In his most recent book, The Curious Classroom, Harvey “Smokey” Daniels dives deep into the who what where why whens and hows of student-directed inquiry. With each chapter, he lays out the next step in a ten-rung ladder to help you get your class from zero to inquiry as quickly as possible.
We wanted to know more about why student-directed inquiry is good for kids, and what teachers and schools have to gain from this approach to learning, so we asked him! Here’s what he had to say:
In most reading and writing units, students work in partnerships to support and extend their work. Over time, even very young students can learn to turn to a partner as the first line of defense when trouble arises. When they encounter a tricky word in their reading, for example, they can ask a partner for help rather than running to a teacher. Or, when they aren’t sure what to write about, they can ask a partner to spend a couple of minutes brainstorming. As Lucy Calkins writes in A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary Grades, “Partner time is designed to give young readers a second wind, renewing their energy to continue on” (p. 52). The same is true for young writers, too. With a bit of extra instruction and time, partners can learn to act as confidantes, sounding boards, and cheerleaders for each other, spurring each other on to do their best work.
If you are an educator with some time away from school this summer, hopefully you are using a lot of it to recharge. There are many ways you might choose to do this: gardening, lounging, beach-going, cleaning, socializing and, perhaps reading and writing.
Getting caught up on that stack of novels at your bedside or finally tucking into that personal journal that's been sitting empty can be such pleasures when you finally have the time. Happily, as you nurture yourself as a reader or writer this summer, you can also fuel your teaching.
Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. In Reading to Learn for ELs, author Ana Taboada Barber provides models of her instructional framework for reading informational texts so that reading teachers, content-area teachers, and ESL teachers alike can take on the work of teaching English Learners how to succeed and gain knowledge through reading informational texts.
I teach at Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school. Rindge sits in the shadow of Harvard University—one of the best institutions for higher learning in the world. Yet, despite many who insist that my school’s diversity and opportunity are afforded to all students, I know otherwise. Here, students begin the ninth grade on one of two tracks: the (misnamed) College Prep track or the Honors track. The College Prep (CP) track (or “Colored People” track as some students unofficially call it) serves students of color, students with disabilities, students of lower socioeconomic class, and others. The Honors track tends to include students who are white, middle or upper class, and who have parents who are actively involved in their educations.
Students experience education differently depending on their track designation.
During the International Literacy Association convention, all professional books on sale in the booth come with a 30% discount off list price and free shipping. Even if you can't be at ILA, you can still use the discount!
Coupon Code: ILA17
Discount: 30% + free shipping*
*RESTRICTIONS APPLY: 30% off the list price. Online orders only. Discount limited to Professional Books only. Does not include LLI, Benchmark, Classroom Libraries, Units of Study, Toolkit, or other Curricular Resources. Limited to stock on hand. Does not apply to eBooks, preorders, or bundles. Orders must be received by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Saturday, July 22, 2017. Free shipping by ground, limited to orders shipped in the United States.