Reflections on the C3

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 […]

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 […]

Everyday Inquiry: Using Questions, Tasks, and Sources to Structure Lessons

Where’s the time for inquiry? You may have your students do Inquiry Design Model inquiries throughout the year or you may do one a semester. If you are just entering the inquiry world, you may not have done any before! In Kentucky, my home state, new social studies standards have been adopted that support inquiry […]

Creating a Compelling Question: What is a vote worth?

One of the more difficult parts of writing inquiries is often crafting a compelling question. As teachers, we ask questions every day. We ask essential questions to help students address “essential” content. We ask supporting questions to help break up complex tasks and check for understanding. A compelling question’s role is different. In inquiry learning, […]

Is my teaching too WEIRD?

Recently, I read social science researchers are way too weird. WEIRD stands for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. Between 2003-2007, 96% of behavioral science research used WEIRD subjects. Accordingly, conclusions about the human mind are based on this very specific demographic group. However, WEIRD subjects are, well, weird themselves – scholars suggest that this […]

Out of Inquiry Comes Action: An Update on the Fishkill Supply Depot

In December of 2016, I submitted a blog about the community effort to save the Fishkill Supply Depot. Two year later and we are still fighting to keep this historic site from being commercially developed. I became a trustee for the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot and became actively involved in Taking Informed Action. […]

Question Everything: A Non-Partisan, Political Classroom

There is one thing on which both sides of the political spectrum agree – our country is in a hyper-partisan era. Tribal partisanship and blind uncritical acceptance of information has become all too banal. However you position yourself on the political spectrum, teachers are in a precarious position as they consider their role in helping […]

The Real Value of Inquiry

I used to think that the real value of inquiry was to create autonomous learners, but now I think that it is to expose gaps in knowledge and skill that used to be covered up through direct instruction. Direct instruction is a singular story that moves at the pace of the storyteller. Students are instructed […]

Using Inquiry to Encourage Student Engagement

“It’s the zombie apocalypse!” shouts my student. “Not really, but turn that statement into a question, Is it the zombie apocalypse?” I respond. While I was disappointed one of my students thought a video showing pilgrims on the hajj in Mecca were zombies, I was pleased by the overall level of engagement that my students […]

inquirED: The C3 Framework Guides Our Curriculum Design

Looking for a Roadmap inquirED was looking for roadmap for our Elementary Social Studies curriculum. We wanted something that showed us the destination, but allowed us to select the path. Whatever we chose, it had to align with our definition of inquiry-based learning. Inquiries must start with a complex, engaging question that drives student interest […]