Category: Inquiry-Based Learning


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 […]

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Diving In: Why We Don’t “Pre-Teach” Our Texts

The recent increase in text complexity recommendations would seem to require an increase in pre-teaching and front loading of background information to help students tackle the increased difficulty.  Find out why inquiry and close reading affirm the opposite.

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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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English Learners and Dependent Readers: An Unexpected Advantage (Part 1)

“My high kids will be fine. But I can’t imagine what my ELLs and my SPED kids are going to do with this.”

We hear this consistently from teachers all around the country during Inquiry By Design’s curriculum institutes. Based on the increased level of complexity in the texts and considerable rigor of the accompanying tasks in our units of study, it’s a valid concern—but one rarely borne out in practice.

There are several reasons why English language learners and SPED students […]

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Take a Leap Into Inquiry

Bertrand Russell said,

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark
on the things you have long taken for granted.”

This is the very spirit of inquiry, but as teachers we sometimes have a hard time assuming this stance. It’s because we grow weary of continually being handed something new and shiny and then just when we’ve figured out how to work the shiny new curriculum/strategy/grading system/initiative/technology/etc, it’s being replaced by something newer and […]

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