Our professional development cycle provides teachers with a continuum of instruction, support, coaching, and collaboration. This unique approach reinforces critical principles, addresses specific challenges teachers may be facing in the classroom, and builds a collaborative community in which teachers can share best practices and learn from each other.
Curriculum Institutes. Our curriculum institutes are designed to help teachers and literacy coaches understand how to effectively implement our inquiry-based units. Throughout much of the institute, educators participate in activities as learners—reading, writing, and discussing complex texts just as their students would. Attendees repeatedly tell us the insights gained through these “teacher-as-learner” experiences are among the most powerful teaching takeaways in their careers. Participants also leave with an understanding of how instructional design, pedagogy, task sequencing, and structured discussion supports rigorous academic work.
On-Site Support. Depending on the needs of your district or school, our customized site-based support can take the form of coaching, facilitated planning, or inquiry-based learning walks with instructional leaders or administrators. For example, for teachers implementing a unit for the first time, we might model a demonstration lesson, offer a coaching cycle (typically comprising a pre-observation session, one or more observations, and a detailed debrief), or even co-teach.
Peer Learning Labs. Our peer learning labs offer teachers an in-depth view of how Inquiry By Design curriculum is actually used in a classroom. We work to identify a host teacher willing to open his or her classroom for observation. A pre-observation conference with the host teacher and lab participants outlines the lab protocol and appropriate participant behaviors in order to ensure a safe environment for all. Participants are also given guidance on how to take descriptive notes during the observation and key instruction elements for focus. Following the observation, we guide participants through structured discussion, taking care to keep discourse productive, positive, and respectful.
Student Work Study Sessions. Like peer learning labs, these sessions contribute to an environment of collaboration and accountability as teachers reconvene after implementing one or more Inquiry By Design units. During these sessions, teachers carefully examine student papers generated from performance tasks at the end of a unit and discuss ways to further advance the work. In these sessions, we work with teachers to describe what they see students doing and trying to do as writers, discuss how to provide effective feedback, and if needed, how to modify instructional planning for further improvement.