Classroom practice

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 […]

Sparking Inquiry is the First Step: Here’s How DC Public School Teachers Sustain it

“But should people be free,” the teacher asked? “Remember, this is what I wanted you to think about throughout the Cornerstones.” I saw several students’ hands in the air as I sat in the back of Mr. Ramsey’s 8th grade U.S. history class at Cardozo education campus in northeast D.C . “Of course, Mr. Ramsey. People […]

Bridled Learning: Grabbing the Reins Through Inquiry

For my fourth summer, I spent the last six weeks teaching with Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars Program. I’ve written about my past summers in previous posts. (“Practicing Citizenship,” “Acting Like a Citizen,” “Being C3Minded…”). What makes this program special for a teacher is that it is a highly competitive academic program, but once accepted, the scholars […]

It Was All Going Smoothly Until…

It was all going smoothly until I got the call from my principal. “Mr. Davidson, you need to come retrieve your 7th grade students. Some of my elementary teachers are complaining.” “Well there goes that idea!” I thought. “See if I teach this inquiry again.” To provide some context, I teach 7th grade social studies […]

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 […]