Category: Classroom Discussions


Texts as Tools for Thinking: The Topic is Not the Message

The study of literature presents interesting difficulties for teachers and students. More than most subjects, literature invites interpretation and introspection on the part of the reader—it raises questions, offers ideas for consideration, and challenges assumptions—and a text can be “difficult” for different reasons. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of dated language, but other times, the difficulty lies in the shape of the stories and characters themselves.

Inquiry By Design is not a “one-note” curriculum. Our texts contain selections that tend […]

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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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TOP FIVE: Productive Student Discussion Strategies

If you read our recent two-part blog series about classroom discussions (What If No One Talks – Part 1 and Part 2) you might be in search of more strategies for apprenticing students to productive discussions in your classroom. We polled our fabulous team of master Inquiry By Design teachers and here are some of their favorites.

 

1. THINK-PAIR-SHARE

Asking students to write and discuss ideas with a partner before sharing with the larger group gives students more time to compose their […]

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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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But What If No One Talks? | Part 1 of 2

The great thing about a light bulb that isn’t working is that there’s just about only one possible thing that could have gone wrong: The light has burned out. Barring an unusual wiring problem, power outage, or blown breaker, you always know how to fix it right away.

Classroom discussions are…not at all like a light bulb. There may be 20 to 30 people in the room, all at various reading levels, all with different interests and motivation, and each of […]

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