Special Topics

In addition to ongoing professional development for teachers and administrators, Inquiry By Design offers training and development in a variety of special topics related to content areas, assessment, coaching and apprenticeship, writing for CCSS, writing for college and career readiness (TEKS), as well as dealing with difficult, complex texts. Contact us if you are interested in bringing one of these special topic sessions to your school or district.

Close Reading in the Content Area
Assessment Institutes
Writing in the Era of Common Core
Writing for College and Career Readiness (Texas)
Working With Complex Texts: Dealing With Difficulty
Apprenticing Literacy Across the Disciplines
Teaching as Apprenticeship: Text and Task Progression

Close Reading in the Content Area

One- or two-day options.

This workshop supports the implementation of close reading of complex texts in two text-heavy content areas: history/social studies and science. In the one-day option of the session, participants work through a close reading unit in history/social studies or science that features text-based discussion and writing tasks. Based on their “as learner” experiences, participants reflect on the role of complex texts, task sequences, and collaboration in the close reading of complex texts in their respective disciplines. Participants leave with the ability to successfully implement an Inquiry By Design close reading unit in their classrooms. When the workshop is expanded to two days, the second-day session introduces participants to text complexity and text-dependent questions to help teachers develop close reading lessons with complex texts for their grade levels and content areas.

Assessment Institutes

One- or two-day options.

Inquiry By Design offers two-day assessment institutes to support the new Common Core-aligned assessments: PARCC and Smarter Balanced. Through a hands-on, inquiry-based approach, participants explore demands of Common-Core aligned assessments. Participants also deepen their understanding of the role of complex texts and create text-dependent tasks to support student achievement on the assessments. Through work with grade-level texts and text-complexity rubrics, participants develop a vision of instruction that reinforces students' ability to comprehend and analyze complex texts.

Writing in the Era of Common Core

One day.

The Common Core writing standards demand that students produce high-quality, text-based writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. This is a new requirement for many of our nation’s students and requires an instructional shift for many teachers. The question on many educators’ minds is: What does instruction that prepares students for the writing demands of the Common Core actually look and sound like in a classroom?

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Participants will learn about the state of writing instruction in secondary classrooms based on the most current research. In one segment of the session, they will participate as a learner in Common Core-aligned lessons using Inquiry By Design curriculum. This experience, coupled with follow-up discussion and collaboration, will deepen understanding about how carefully sequenced reading, writing, and speaking tasks support students to use writing flexibly and effectively to clarify and communicate their ideas.

Writing for College and Career Readiness (Texas)

One day.

The TEKS and Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TCCRS) demand that students craft high-quality, text-based writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. These expectations require an instructional shift for many teachers. The question on many educators’ minds is: What does instruction that prepares students for college and career writing actually look and sound like in a classroom?

Participants will learn about the state of writing instruction in secondary classrooms based on the most current research. In one segment of the session, they will participate as a learner in TEKS-aligned lessons using Inquiry By Design curriculum. This experience, coupled with follow-up discussion and collaboration, will deepen understanding about how carefully sequenced reading, writing, and speaking tasks support students to use writing flexibly and effectively to clarify and communicate their ideas.

Working with Complex Texts: Dealing with Difficulty

One day.

Much has been written about the changes that will be required of teachers, students, and content to meet the close reading requirements outlined by the Common Core State Standards. In this unique workshop, participants have the opportunity to engage in Common Core-aligned work. Participating as learners, workshop attendees go through a series of reading, discussion, and writing activities—all based on complex texts assignments. By the end of the day, attendees will: 1) deepen their understanding of how short, smart sequences of close reading and writing tasks support students in comprehending difficult, nonfiction texts; and 2) learn how teachers can help students develop the stamina, tenacity, and disposition required to read, comprehend, discuss, and write about difficult, nonfiction texts.

Apprenticing Literacy Across the Disciplines

One day.SME0024

This workshop is designed for secondary teachers who work in text-heavy content areas such as social studies, science, and language arts. Participants explore instructional practices that support students across disciplines and explore discipline-specific literacy practices that are unique to the disciplines they teach. At this one-day workshop, teachers learn 1) how to support students’ “reading to learn” skills; 2) the importance of understanding the literacy practices within their respective disciplines and; 3) the importance of teacher modeling, student collaboration and conversation, and carefully sequenced tasks to support students’ comprehension of content-specific informational texts.

Teaching as Apprenticeship: Text and Task Progressions

One day.

Teaching as apprenticeship (or teaching as coaching) can make significant and lasting differences in any classroom—no matter the size, grade, or student reading levels. Workshop attendees explore the importance of text and task progressions, in addition to the role of student collaboration within those tasks, to support reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking skills. During one segment, participants work as learners through a series of exercises using Inquiry By Design curriculum to experience for themselves what an apprenticeship approach looks and feels like. Through these explorations, participants leave with an understanding of the importance of texts, tasks, and grouping progressions from a 50,000-foot view and an on-the-ground or in-the-classroom perspective.