Friday, January 27, 2012

Inquiry Based Learning - Why So Curious?

The new common core academic standards are evidence of a paradigmatic shift in education. We've finally learned from years of teaching to the state test that kids are only learning a mile wide and an inch deep about the main content areas (math, science, social studies, and language arts). Teachers have been racing to the finish line each year trying to meet the tight timelines of pacing guides and basically only "taste testing" each topic with their students. Things are changing - finally.

45 of the 50 states have adopted the common core standards. As such they are committed to making more meaningful learning experiences for students while incorporating 21st Century skills (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication). We are looking at what the "big ideas" are in each subject area and offer students opportunities to go "deep" while acquiring the necessary skills to advance in their learning.

This is not a new concept to me. As a special educator and then as a teacher of the gifted, these ideas were a natural part of my pedagogy. In fact, those who work within gifted education are probably wondering what took the rest of the world so long to realize this!

One of the tenets of teaching the common core standards is to build skills of inquiry into teaching and learning. However, this is something many current educators may not know how to do. The interdisciplinary nature of using the common core standards requires educators to integrate their subject areas and facilitate students' natural curiosity. But how do you do that? What does it look like?

I offer 2 workshops that may help educators in districts who have adopted the common core standards:

  • ICU's (Integrated Curriculum Units)
  • IBL's (Inquiry Based Learning)

Available now as 1/2 or full day professional development workshops, these interactive presentations will better equip all teachers to integrate their curriculum and teach using inquiry. For more information or to schedule a workshop, contact me at