Classroom practice

I Fell into Inquiry at a District-Wide Professional Development

The first time I encountered inquiry I was immediately hooked. As a novice teacher, I knew that I wanted my curriculum to be relevant, responsive, and sustaining, and I knew I wanted to attend to those resource pedagogies through asking questions. I knew that I needed to plan my course backwards, starting with big ideas, […]

Slavery and the Economy: Sowing the Seeds of Panic

Who would think helicopters flying over your house would lead to an inquiry about slavery, the cotton industry and the Panic of 1837? Then again, it is 2020. I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania near the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art. The “Art Museum” is a gathering place for celebrations, running up the “Rocky” steps and […]

Hope for Elementary Inquiry

As a social studies educator I have heard all the excuses as to why social studies is not a priority within our elementary school classrooms.  “There isn’t enough time.”  “We need to focus on reading and math skills.”  “Social Studies isn’t tested so it really doesn’t matter.”  These excuses are gut wrenching and disheartening, because […]

How is the Kentucky Derby About More Than Large Hats?

The Kentucky Derby conjures up images of large hats, funny suits and galas for those who are in the upper echelon of economic status in America. Each year, tens of thousands flock to the biggest and most prestigious horse track in the world by many estimates. However, the history and systemic racism that has helped […]

When Inquiry Hits a Nerve

When Inquiry Hits a Nerve I recently read Isabel Wilkerson’s bestselling book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. I found Wilkerson’s argument intellectually stimulating and began to think about how I could incorporate her book into social studies curriculum in central Kentucky. There are many challenges to incorporating modern scholarship into secondary social studies. Will […]

Questions as Evidence of Hope

We began this COVID season with a group of teachers generating a set of compelling questions. What is the balance between freedom and security? Will a virus heal the partisan divide? How will disease change the world? When this list of questions was first published, no one knew if we could answer them but, like […]

Getting in Touch with your Emotions: Social Emotional Learning and Source Reliability

“Are you in touch with your emotions?”  Can we create a much deeper understanding for middle schoolers on the Rules of Reliability by making sourcing and contextualizing more of a social-emotional learning experience? The C3 Framework has done an exceptional job in creating a blueprint for teachers to follow that emphasizes sourcing and contextualizing, while […]

Inquiry: How do I approach a new year?

As I opened this school year, I decided to take stock of old procedures I follow, as well as my long term plans for the year around inquiry. After spending 5 days this past summer working on inquiry design in both a C3 summer institute and at the district level, it occurred to me it […]

Hacking the Middle School Social Studies Code

“EVERY single thing you have on flies in the face of rule #22 … Are you telling me you haven’t read our Code of Conduct?” the ruthless Principal Dwight tells middle schooler Rafe Khatchadorian in the hilarious comedy Middle School the Worst Years of My Life, based on James Patterson’s best selling book. There is […]

Puzzling Pieces of History

No one ever said that it would be easy to help produce the next generation of civic-minded citizens especially considering, as educators, our job is also to help morally shape and ethically balance their young minds. I think that most of us never anticipated the complexities surrounding the true tests associated with being a twenty-first […]