Wisdom Begins with Wonder

Whose education is it?

We often send kids mixed messages.  Many of these messages actually create barriers to student learning. “I want you to think for yourself”‘ vs. “Follow my instructions (obey my orders)” “No talking when I’m talking” vs. “I want you to participate in the discussion” “You are here to learn” vs. “You got an F because […]

How to do inquiry Project-Based Learning (PBL Series Part 6)

This is probably the hardest aspect of PBL to describe.  How to explain how to do something that is inquiry?  How to describe something that, by nature, requires student involvement.  The key is the structures. Honestly, this is very much a work in progress for me.  I’m learning how to do this as I go. […]

The teacher’s role in PBL (PBL Series Part 4)

The teacher’s role in an Project Based Learning (PBL) classroom is unique.  I’m still figuring it out – and probably will be for years to come.  That being said, I’m confident about a few things the teacher must do to make PBL click on all cylinders. Here are 10 things a teacher should do to […]

What Project Based Learning is and what it isn’t (PBL Series Part 3)

Project based learning (PBL) is a unique instructional style that is not for everyone.  To do PBL justice, you have to focus your entire class around this model – and do repeated cycles of it.  One shot, or even once in a while, will probably not fit the culture of your classroom.  This will just […]

Why my instructional approach didn’t work (PBL Series Part 2)

You may remember, when we last left our hero, he’d enjoyed a subtle epiphany.  It went something like this, “I plan all this stuff and throw it at the kids.  They don’t think it’s as cool as I do.  Now what?” There were 3 main problems with my old approach: Not enough room for student […]

The teacher’s role in an inquiry-centered classroom

The teacher’s role in an inquiry-centered classroom is absolutely critical.  It takes practice.  It takes patience.  It requires a willingness to try new things, fail, reflect, revise, redeem and repeat.  In roughly chronological order (within an investigation), here are 10 things that will allow constructive inquiry to flourish. A teacher in an inquiry-centered classroom must: […]

What an inquiry-centered classroom looks like

Let me paint you picture of an inquiry-rich classroom: Student work plasters the walls (if there are any), not the teacher’s favorite posters.  At the beginning of the year, the walls are mostly bare but that changes quickly.  The walls reflect the culture of the classroom. Rules are minimal and focused on community building and […]