From the Ground Up: Creating a Culture of Inquiry

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9780325002675: From the Ground Up: Creating a Culture of Inquiry
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Exploring what was possible rather than typical for teachers and children in elementary education was the goal of a small group of teachers, university partners, and a school district when they joined hands to create a small school partnership. Now, five years later, with the creation of the Center for Inquiry, they know. From the Ground Up is their story. A story that demonstrates what kind of results a university - public school partnership can achieve. A chronicle of the power of inquiry: how it can promote learning as well as frame and inform curriculum, professional development, and continuous school renewal.

Each chapter of this book is written from the unique perspective of a critical Center team member:

  • Several classroom teachers, Jennifer Barnes, Rick DuVall, Dori Gilbert, Tim O'Keefe, Susanne Pender, Michele Shamlin, and Julie Riley Waugh, describe how they build community, foster democracy and academic growth, help students use mathematics to learn more about themselves as readers, enhance parent communication, and build curriculum with and for students.
  • A first-year teacher, Amy Novak, explains how her internship year at the Center ultimately influenced her teaching and success in a very different public school setting.
  • A university partner, Louise Jennings, demonstrates how inquiry grounds professional development and fosters school renewal by describing teacher study-group meetings.
  • Several others, Harvey Allen, Amy Donnelly, Debra Hamm, Richard Ishler, and Heidi Mills, write about the evolution of the school-university partnership and the processes and practices that are crucial to the Center's success.
  • Another partner, Cynthia Colbert, chronicles her journey from the university back into the classroom and examines her fears, joys, and success as she teaches art as inquiry.
  • Even the students share their interpretations of life and learning at the Center for Inquiry, which is only fitting, as the children's perspectives and voices are truly heard and valued at the Center.

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About the Author:

Heidi Mills consults with elementary teachers and administrators across the country to help them create school-wide cultures of literacy and inquiry. As Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of South Carolina, Instructional Leader in the South Carolina Reading Initiative, as well as, Curriculum, Research and Development Specialist at the Center for Inquiry (CFI), Heidi has worked closely with a diverse range of school communities combining the best of literacy instruction with state-of-the-art work in the disciplines. Heidi's latest book, Learning for Real: Teaching Content and Literacy Across the Curriculum, offers rich descriptions of curricular structures, processes and strategies that nurture literacy and inquiry as well as classroom videos and rich examples of integrated units of study in the sciences and social sciences. As a consulting author, Heidi brings promising beliefs and practices to life and makes them accessible and transferable to varied school communities by sharing compelling classroom videos, student artifacts and integrated units of study. Most importantly, Heidi engages in collaborative inquiry with teachers and administrators to create truly responsive professional development grounded in the strengths, needs and interests of each faculty. Heidi and her husband, Timothy O'Keefe, a second and third grade teacher at CFI, were the recipients of the 2014 National Council of Teachers of English Outstanding Educator of the Year Award.

Review:

“Those interested in starting a similar school will find critical components [described in this book].”–Young Children

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