The QUESTION is the ANSWER:Making the Language Arts Classroom Meaningful with Essential Questions & Student-Driven Inquiry...
Overview of Presentation<br />Introduction & Background<br />Connect to Iowa Core, Common Core, & CEI<br />An Inquiry Base...
Exploring the Misconceptions<br />How do our students view their learning? <br />“One and Done”<br />Not relevant to their...
Learning the ‘Old’ Way<br />Chronological Learning – typically textbook driven<br />Individual, Isolated Activities<br />B...
National Common Core & Iowa Core Curriculum<br />Iowa Department of Education adopted the Common Core Standards in July, 2...
1.  Integration - “the individual strands of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language are not exclusive of the ...
2.	Social/Collaboration - “Literacy is social.  In being effective critical members of a literacy community, students coll...
The Core in Language Arts <br />Authentic Literacy<br />-Focuses on the processes of reading, writing, and critical thinki...
3.	Innovation (American Literature)<br />The Core in Language Arts <br />
“The partnerships between reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language – connecting with the ever-increasing knowle...
What is Inquiry?<br />
What is Inquiry?<br />“…education easily becomes remote and dead – abstract and bookish”<br />“…education lacked an authen...
What is Inquiry?<br />
What is Inquiry?<br />The Five Major Parts of Inquiry Model in Science:<br />Learners are engaged in scientifically orient...
Inquiry Based Units<br />Based on student-driven questions & issues, relevant to them<br />Multiple texts, activities, and...
The Five ‘E’s of Inquiry<br />Engagement<br />Create interest<br />Reveal prior knowledge and pre-existing ideas<br />Expl...
Unit Planning Process in American Lit.<br />Content Selection<br />Identifying the ‘problems’ – I needed a ‘reality check’...
Unit Planning Process Continued…<br />Big Ideas<br />Themes<br />The struggle to find acceptance in society<br />How stere...
Unit Planning Process Continued…<br /><ul><li>Big Ideas
Essential Questions
What are stereotypes? Why do we have them? Where do they stem from?
How do stereotypes influence American Indian culture?  How is this evident in their writing?
How do stereotypes impact the construction and perception of identity?
How do we overcome stereotypes in order to become ourselves?</li></li></ul><li>American Literature<br />Students construct...
American Literature<br />C<br />D<br />Students identify stereotypes in the film “The Searchers”<br />A<br />B<br />
American Literature<br />Students analyze the essay, “I Hated Tonto (Still Do)” for style<br />C<br />D<br />A<br />B<br />
American Literature<br />C<br />D<br />Students identify with stereotypes in the film, “The Breakfast Club”<br />A<br />B<...
American Literature<br />C<br />D<br />Students discuss stereotypes in the “Great Game of High School” and relate it to th...
American Literature<br />Students look at identity conflicts in their own lives through artwork and poetry.<br />C<br />D<...
Identity Assignment<br />
American Literature<br />Students create their own non-stereotypical children’s stories and present <br />C<br />D<br />A<...
American Literature<br />Students write persuasive essays and debate the Indian Mascot Controversy in sports<br />C<br />D...
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The Question is the Answer: Making the Language Arts Classroom Meaningful with Essential Questions and Student-Driven Inquiry

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Ashley Jorgensen, Price Laboratory School, UNI

This presentation will focus on developing a curriculum built around inquiry-based units of instruction in a secondary language arts classroom. Audiences will have the chance to see evidence of how the use of essential questions can lead students into a process of inquiry, giving them the skills they need to think critically, question the world around them, and broaden and deepen their perspectives by connecting with others. Audiences will embark on a journey that takes them through a course entitled, ‘The American Teenager,’ and see the activities, assessments, and instructional strategies that transformed this course from a traditional study of American Literature to a course that is relevant, engaging, and challenging for teenagers in the 21st century. Through essential questions like ‘How do societal expectations impact our identity?’, ‘What are the costs and benefits of conformity?’ and ‘Is the American Dream a reality for all?’, this course blends classic and contemporary, and combines writers like Sherman Alexie with The Breakfast Club, Henry David Thoreau with text messaging, and Catcher in the Rye with Jay-Z. Audiences will gain important techniques for creating a classroom built around student-led discussions, including Socratic Seminars and blogging, as well as see examples of competency based assessments fully aligned with the Iowa Core Curriculum and National Common Core Standards.

