One thing that jumped right out at me was that I liked the inquiry approach as compared to "coverage".
One thing I would like to see is definition of teacher roles- they label teacher as model and coach, but no mention of teacher as collaborator. I strongly believe that the teacher needs to model and collaborate in teaching, learning, and assessing student learning for an inquiry approach to meet the needs of 21st century learners. I'll be looking to see how they show teachers collaborating to accomplish this and define the teachers collaborations.
I liked that, too -- an excellent connection to Understanding by Design as well.
Some of you are already developing ideas that would work on one of the collaborative projects on the wiki (which were suggested as a way for us to synthesize and take action beyond the discussion) ... http://inquirycirclesinaction.wikispaces.com . You'll be asked to create an account and then request to join the wiki. I stand by on the other end to approve those requests ASAP to keep the conversation rolling.
Ernie - You know, I hadn't even thought about how we might share beyond our individual building walls ... they were mostly there as incentives for us to synthesize what we had learned and put them into words ... but your post has my mind racing about the possibility that we could jointly publish in a mainstream education magazine/journal ... (even as I know someone will now pipe in and say, it's about the PROCESS, folks, not the PRODUCT!)
I worry that the front inside cover would feel overwhelming for a current educator who uses the coverage approach, but who hopes to begin integrating the inquiry approach into their lessons. The cover presents the two approaches as mutually exclusive, and seems to imply that there is no in-between for those who are more comfortable with a gradual switch from coverage to inquiry. However, the comprehension continuum presented on the back cover seems to better support the limitless possibilities of education and the progressive climb towards best practices in the classroom. On a related note, check out the New Appendix started on the Wiki.
I really felt this way too. There is a lot in the middle. Some people would think the river would be too much to cross if there were no bridge, no middle ground. I agree that some might resist if it seems like an either/or.
I had a similar reaction. At first glance I liked the look of the comparative chart, but then I looked closer at the words "Interactive and Talk" for INQUIRY and "Quiet and Listening" for COVERAGE. I and a lot of teachers would bristle at those words. A lot of talking and interaction goes on even if inquiry is not the model being used.
I did like the list of "small group collaboration skills" and I'm looking forward to learning more about it in the future chapters. Personally, I always HATED group work growing up, because I was a high achiever, and always got stuck doing the work. Also, no one else's work was up to my "standards" and I got annoyed that we would all get the same grade. Technology tools like wikis are a great way to up group accountability, especially in middle and high schools.
Susan - I hated group work growing up, too, for the same reasons. And it's made me, throughout my career, wary of throwing myself whole-heartedly behind heterogeneous grouping.
That being said, I know that collaborative muscles must be built for our students to be successful workers in the future. I agree with you about wikis. Sometimes, we do the info-gathering alone and pool our findings into a table on a wiki as well as collaborative authoring.
Another strategy that I find helps with group work is to pair a team project with an individual reflection. That reveals a lot both during and at the conclusion of a project.
My worst group work experiences happened when the other students were not interested in the topic, and therefore not engaged. I felt dragged down by my group members and their attitudes seemed contagious. Hopefully, these issues we are bringing up about group work will be discussed in the book.