Trust, But Verify: Student Responsibility in Inquiry

As much as I love all my students, when I became a teacher, I quickly learned some of the necessary boundaries of that trust. It’s a “trust, but verify” approach. I want to see evidence that they mean what they say. Once a dog ate a student’s assignment and she brought in the remnants as […]

Designing C3 Inquiries that Make Thinking Visible

Recently, a department chair at one of our 25 high schools here in Fairfax County, Virginia asked me if there will be a project this summer to create additional C3 inquiries for VA standards of learning. The question made me smile as it suggested that teachers were using the 13 modules that have been created […]

Talking and Listening with “Strangers”

Lately, I’ve been grappling with how scholars, teachers, and policymakers define “citizenship” and, consequently, “citizenship education.” One thing I found was the prevalence of individualized notions of citizenship in curriculum – meaning when students think about acting as a democratic citizen, it is often in terms of the individual’s rights, freedoms, and actions, rather than […]

The best laid plans…

I am a huge planner. There’s nothing I love more than a good calendar, a clear curriculum guide, and a detailed scope and sequence. However, as an elementary school teacher I should know by now that I can plan a beautiful unit, color-coded and date-stamped with all sorts of assessments and checkpoints plugged in, but […]

Eliminating Classroom Activities

One of the joys of teaching is interacting with students who have not quite mastered particular social graces, such as politeness or tact. Early in my teaching career, I had a student tell me individually what she really thought of our class. She did not mean to be insulting – but she definitely wasn’t complementing […]

Personalized Learning in Inquiries?

In the field of education we have heard the term “personalized learning” quite often. The concept can be broken down into many different meanings and, in fact, there are whole cohorts in our district and nationwide dedicated to seeing the advancement of “PL” as they call it. In our district we have come up with […]

Reflections and the Inquiry Design Model

“Tell me and I [will] forget. Show me and I [will] remember. Involve me and I [will] understand.”—Xunzi (Chinese Philosopher) I have often heard this quote presented to me in many professional development teacher trainings to encourage me to involve my scholars in the learning process. Like any other teacher who wishes to make the […]

Gone Digital? Go Inquiry

I am a digital educator. I work daily at the computer and “see” my students through email, assignment submission, and our weekly face to face Zoom meetings to provide content and assistance.   The course is built into the LMS (Learning Management System) months before it is taught, possibly by someone other than me.   So how […]

Social Studies and Statues

Unless you have isolated yourself from all forms of media (or human interaction), you have seen the topic of historical memory being discussed, specifically within the context of Confederate monuments. Though I don’t generally shy away from political discussions, I usually keep mum on social media. I would much rather discuss these things in-person. When […]

Running Towards Inquiry

So, I am a runner.  This will make sense in just a few minutes.  I set goals, I schedule runs, I plan routes I am going to run, I decide if I want to do races, and then I go out and train for these races.  It’s all about that end result and pushing myself […]