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  • “We have journals in social studies, too. The school must have gotten a good price on journals. We are studying American history for the ninth time in nine years. Another review of map skills, one week of Native Americans, Christopher Columbus in time for Columbus Day, the Pilgrims in time for Thanksgiving. Every year they say we’re going to get right up to the present, but we always get stuck in the Industrial Revolution. We got to World War I in seventh grade---who knew there had been a war with the whole world? We need more holidays to keep the social studies teachers on track.” page 7 from Speak. 
  • “Socrates was known for leading his students through a process of self-discovery, not by making them memorize a series of facts, names, and texts, but by asking them complex questions about the world, its people, and their relationships.” Today, we refer to this questioning and dialogue as the Socratic Seminar.
  • In Democracy and Education, Dewey attacked the rigid, formal model of education, proclaiming that it, ‘easily becomes remote and dead – abstract and bookish.’ Dewey thoughts that education was lacking an authentic connection to the human experience.
  • The Question is the Answer: Making the Language Arts Classroom Meaningful with Essential Questions and Student-Driven Inquiry

    1. 1. The QUESTION is the ANSWER:Making the Language Arts Classroom Meaningful with Essential Questions & Student-Driven Inquiry<br />Ashley jorgensen<br />Ashley.jorgensen@uni.edu<br />(319) 273-2961<br />
    2. 2. Overview of Presentation<br />Introduction & Background<br />Connect to Iowa Core, Common Core, & CEI<br />An Inquiry Based Unit Think Aloud<br />Tying it to the Standards<br />Socratic Seminar Discussions<br />
    3. 3. Exploring the Misconceptions<br />How do our students view their learning? <br />“One and Done”<br />Not relevant to their lives – not purposeful <br />Grade-Driven<br />Teacher-Centered – ‘empty vessels’ <br />Concerned with finding the right answer<br />“…a series of contrived exercises necessary to earn credentials for future success” (Newman, 2005)<br />Sleepy & boring<br />
    4. 4. Learning the ‘Old’ Way<br />Chronological Learning – typically textbook driven<br />Individual, Isolated Activities<br />Breadth over Depth – “shopping mall classroom”<br />Subjective Grading<br />The Result?<br />“Regardless of how carefully the individual activities and lessons are crafted, on close inspection, the curriculums reveal a lack of intellectual focus and coherence because the goals of study are not explicit” (Traver).<br />
    5. 5. National Common Core & Iowa Core Curriculum<br />Iowa Department of Education adopted the Common Core Standards in July, 2010. <br />Five Strands: reading, writing, speaking, listening, & language <br />Emphasizes skills over content – leaving freedom to teacher<br />Characteristics of Effective Instruction<br />Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum<br />Student-Centered Instruction<br />Teaching for Learner Differences<br />Teaching for Understanding (Deep Conceptual Knowledge)<br />Formative Assessment<br />
    6. 6. 1. Integration - “the individual strands of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language are not exclusive of the other. Each strand links to and supports the rest.” <br /> “…to be learned and used effectively, the processes of reading, writing, speaking, viewing, and listening are best taught in an integrated manner and assessed in the same way.” <br /> NOTHING IS MTUALLY EXCLUSIVE!!!<br />The Core in Language Arts <br />
    7. 7. 2. Social/Collaboration - “Literacy is social. In being effective critical members of a literacy community, students collaborate with others. Whether it be engaging the ideas of an author or activity discussing and debating issues about their lives with their peers, this collaboration helps students gain an appreciation of themselves, others, and the world. There is a cumulative advantage to the reciprocity of sharing ideas. The more students engage in literacy, the deeper their conceptual understanding and motivation to learn becomes.”<br /><ul><li>Discussions – Student-Led & Socratic Seminars </li></ul>The Core in Language Arts <br />
