Category: Writing

Literacy Notebooks

Inquiry By Design is creating an ongoing series of brief and pithy instructional videos in vlog form in order to guide teachers through the key “moves” and philosophies of inquiry-based work. Some episodes will focus on specific strategies and units of study and others will be broader, addressing overarching theories and practices. Check out our very first IBD Vlog post here, and help us spread the word by sharing on Facebook. Also, be sure to “like” our Facebook page if […]

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Using Student Exemplars: A Caution

Using student exemplars can be a highly effective method for writing instruction when used strategically, when employed with a specific lens, and when a cross section of work is provided. A common practice, however, is to use mostly, or only, exceptional papers as models. This can rebound in unexpected ways.

In a recent Education Week article, Todd Rogers of Harvard University notes that students are often not inspired by the exceptional work of their peers.

“One of the surprising, negative […]

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The Singular They

One year, one of my students gave me a notepad as a gift. It said,

“A teacher never knows how far their influence reaches.”

I thanked him sincerely, though I was secretly appalled that this little notepad had gone through all the stages of being created, marketed, shelved, and sold without anyone catching the error. And he bought it in a store for teachers! Come on, people.

I waited for my next hour class to write the sentence on the board […]

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Gary Provost Quote

We really liked this quote by writing guru Gary Provost. Gary is the author of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing, Make Your Words Work, Make Every Word Count, Beyond Style: Mastering the Finer Points of Writing, and many novels and true crime books. When he is not writing about writing, he is writing. If you are looking for some inspiration in your writing instruction, or your own writing, we recommend taking some time to visit 

“This sentence has five […]

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Transferring Great Ideas to Writing – Part 2

You may recall from last week’s post that I shared my thoughts in response to a comment I overheard from a teacher. The teacher said, “My students have great thoughts and ideas in discussions but then they don’t successfully transfer that to their writing. It just ends up being a summary.”

Along with the thoughts I shared last week, I also had a question.

My question:

Have these students been given the freedom and tools allowing them to discover and develop […]

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