Where to begin the story?

eat it one bite at a time

When I have time to plan a lesson in detail, I often put a lot of thought into the “story arc” that I am trying to present.

What am I going to at the outset to suck the audience (aka students) into the plot enough that they are willing to work through some slower “character development?”

I often use imagery, video or mysteries to do this with kids – and it has been highly successful.

Now, I’m considering another story that I want to tell.

I’m not sure where the hook is for this story, though.

The story?

Inquiry.

The audience?

My science PLC at my new school.

From my experience thus far this year, my colleagues are so far away from teaching through facilitating inquiry that I’m not even sure they have even considered it. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to be on the radar of our administrators either. Obviously, they are all familiar with the term inquiry – in the sense that it is part of our state science standards. My feeling, though, is that the general perception among the group is that inquiry means doing labs and writing lab reports.

This is a big, complicated story with many twists and turns.

I have worked my way through a lot of learning, thinking, experimentation, failure, reflection and revision over the past 7+ years. How do I bring my colleagues up to speed without burying them?

I have to remember to eat the elephant one bite at a time… but which bite should I take first?

This post cross-posted at Wisdom Begins with Wonder
Image used under CC license from the Flickr photostream of schmish
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3 Responses to Where to begin the story?

  1. whatedsaid says:

    Hi Tyler
    You’re so right… just one step (bite) at a type. I really like the IB PYP description:

    Inquiry encourages students to be actively involved in and to take responsibility for their own learning. Inquiry learning allows each student’s understanding of the world to develop in a manner and at a rate unique to that student. The starting point is students’ current understanding, and the goal is the active construction of meaning through:

    exploring, wondering and questioning
    experimenting and playing with possibilities
    making connections between previous learning and current learning
    making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
    collecting data and reporting findings
    clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
    deepening understanding through the application of a concept
    making and testing theories
    researching and seeking information
    taking and defending a position
    solving problems in a variety of ways. (Making the PYP Happen)

    Might that be a good starting point?
    And.. Would you consider running an inquiry session for the teachers to experience such learning for themselves?
    Edna

  2. Division 3 says:

    Dear Tyler,

    I must be in the same situation because I really have connected well with your last statement. My colleagues do different work in there classes and are really not sure what inquiry is and I am only starting out myself! My dilemma is then when teaching using student led inquiries and allowing them to take control of their learning am I making it more difficult for them when they go to another teacher in our school that does not do the same or for that matter, most of my district? Do i make it more of a challenge for them to be successful in the other teachers classes the next year?

    Regards,

    Andre
    P.S. Slowly scaffolding the process!!!

    • Tyler says:

      Andre,

      I definitely agree about scaffolding the process.

      I really believe that inquiry is important and leads to rich, lasting learning. If that means that a kid is not well-prepared for a sit-and-get, teacher-centered class in the future, oh well!

      In all honesty, though, I have had the same questions myself. My hope is that my students will be better prepared to cope with a more traditional classroom after having had a good learning experience in mine. That is my optimistic answer and I’m sticking to it!

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