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?


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?

Image used under CC license from the Flickr photostream of schmish

6 thoughts on “Where to begin the story?

  1. A complicated question indeed but a good starting point may be to set up the journey together. So you are exploring inquiry together and all putting in ideas. Teachers tend to bristle when it seems like they HAVE to do something, so framing it as an exploration. Hmm, I am not sure i am making sense.

  2. Pernille-

    What I hear you saying is that I should lead my colleagues in an inquiry into inquiry. Which is, of course, what a good inquiry teacher would do!

    So, what do I do to create the “need to know” among my colleagues about inquiry?

    Is there a great article out there?

    Something from Edutopia, maybe…

    A video that really nails it?

    The RSA video for Dan Pink’s Drive speech could be it… maybe Sir Ken Robinson…

    Other ideas?

  3. Hi!

    I am a student in education at The University of South Alabama. I have to admit, when I first read this blog post, I was a little confused on how to incorporate inquiry into a science classroom other than in the lab. I explored your blog a little bit and it answered a lot of my questions. Maybe you could just share your blog with your co-teachers. I know it might sound elementary, but I believe that most teachers will teach to the best of their ability. Maybe the other teachers at your school would use inquiry in different ways in their classroom if they understood the concept better.


  4. Hi Kacey – Welcome to the blog!

    I truly believe that inquiry stretches far beyond science. Science pursues a very specific form of inquiry, one based on gathering data systematically to answer one’s questions. Other disciplines commonly follow inquiry as well. Whenever a student is allowed to generate his or her own question and pursue that answer to that question, they are engaging in inquiry.

    I agree that most teachers teach to the best of their ability. Not all teachers believe that inquiry learning is best for students. In fact, many believe that kids can’t handle the freedom and self-direction inherent in true inquiry.

    The challenge in front of me is to convince my colleagues that genuine inquiry learning is effective and viable. I’m just not sure where to begin…

  5. Hi,

    My name is Stephanie Tisdale. I am a student in EDM310 at The University of South Alabama. I enjoyed reading your blog post!

    First, I would share your blog with your colleagues and see where that leads.

    You mentioned Sir Ken Robinson in a previous comment. One of my assignments for EDM310 was to watch Sir Ken Robinson’s video. I highly recommend sharing his videos with your colleagues. He gives great advice!

    Here’s a link to the video I had to watch: Sir Ken Robinson


    Take care,

    Stephanie Tisdale

  6. Stephanie,

    I might have to share my blog. That’s a good idea! Hopefully it won’t overwhelm them…

    I am a big Sir Ken Robinson fan and I agree he is very inspirational. That might be a good way to get some conversation going about inquiry!

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