    8. 8. The Core in Language Arts <br />Authentic Literacy<br />-Focuses on the processes of reading, writing, and critical thinking<br />-Requires a shift---a greater focus on the questions, and less on the answers<br />-”When students have opportunities to construct knowledge, to understand topics in depth instead of superficially, to express themselves by explaining their ideas, and to study issues that have significance beyond the classroom, they are more likely to care and be interested in learning” (Newman, 2007)<br />“…encourages the process of thinking over the product, and propels students towards deep understandings of the content” (Wilhelm, 2007). <br />
    9. 9. 3. Innovation (American Literature)<br />The Core in Language Arts <br />
    10. 10. “The partnerships between reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language – connecting with the ever-increasing knowledge base for each content area – provide the means for thinking among and between concepts and ideas. It is an active process.” <br />-Iowa Core Curriculum<br />Interpreting the Iowa Core<br />
    11. 11. What is Inquiry?<br />
    12. 12. What is Inquiry?<br />“…education easily becomes remote and dead – abstract and bookish”<br />“…education lacked an authentic connection to the human experience.” <br />
    13. 13. What is Inquiry?<br />
    14. 14. What is Inquiry?<br />The Five Major Parts of Inquiry Model in Science:<br />Learners are engaged in scientifically oriented questions<br />Through exploration, learners give priority to evidence, which allows them to develop and evaluate explanations that address questions<br />Learners formulate explanations from evidence to address questions<br />Learners evaluate their explanations in light of alternative explanations<br />Learners communicate and justify their proposed explanations<br />“Inquiry based teaching requires careful attention to creating learning environments and experiences where students can confront new ideas, deepen their understanding, and learn to think logically and critically about the world around them” (Inquiry and Science)<br />
    15. 15. Inquiry Based Units<br />Based on student-driven questions & issues, relevant to them<br />Multiple texts, activities, and forms of assessment<br />Based on student perspective, deep conceptual knowledge, and meaningful connections<br />“Create a clearly focused problem orientation for our studies that connects kids to socially significant material and learning; thus, leading to exciting conversations” (Wilhelm)<br />Unit Planning around the ICC<br />
    16. 16. The Five ‘E’s of Inquiry<br />Engagement<br />Create interest<br />Reveal prior knowledge and pre-existing ideas<br />Exploration<br />Explore questions and test student ideas<br />Explanation<br />Compare ideas <br />Construct explanations and justify them in terms of evidence/data<br />Elaboration<br />Apply concepts and explanations in new contexts<br />Evaluation<br />Evidence of changes in students’ ideas, beliefs, and skills<br />
    17. 17. Unit Planning Process in American Lit.<br />Content Selection<br />Identifying the ‘problems’ – I needed a ‘reality check’ <br />Surveying the students <br />Finding Additional Resources<br />Discover the connections<br />The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian<br />A struggle to fit in or construct one’s identity in a stereotypical world<br />
    18. 18. Unit Planning Process Continued…<br />Big Ideas<br />Themes<br />The struggle to find acceptance in society<br />How stereotypes/misconceptions influence one’s culture and how we overcome them <br />Building and constructing an identity/individuality in our society today<br />The impact of community expectations on our lives and identity<br />
    19. 19. Unit Planning Process Continued…<br /><ul><li>Big Ideas
    20. 20. Essential Questions
    21. 21. What are stereotypes? Why do we have them? Where do they stem from?
    22. 22. How do stereotypes influence American Indian culture? How is this evident in their writing?
    23. 23. How do stereotypes impact the construction and perception of identity?
