the classroom? What are some areas that inquiry works best into the Saskatchewan curriculum? One of my favourite inquiry project that I have done was in math class. I wanted students to show their understanding of geometric shapes. To do this they needed to make a castle or a monster using as many shapes as possible. When they completed the project they needed to name the shapes they used by presenting their poster with a partner. Students also had to decide which poster they wanted to try and make into a 3D model. Students really enjoyed this project as it was hands on and I loved it because it gave me tons of opportunity to asses their learning.

Assessment. The dreaded question and what I find to be the hardest part of the job. How do you asses a process and not a final project? I have been using outcome based reporting and rubrics. I find that this works best for me. Kitchener school has developed some awesome reports for math and Language arts. I give full credit to a dear friend of mine for developing this model- Jillian Bussiere With her permission I hope I can post some examples of these reports.

Jillian and I!

Jillian and I!

If anyone has any examples of inquiry based project in the middle years I would love to hear from you! I will also try to post some websites and blog that I find useful on this concept.

About tarasmith311

Hello my name is Tara. I am an educator and a new mom to a beautiful girl Adalee. I am staying at home for the year to raise my little one but miss being in the classroom every day. I have been teaching middle year students for five years. I have decided to continue my education by taking my Masters in Educational Psychology through the University of Regina. My dream would to one day be a guidance counselor. In my free time I love to be around the pool. I have played competitive water polo for many years and have been coaching the sport for over ten years. I look forward to my journey as a new mom and life long learner.
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4 Responses to What is Rhizomatic learning?

  1. mybrainstorm says:

    I too am working on how to relinquish control and create opportunities for authentic inquiry with my grade 2s. I think one of the reasons inquiry is difficult is that it requires independence from students and I think in many ways our students are less independent than ever.
    When I researched HOW to develop research skills with primary students to support inquiry learning I discovered that there are really many prerequisite skills (everything from how to read non-fiction to how to search online and a myriad of things in between.) The biggest thing was to start with whole group inquiry, move to small group then finally independent as they were able.

    As far as assessing the process I think you need to be clear what skills they require in order to complete the product and how they’ve progressed in acquiring and using these skills.

    Thanks for the monster idea! Going to try that with my grade 2s for 2D and 3D shapes.
    Good luck with your inquiry projects!


  2. tarasmith311 says:

    I agree that there is a lot of teaching that needs to be done before the students can adventure on their own. One issue I struggle with is students who can not read the material. I love that they can find pictures and text features that help them understand but they still do not fully get all the information that I want them to. I have learned to adapt in many ways. The best thing I found was getting students to highlight what they think is important by finding key words, using Kurzwell and having them work with a student who can help them out.


  3. mybrainstorm says:

    Kurzwell? I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!


  4. tarasmith311 says:

    It is a program that a computer program that assist with reading and writing. Our board has purchased it, I find it useful but takes a long time to learn all the tricks to it.


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