Wisdom Begins with Wonder

What to do when students resist inquiry

The scene: any classroom in America Backstory: Our hero, the intrepid teacher, in the face of overwhelming evidence, has decided to open up his classroom to student inquiry. He has provoked curiosity, facilitated brainstorming and set the students loose to explore their world with gusto. He is just about to begin congratulating himself for his […]

How to be a better teacher today – a long look in the mirror

A new year! Time for a fresh start. A clean slate. Back to the old drawing board! 2011 (is it just me or does that sound like science fiction?) – I watched Back to the Future series with my family over Winter Break. I love that the “future” in Back the the Future II is […]

The inquiry teacher’s toolbox

What are the essential tools for the facilitator of inquiry? The longer I teach through inquiry, the more I realize that I have much yet to master! I’m not going to lie – inquiry is difficult. No matter how well planned I think I am, facilitating inquiry requires me to be nimble; I have to […]

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 […]

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 […]

I teach kids science

I teach kids.  That always comes first and foremost for me.  I don’t teach a content area – a set of knowledge and skill that someone once arbitrarily divided into seperate disciplines (probably a textbook company). That said, I do teach 3 high school classes with traditional labels: biology, chemistry, physics. I am blessed to work […]