Category: Classroom Culture


Race, Gender, Equality, and More: Challenging Times and Challenging Conversations

Looking back on 2017, we—just like the rest of the country—have repeatedly found ourselves conversing over issues of race, gender, and equity.  Likewise, teachers and school districts are struggling with how to foster and facilitate safe and productive classroom conversations around these issues and other provocative topics—whether they come up in discussions of history, current events, or literature.

At Inquiry By Design, we always consider these moments—particularly as they relate to our ELA curriculum—as opportunities to engage and dig deeper into […]

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Tee Up to Reading

Did you play any golf this summer?

A few years ago my niece gave me a mayonnaise jar full of silver golf balls (and some other stuff) for Christmas. It had a little story attached to it about a professor who filled a jar with golf balls and asked his students to tell him when the jar was full. When the golf balls reached the top, the students signaled him to stop. But then the professor picked up a box and […]

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Support for English Learners

By Sarah Noble

I am in the midst of grading my 8th graders’ first interpretive paper of the school year. I am pleasantly surprised by what I see in the first few papers. My students are thinking deeply and engaging in the text based on the evidence they pull from the story. I breathe a sigh of relief, and keep slogging through the remaining 63 essays. The next essay is by “Johnny,” a low-intermediate English learner. He just moved here from […]

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But What If No One Talks? | Part 2 of 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this series.

“It’s all in the wrist,” golfers say. Or is it pitchers? Maybe I’m thinking of ping pong. At any rate, there comes a point when working out how to improve discussion in your classroom means fine-tuning some intricate details.

Since there’s a bit of personal preference involved, maybe a better analogy is when you go to the eye doctor and have to look through all of the different lenses. Which looks better to […]

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Mindfulness and Interpretive Discussions

by John Nolan

Last year, in considering classroom environment, I dug deeper into the concept of respect and the culture of restorative justice. Fortunately, I had a very helpful coach who had a lot of experience in building a greater culture of mindfulness and respect through practices related to restorative justice.

She explained that all humans have a need to be heard and respected. I agreed but knew that making it actually happen was quite challenging. She introduced me to the “restorative […]

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