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INBOX Ideas - Previous Revision

Digging into Questions that Matter

Summertime -- swimming and picnicking, traveling, reading for pleasure and for professional learning, attending workshops, reflecting on last year's instruction, and preparing for the next school year. Few realize that our minds are rarely idle, often contemplating questions and dilemmas that we are driven to solve. Summer provides us with that additional thought-space that invigorates us and fills us with anticipation for the new school year. Focusing on questions that matter drives our own learning and that of our students.

Inquiring students: In Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards: English Language Arts, Grades 6-8 (NCTE, 2011), Rod Leonard wrestled with CCSS dilemmas by taking a student inquiry and community service stance.  (His story begins on page 28 of the "Inquiry and Independence in the English Language Arts Classroom" excerpt.)

In "
Inquiry Based Planning: How Is It Different? How Can I Get Started?" author Diane Parker provides a set of questions that she asks of herself even as she is planning for students to investigate their own questions. (This excerpt is from Planning for Inquiry: It's Not an Oxymoron!)

Inquiring educators: Questions and collaboration strongly influence our learning. On the Literacy in Learning Exchange, listen to a group of high school educators from Colorado as they respond to the question "
Why Do Inquiry?" for professional learning purposes and read about why doing it collaboratively is most effective. In "Coresearching and Coreflecting: The Power of Teacher Inquiry Communities," Diane Waff describes how three different professional communities influenced her own action research practices.

The National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) has developed a set of tools for self-assessing and setting goals related to "Maintaining an Inquiry Stance," one of six domains within the Framework for Capacity Building. Where do your experiences fall within this continuum and what components would you work toward strengthening?

Inquiring systems: In NCLE's Continua of Capacity Building, none of the domains are fully developed until they are occurring system-wide. This is the focus of Michael Palmisano's book, Taking Inquiry to Scale: An Alternative to Traditional Approaches to Education Reform (NCTE & NCLE, 2013). In a recent Perspective on the Literacy in Learning Exchange, Michael describes how a capacity-building stance toward reform differs from traditional models of reform. He will be continuing to post Perspectives related to this theme throughout the summer and into the fall. 

Attend this week's Guided Tour of the Literacy in Learning Exchange, Wednesday, July 10, at 6 p.m. EDT,  to find out how you can follow Michael's contributions and learn more about the National Center for Literacy Education and getting the most from the Literacy in Learning Exchange


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