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.