Facilitator Notes

Overall Notes:

The Clemson Virtual Professional Development Library (VPDL) for South Carolina Classroom Teachers was designed to support Professional Learning Communities.  As we know, powerful learning can occur when we view others’ teaching and analyze it together with colleagues!  For this reason, the majority of the modules feature video clips of lessons taught in primary classrooms, as well as commentaries about the lessons by the teachers themselves.

As noted on the introductory page of Nonfiction Inquiry, it is helpful for teachers to have an understanding of the concepts in the Reading Comprehension module before studying Nonfiction Inquiry. We particularly recommend viewing Lesson Structure, Assessment, and Activate Schema, Ask Questions, and Determine Importance under Sample Lessons in Reading Comprehension if teachers are new to comprehension strategy instruction.

Since the emphasis in Nonfiction Inquiry is on the process of developing an inquiry unit across multiple lessons, we suggest viewing all the lessons provided within each unit in the order they were taught (and appear on this website). We encourage teachers of all primary grades to view and discuss the lessons from the other grade levels as well as their own. Please see the chart on the introductory page that shows which phases of inquiry are illustrated by the lesson in each module. (Note that when one of the phases is not shown in videotaped lesson clips, information about that phase is included in Prior to the Lesson or Reflections and Next Steps within the appropriate lesson.) For example, you will find samples of the culminating projects and rubrics in the Reflections and Next Steps sections of the last Kindergarten and First Grade lessons during the Investigate phase, even though there are no separate lessons devoted to Go Public in these grades.

Below we provide some suggestions for facilitators, to help prepare to lead a session using this section.

Facilitator Notes – Introduction to Inquiry

This section provides background information about inquiry. Teachers could read and view the information in chunks as shown in the chart below. Chapter 4 of Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels’ book, Comprehension and Collaboration, is available through the South Carolina State Department of Education website at https://ed.sc.gov/scdoe/assets/File/instruction/standards/ELA/Inquiry_6-8_03_23_2016.pdf. Click on “What we know about Inquiry?” You may want to ask teachers to read this chapter before the PLC as well.

Suggested Discussion
Website: Opening quotes, researcher chart, and Kindergarten researcher video clip Teachers could discuss their own experiences with research and inquiry and what questions they have. You might want to capture these on a two-column chart.
Website: Characteristics of Inquiry Teaching, Teacher Commentary video clips – Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2
Chapter 4 C&C: Pp. 55-60 and 71-72
  • What does inquiry teaching entail?
  • How do the differences between inquiry and “coverage” play out? What difference do they each make for student learning?
  • What are your reflections or questions about the teachers’ comments on the video clips? What similarities and differences do you notice in their experiences?
  • What are your thoughts about the teacher’s role in an inquiry unit?
Website: Benefits of Inquiry Units
  • How do curricular inquiry units benefit both literacy acquisition and content knowledge?
  • How do they support the development of 21st century literacy?
Website: Structure of an Inquiry Unit
Chapter 4 C&C: Pp. 61-71
  • Does the structure of Immerse, Investigate, Coalesce, and Go Public make sense to you? Questions, adjustments, ideas?
  • How does the structure support the benefits of inquiry?
  • How does it help address the pitfalls of conventional projects (discussed in the C&C chapter)?
Website: Student Preparation (Teacher Commentary video clips Kindergarten Nonfiction, Kindergarten Stations, Grade 1, Grade 2 and lesson artifacts – Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2)
  • After viewing each grade’s clip and artifacts, discuss how the teacher has helped prepare students for inquiry. How do you teach these basic aspects of comprehension of informational text in your own classroom?

See Suggested Readings for general support as well as articles and chapters that complement specific sample lessons.