    24. 24. How do we overcome stereotypes in order to become ourselves?</li></li></ul><li>American Literature<br />Students construct their own viewpoint of stereotypes by analyzing images of American Indians from society today.<br />C<br />D<br />A<br />B<br />
    25. 25. American Literature<br />C<br />D<br />Students identify stereotypes in the film “The Searchers”<br />A<br />B<br />
    26. 26. American Literature<br />Students analyze the essay, “I Hated Tonto (Still Do)” for style<br />C<br />D<br />A<br />B<br />
    27. 27. American Literature<br />C<br />D<br />Students identify with stereotypes in the film, “The Breakfast Club”<br />A<br />B<br />
    28. 28. American Literature<br />C<br />D<br />Students discuss stereotypes in the “Great Game of High School” and relate it to their own high school.<br />B<br />A<br />
    29. 29. American Literature<br />Students look at identity conflicts in their own lives through artwork and poetry.<br />C<br />D<br />A<br />B<br />
    30. 30. Identity Assignment<br />
    31. 31. American Literature<br />Students create their own non-stereotypical children’s stories and present <br />C<br />D<br />A<br />B<br />
    32. 32. American Literature<br />Students write persuasive essays and debate the Indian Mascot Controversy in sports<br />C<br />D<br />A<br />B<br />
    33. 33. American Literature<br />Students form market research teams to redefine the ‘Mook’ & ‘Midriff’ caricatures from ‘Merchants of Cool’ through ethnography studies & Pinterest boards<br />C<br />D<br />A<br />B<br />
    34. 34. What is Next?<br />Six Units<br />All integrated to incorporate essential skills & concepts<br />1.Stereotypes & Identity - How do people form an identity in a stereotypical world?<br />Technology & Transcendentalism - What are the costs and benefits of being a nonconformist in 21st century society? How is technology changing the way we interact, think, and live in our world?<br />America the Beautiful? An MLA Research Paper <br />The American Experience - Is the American Dream a reality for all?<br />The Game of Life – Are we the people society perceives us to be? <br />Teen Culture Study – Teen Research Study & Multi-Genre Presentation<br />Language Arts May Term – ICC Standards Assessment<br />
    35. 35. Independent Inquiry Project<br />Writing Standard 7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a self-generated question, or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject. <br />Independent Inquiry Project<br />Essential Question<br />Five Sources: One classic, one contemporary, one film, and two other sources<br />Paper and presentation assignment<br />
    36. 36. What About Assessment?<br />Grades must have more meaning; must mean more than the title of an assignment. <br />It is about assessing the skills demonstrated, not the students’ understanding of the content<br />
    37. 37. Standards Based Grading Assessment<br />Focuses on students’ understanding of the essential skills of the discipline (literacy)<br />Provides an accurate, objective assessment of where students are and where they need to be<br />Is dependent on feedback, revision, and initiative – students are in the driver’s seat<br />Reciprocal Accountability <br />Students must reflect on their own learning<br />
    38. 38. Fostering Discussion in the LA Classroom<br />The Importance of Classroom Discussion<br />“despite the importance of academic dialogue, most students don’t engage in it until college or later” (Schmoker).<br />0.5 percent of 1500 high school classrooms took part in student-driven, engaging discussion<br />Students need the opportunity to talk about what they’re learning, test their ideas, and reveal their assumptions. <br />Must focus on building substantive, sustained conversations, not initiated and led by the teacher, but by the students<br />
    39. 39. Socratic Seminars<br /><ul><li>Based on the teaching style of Socrates
    40. 40. Students are in the driver’s seat; Teacher is facilitator
    41. 41. Can be teacher-guided, or student-led
    42. 42. Learn to listen critically and respond to one another
    43. 43. Discussion often continues after they leave the classroom
    44. 44. Students learn to draft higher order questions:
    45. 45. Close Ended
    46. 46. Open Ended
    47. 47. Real World
    48. 48. Universal Theme
    49. 49. Literary Analysis</li>

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