Classroom practice

Letting Students Wrestle with Inquiry Writing

“Only by wrestling with the conditions of the problem at first hand, seeking and finding his own way out, does he think.” John Dewey (1914)   I’ve often heard Kathy Swan use this quote when she has talked to teachers or students about the inquiry process.   If you peruse the C3 Teachers site for more […]

Student Blogger: What Makes a Movement Successful?

This year my classes made the transition to inquiry-based learning—completing over twelve IDMs. I think that the IDM is such a useful tool for thinking about inquiry, not just teaching it. I decided to give my students the option of writing an IDM because I believe that my students can do it and be transformed […]

The Major Assessment Shifts in the C3

Assessment is a critical component of implementing the C3. While the C3 pushes us to instruct differently, it also pushes us to think differently on how we assess student learning. If we are supposed to engage students in the inquiry arc, what does it look like to assess student learning not only aligned to the […]

From Inquiry to Curriculum

After three years of working with the C3 Frameworks, I have a collection of American History inquiries that make students curious and open to new ideas.  Recently, I wondered: how do I tie these together into a curriculum? The essential questions of our curriculum remain valuable as a broad overview of our content goals for […]

What Should We Do About Fake News?

In our instant gratification, social media run world, fake news has become an epidemic plaguing the nation and our classrooms. A year-long study at Stanford University looked at students’ ability to reason about the information on the internet. The results were shocking. “Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media that […]

Embracing Stupidity

Being a student again is a humbling experience. It reminds me of one of my favorite jokes from comedian Mike Birbiglia: “When I was younger and would make mistakes I would say, ‘well, I was young and stupid.’ Now all I can say is ‘I’m stupid.’” Feeling like you don’t understand something can be incredibly […]

The Cold War of Inquiry

I am often faced with an internal “ideological battle” about my instruction in my World History class especially towards the end of the semester.  Coincidentally enough, this ideological battle seems to “heat up” around Unit 8, the Cold War. Do I rely on direct instruction to make sure I “cover” the final content (Cold War […]

Reflections from a Novice C3 Teacher

This semester I took the plunge and completed my first C3 lesson with my government class. I designed the inquiry as part of a summer curriculum project last July for our social studies department in Fairfax County.  (You can find it here: To What Extent Do Americans Distrust the Process for Making Public Policy?) At our […]

Navigating the C3 Framework

Just like most veteran social studies teachers find, I am always looking for that hook to get my students engaged. Although I have my basket of tricks, I am constantly looking for new ideas, approaches, activities, and resources that will ignite a passion in my students. This is one of my dilemmas. Over the years, […]