Special Topics

In addition to ongoing professional development for schools implementing our courses and units, Inquiry By Design offers training and development designed to support educators in specific areas such as supporting struggling readers, dealing with complex texts, supporting students to revise first drafts, and much more. Contact us to find out more about bringing one of these workshops to your school or district.

Working with Complex Texts: Dealing with Difficulty

One day.

Participating as learners, workshop attendees move through a series of reading, discussion, and writing activities—all based on complex texts assignments. By the end of the day, attendees will:

  • Deepen their understanding of how short, smart sequences of close reading and writing tasks support students in comprehending difficult, nonfiction texts; and
  • Learn how teachers can help students develop the stamina, tenacity, and disposition required to read, comprehend, discuss, and write about difficult, nonfiction texts.

Moving Beyond the First Draft: Inquiry-Based Reading, Writing, and Revision

One day, grades 3-12

Supporting student revision can be a tricky process across all grade levels. Students often have difficulty identifying moments to revise. They may not know how to take the draft from functional to fantastic—or from failing to functional. This workshop takes participants through an authentic set of revision experiences that can be used with students from grades 3 – 12.

Participants engage in multiple rounds of inquiry-based revision in order to better understand how to effectively implement authentic revision processes in their classroom, in addition to supporting individual students to strengthen and revise their own writing.

Participants will develop a stronger understanding of inquiry-based writing revision by

  • Learning how to describe each other’s writing.
  • Using revision groups to develop ideas.
  • Engaging in “writing like” exercises using exemplar texts (and exemplar moments).

Text Complexity and Struggling Readers

One day

In our conversations with educators, many have requested support for successfully navigating rigorous and high-demand texts for students who are challenged by text complexity. This workshop is specifically designed to support teachers in providing appropriate scaffolds for students with a diverse range of reading and writing capabilities.

Participants leave this workshop with effective strategies that can be immediately applied to support diverse learners to comprehend, make arguments about, and write about complex texts.

In addition, participants work through a series of lessons as learners to answer the following questions:

  • How is the complexity of a text determined?
  • What does engaging, standards-aligned reading and writing instruction look like in the classroom?
  • What scaffolds should be incorporated to support students of diverse abilities?

Faces of the Essay: Using Models to Strengthen Student Writing

One day

In this hands-on workshop, participants engage “as learners” to tackle  the challenges faced by struggling writers. By reading, describing, and discussing model essay texts, participants learn how to use similar moves in their own class to help students explore not only what essays can look like, but how to use “expert moves” in their own writing to make it more powerful. Consideration of sources, arrangement, examples, and point of view are emphasized.

This institute helps to answer the following questions:

  • How do we help students develop argument writing skills?
  • How do essayists obtain the information necessary to write their essays?
  • What challenges do students face when writing essays and how can we bestaddress those challenges?

Apprenticing Literacy Across the Disciplines

One day.

This workshop is designed for secondary teachers who work in text-heavy content areas such as social studies, science, and language arts. Participants explore instructional practices that support students across disciplines and explore discipline-specific literacy practices that are unique to the disciplines they teach. At this one-day workshop, teachers learn

  • How to support students’ “reading to learn” skills;
  • The importance of understanding the literacy practices within their respective disciplines; and
  • The importance of teacher modeling, student collaboration and conversation, and carefully sequenced tasks to support students’ comprehension of content-specific informational texts.

Teaching as Apprenticeship: Text and Task Progressions

One day.

Teaching as apprenticeship (or teaching as coaching) can make significant and lasting differences in any classroom—no matter the size, grade, or student reading levels. Workshop attendees explore the importance of text and task progressions—in addition to the role of student collaboration within those tasks—to support reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking skills. During one segment, participants work as learners through a series of exercises using Inquiry By Design curriculum to experience for themselves what an apprenticeship approach looks and feels like. Through these explorations, participants leave with an understanding of the importance of texts, tasks, and grouping progressions from a 50,000-foot view and an on-the-ground or in-the-classroom perspective.

Close Reading in the Content Area

One- or two-day options.

This workshop supports the implementation of close reading of complex texts in two text-heavy content areas: history/social studies and science. In the one-day option of the session, participants work through a close reading unit in history/social studies or science that features text-based discussion and writing tasks. Based on their “as learner” experiences, participants reflect on the role of complex texts, task sequences, and collaboration in the close reading of complex texts in their respective disciplines. Participants leave with the ability to successfully implement an Inquiry By Design close reading unit in their classrooms. When the workshop is expanded to two days, the second-day session introduces participants to text complexity and text-dependent questions to help teachers develop close reading lessons with complex texts for their grade levels and content areas.

Assessment Institutes

One- or two-day options.

Inquiry By Design offers two-day assessment institutes to support Common Core-aligned assessments (PARCC and Smarter Balanced). Through a hands-on, inquiry-based approach, participants explore demands of Common-Core aligned assessments. Participants also deepen their understanding of the role of complex texts and create text-dependent tasks to support student achievement on the assessments. Through work with grade-level texts and text-complexity rubrics, participants develop a vision of instruction that reinforces students’ ability to comprehend and analyze complex texts.

Writing in the Era of Common Core

One day.

The Common Core writing standards demand that students produce high-quality, text-based writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. This hands-on workshop shows educators what effective writing instruction designed to help students meet these standards actually looks and sounds like in a classroom.

Participants will learn about the state of writing instruction in secondary classrooms based on the most current research. In one segment of the session, they will participate as a learner in Common Core-aligned lessons. This experience, coupled with follow-up discussion and collaboration, will deepen understanding about how carefully sequenced reading, writing, and speaking tasks support students to use writing flexibly and effectively to clarify and communicate their ideas.

Writing for College and Career Readiness (Texas)

One day.

The TEKS and Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TCCRS) demand that students craft high-quality, text-based writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. This hands-on workshop shows educators what effective writing instruction designed to help students meet these standards actually looks and sounds like in a classroom.

Participants will learn about the state of writing instruction in secondary classrooms based on the most current research. In one segment of the session, they will participate as a learner in TEKS-aligned lessons. This experience, coupled with follow-up discussion and collaboration, will deepen understanding about how carefully sequenced reading, writing, and speaking tasks support students to use writing flexibly and effectively to clarify and communicate their ideas.