Monday, July 15, 2013

Getting Started: Two Essential Questions

     The word investigation triggers in my mind thoughts of searching, exploring, and inquiring. I think of detectives in the field and scientists in the lab. I do not, if I am honest, think of the students in my history classes. I now need to align my classroom practices with the vision that is inspiring me.  

     Bruse Lesh writes about History Labs, where students conduct source work, inquiry, and ultimately construct and share historical interpretations. I am modeling my historical investigations around this recursive, challenging, and meaningful intellectual process.
Two Essential Questions will Frame the Course

     I love the idea of using one or two open ended questions to frame all of our inquiry in my Western Civ course. Students will revisit these questions repeatedly and, over time, develop increasingly sophisticated ways of thinking about them. Journals, blogs, and/or portfolios can be used to monitor students’ search for meaning, as they construct, share, and refine their responses.  

     For Western Civ I have decided that I will use a process AND a content question.

Year Long Content Question: The idea of progress: How civilized are we?

     Contrast a traditional unit approach to teaching history with an investigatory model and it is easy to see the appeal. I am excited to begin planning how I will help my students explore the complexities of the past and of the human condition in an honest and meaningful way.  

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