Category: Professional Development

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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Authentic Literacy and Crow Pose


Several years ago I started practicing yoga. I’m not as dedicated as I’d like to be and therefore it has taken me three years to achieve crow pose, and I can still only hold it for less than ten seconds. I spent a long, long time attempting crow while it seemed like nothing was changing—no progress. But there must have been some microshifts and tiny strengthenings, because one day—boom! I hit it and held it.

There are things you do to […]

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Apprenticeship and No Fake Work

At a recent professional development session, one of the participants asked about the concept of apprenticeship in our curriculum. What did we mean by that, and where could that “apprenticeship” be found? Taking an inquiry-based approach, I could say that there are many possible answers to that question, some better supported than others. Instead, though, it had me thinking about the Inquiry By Design slogan, “No fake work.” One of the highlights of Inquiry By Design is that students are […]

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Classroom Environment – Part 1

A few weeks ago, in our Teachers Are Like Gardeners post, I mentioned that at Inquiry By Design we believe the classroom culture that gives students the best chance of germinating, sprouting, and thriving is built around the three concepts of apprenticeship, conversation, and environment.

Let’s unpack this working backwards and starting with environment. Classroom environment can be a slippery and unwieldy concept that includes philosophical, intellectual, social, and physical elements. What do we really mean by this broad, umbrella word?

Ideally […]

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An Administrator’s Experience Piloting Inquiry By Design

When teachers, administrators and district leaders first encounter Inquiry By Design through a colleague, a workshop, or online, they often want to know what our district partners and regular clients have to say about their experience. Occasionally on our blog we like to share feedback we receive.

Michael McDonald is an assistant principal at Summit High School in Bend, Oregon. He is a former ELA teacher and has supported and supervised the ELA department over the past year to pilot Inquiry […]

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