Category: Curriculum

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 […]

Continue Reading

The Power of Resilience

By Laurie Thurston

“No fake work” is the cornerstone of Inquiry by Design. And it’s within this mindset that I approach all learning with my students. The work needs to be authentic, relevant, and meaningful. There needs to be an end product: something the students can create that is evidence of the effort and commitment they made to learning. Not all of this needs to come from the texts and lessons crafted by Inquiry By Design, however. Teachers can take projects […]

Continue Reading

The Spiral Curriculum: Letting Go of Mastery

Although we debate about modes and methods, educators mostly acquiesce to the need to assess student proficiency. The problems start when, in the search for appropriate measures, we toss around words like “mastery.” As ELA teachers, we of all people should be aware of the importance of word choice. “Mastery” stresses us out because in teaching literature, what is it that we are asking students to “master” exactly? How does one master a text? We’ve been interpreting, reinterpreting, and debating […]

Continue Reading

Metacognition and Self-Apprenticeship

“All apprenticeship begins with the instructor’s capacity
to describe the performance and/or product of the novice.”

I’ve used this quote often in talking about an apprenticeship approach to teaching, and somewhere along the line I’ve lost track of the source. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

In order to move any novice along a continuum, the expert must be able to describe to the novice exactly what she is doing, where her performance places her in relation to the […]

Continue Reading

TOP FIVE: Tips for First-Time Implementers

Perhaps you, your school, or district is new to Inquiry By Design. You’re teaching the curriculum for the fist time (There are a lot of you out there.) These are our Top Five Tips for new partners, and also great reminders for the rest of us.  

1. Try the recipe before you alter it. 

You’re teaching a new curriculum for the first time. Our advice is to play it straight. Don’t adjust, add, subtract, cut-n-paste, or second-guess. Just teach it from […]

Continue Reading