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When we hear about these energized kids and their collaborative investigations, many of us sigh and think, ‘Wow, that’s the way I’d really like to teach.’ And we have all probably tried a few projects like these over the years. But even as we are charmed by and attracted to the active, cooperative learning portrayed in these accounts, it can also strike us as idealistic, time-consuming, or risky. Can we really trust kids to take and sustain this kind of initiative? Can we cover all the required subjects this way? Will students do OK on high-stakes assessments? Does this kind of teaching really work? The short answer is yes. The long answer is this book.

—Stephanie Harvey and Harvey “Smokey” Daniels

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List Price: $43.75
Web/School: $35.00

Tracking the Thinking of Small Groups

Meet the standards? Celebrate kids’ curiosity and questions? Cover the curriculum? Reach and include everyone? And grow resourceful, engaged citizens? Seriously? With inquiry circles, you seriously can.

“Educators around the country,” Steph and Smokey write, “are discovering that inquiry is the secret opportunity offered by new national and state standards as well as emerging research on social–emotional learning.” Their Comprehension & Collaboration, Revised Edition, is your end-to-end guide to small-group inquiry projects that work. To support their widely adopted inquiry-circles model, they’ve shared 40 lessons (13 new to this edition), 38 example implementations (11 new to this edition), the scoop on the latest research, detailed and up-to-date information on the role of technology in inquiry, links to the skills called for in college-and-career-readiness standards, and much more.

Sneak Previews

Sneak Preview of Preface

Amazingly, in the six short years since we published the book we affectionately call “Comp and Collab,” the school world has undergone remarkable changes. Among these are the appearance of the Common Core and new state standards, an elevated concern for school climate and social-emotional learning for kids; more compelling research on the power of comprehension strategy instruction; a panoply of high-impact developments in educational technology; and some broader issues of school policy and politics that profoundly affect the work of teachers.

We want the children we teach to have an education that gives them not only the skills but also the drive to live happy, self-determined, productive lives that make the world a better place. When we give our students opportunities for collaborative inquiry, we are making it possible for them to do just that, all while addressing the demands of teaching in today’s world.


Sneak Preview of Lesson

Teachers ask us again and again, how do you get kids to follow their questions and read to find out information? How do you help them sustain their interest? How do you get them to work together collaboratively? How do they stay on top of their research? Chapter 7 outlines 40 specific lessons we teach in comprehension, collaboration, and inquiry, and our sample lesson is one of 13 new to this edition.


Sneak Preview of Example Inquiry

Mini–inquiries are quick small–group investigations of authentic questions that come from kids, from teachers, or from the curriculum. Often these inquiries are spontaneous, unplanned, and serendipitous. Wherever the topics come from, teachers use mini–inquiries as a way to honor kids' questions, to give them practice in doing research, and to engender delight in learning. While working at Glenwood Elementary School in Wisconsin, Smokey came upon a classic mini–inquiry unfolding in Beth Kaminsky's first–grade class. Beth recounts the story in our sample.


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Companion Materials


Ready to get going? Here’s Steph and Smokey’s best 11 Ways to Find Time for Inquiry

Study Guide

If you’re interested in reading this book with colleagues, check out our Book Study Suggestions.


We have seen so much great work with inquiry that we can’t fit it all into one book! Here are even more stories of kids working together with inquiry.

Tools and Forms

Handy Reference

These bonus pieces address some of the questions we hear most often from teachers.

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