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For teachers who have been exploring process approaches and thematic units in language arts and other areas, the logical next step is inquiry.
Based on the authoring cycle, the inquiry cycle provides one possible curricular framework for supporting inquiry within classroom contexts. Through inquiry learners engage in a process of searching for questions that are significant in their lives and finding multiple ways to examine and research those questions.
Learning Together Through Inquiry is the story of how six teachers collaborated with each other and with their students to explore and negotiate curriculum as inquiry in their classrooms. Through this experience they were able to examine their beliefs about inquiry and the teaching of content in elementary classrooms and, most important,they saw the students becoming engaged in learning. They had moved from textbook-based curriculum to thematic units-where students are involved in a range of activities and literature focused around a common topic or issue-to their current interest in inquiry approaches.
All six authors used the broad concept of "discovery" to begin the year and connect the inquiry studies across the year to one another. Students engaged in inquiries about Christopher Columbus, families changing over time, personal and family history, slavery, human rights, cultures, space, and nature cycles.
Learning Together Through Inquiry is an accessible guide to applying the inquiry cycle and negotiating curriculum around a broad concept. It is also a compelling snapshot of how teacher researchers collaborate to enrich their own and their students' learning.