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Season of Inquiry

By Janice Ewing

Make a quick written or mental list: when you think of October, what are five words or phrases that pop into your mind? This is a month and a season of colorful and flavorful transitions. Maybe you had Halloween on your list, or changing leaves, or candy, or pumpkins, or pumpkin spice latte…

Most likely, as teachers, there are other transitions occurring as well. Whatever your grade level, whether you teach 25 students or 150, you have gotten to know them by now, perhaps not as well as you’d like, but more deeply than you did when you first greeted them in late August or early September. With that knowledge comes great fuel for teaching and relationship-building, but great challenges as well.

Think about what you’ve learned from formative assessment – conversations, observations, anecdotal records, reading and writing conferences, and all the other ways you get insight into your students’ processes and products. Regardless of your grade level or subject, you are probably seeing vast differences in interests, learning styles, strengths, and areas of need. This is important to know, right? Yes, but it can also be overwhelming. For many teachers, this is a time in the school year when we look at the information we’ve acquired about our students, and ask ourselves some questions: Read more