TOP FIVE: Tips for First-Time Implementers

Perhaps you, your school, or district is new to Inquiry By Design. You’re teaching the curriculum for the fist time (There are a lot of you out there.) These are our Top Five Tips for new partners, and also great reminders for the rest of us.  
1. Try the recipe before you alter it. 
You’re teaching a new curriculum for the first time. Our advice is to play it straight. Don’t adjust, add, subtract, cut-n-paste, or second-guess. Just teach it from the manual the first time around. Your observations and experiences about how to implement next year will be more reliable and useful if you resist tweaking in year one.

 

2. Keep your foot on the gas. 
You are going to feel like you need to slow down. You don’t. The tasks are designed to take students back into a text again and again. They are not supposed to “get it” on the first read, or the second, or the third. Slowing down will kill momentum, the text, and your students’ desire to ever read again. Drive, drive, drive to keep the text alive. 

 

3. Think in spirals, not a straight line. 
At Inquiry By Design our materials are created around Jerome Bruner’s ideas of a spiraling curriculum. What this means is that no single session is designed to teach a skill, or a standard, or a text to mastery. Can one even teach a text to mastery? Think of a staircase slowly spiraling upward and don’t panic (or slow down) when your students are on the lower steps. They will steadily ascend as the sessions progress.

 

4. Resist the urge to underestimate. 
Often teachers’ first response to Inquiry By Design’s text and materials is that their students won’t be able to do it. They will. Or they won’t at first, and then they will. It will be hard and uncomfortable, but hard is good. Hard leaves them feeling proud and smart and motivated. We have years of experience to prove it.

 

5. Trust. 
See numbers 1 through 4. Trust the process, trust the materials, trust your students, trust the text, trust yourself. Breathe and trust.

 

Do you have a tip or anecdote to about your IBD debut to share?  Comment below! We’d love to hear from you.