Teacher Learning Community

Spring 2017 TLC: Developing Classrooms of Inquiry

Course leader:
SEED Team

Teacher Quality Standards

  • QS III: Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
    • Element D: Teachers establish and communicate high expectations and use processes to support the development of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

This set contains all of the resources used in the sprnig 2017 TLC Developing Classrooms of Inquiry.

Resources

Creating a Classroom Culture for Inquiry

Essential Question: How can teachers systematically utilize tools of inquiry to foster an environment where students engage in deep learning while making cross-disciplinary connections to the real world?

An inquiry classroom is driven by students’ questions and curiosity. In order to be successful, we need a classroom culture characterized by academic risk taking and learning from mistakes. In this activity, we will explore what this classroom climate looks like and how we can help students to get there. As you review the resources, consider what needs to be in place to create a successful inquiry-driven classroom.

 

The Foundations of Inquiry-Based Learning

Essential Question: How can teachers systematically utilize tools of inquiry to foster an environment where students engage in deep learning while making cross-disciplinary connections to the real world?

Inquiry-based learning is appealing because it allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts and content. However, it can easily be nothing more than a series of fun activities if it is not set up in a way that encourages students to go deeper. In this activity, we will consider the foundations necessary to make inquiry-based learning achieve our objective - a rich, deep understanding of important content and concepts. The resources we will review highlight the strengths of inquiry-based learning as well as why it often fails to produce the outcomes we intend. As you review the resources, consider when and why you might choose inquiry-based learning experiences, how you set students up to be successful with inquiry-based learning, and how you might avoid some of the common pitfalls.

 

Implementing Inquiry-Based Learning

Essential Question: How can teachers systematically utilize tools of inquiry to foster an environment where students engage in deep learning while making cross-disciplinary connections to the real world?

In activity 2, we investigated how to set students up to engage successfully in inquiry. Now, we will consider how to plan and set up for successful inquiry-based learning experiences. Our resources invite us to understand different structures for inquiry-based experiences, a variety of tools to help engage students, and the importance of central concepts.

 

Teaching for Transfer

Essential Question: How can teachers systematically utilize tools of inquiry to foster an environment where students engage in deep learning while making cross-disciplinary connections to the real world?

Teaching for transfer means that we design instruction with the intention that we are helping support students to apply their learning in new contexts and new content areas. Within this activity, we will explore what transfer is, how we can teach for transfer, and how the Common Core shifted expectations of how students will apply their learning. Closely related to the idea of transfer is performance-based assessment. In order to perform well on performance-based assessments, students must be able to transfer and apply their learning to a new context. So, when we consider what a performance-based assessment might look like for a given learning objective, topic, or unit, we have to think about how our teaching encourages students to transfer their knowledge.