Approaching the inquiry process from a cultural perspective

Esling, Kathleen
Naluai, N. (2014). Approaching the inquiry process from a cultural perspective. Knowledge Quest, 43(2).

In this article, Naluai discusses how Kamehameha Schools revamped their education with inquiry-based practice; beyond this, they also wanted to implement Hawaiian educational traditions alongside inquiry-based practice. To do so, they focused on Eisenberg and Berkowitz’s “Big Six” (task definition, information-seeking strategies, location and access, use of information, synthesis, and evaluation) and paired them with Hawaiian words and proverbs. For example, the guidelines for student “practice” is now “Ho’oma’ama’a.” (For a complete list of the Hawaiian terms and how they tie into the Big Six, I definitely recommend checking out this article!)

I really thought this was a good article, especially because the author explains how the school wanted to call upon Hawaiian educational traditions and history in order to help their students work with inquiry-based learning. Implementing new technologies or educational theories doesn’t need to cancel out a cultural background or focus in school, and I really enjoyed how this school focused on their history as well as the future.

Teacher Spends Two Days as a Student and is Shocked at What She lLarns.

Zatko, Ruzena




Strauss, V. (2015). Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns. The Washington Post.Retrieved from:


The author did an experiment and posed as a student for a day to get a hands on assessment of how life is for the student. He realized that while the teacher is energetic because they are moving around, the students spend the whole day sitting. This becomes exhausting and boring. The advice is there should be more movement, hands-on activities, and mandatory stretches.  Teachers should set a timer while they lecture so that students have a break and absorb everything. Maybe even have a nerf ball and small basketball hoop to give the kids a break.


This article really opened my eyes to something most of us long forgotten. Even when I was a student it was draining to just sit there all day. I relished classes like band or Physical education where we were actually doing something. Majority of a student’s day involves sitting, listening, and note taking.  This isn’t engaging. And in today it just won’t work, attention spans are shorter we get bored more easily.  

How do we do PBL – Project Based Learning?

Gabrielle Thormann 


Weyers, M. (2014). PBL Project Planning: Matching Projects to Standards.  Edutopia, retrieved from:

This article is the third article of a series of articles about how to implement project-based learning (PBL) in a middle school.  Before discussing this article, it’s useful to mention the two previous articles and beyond:  a stream of articles comprises a journal of implementing PBL.  In Minnesota a group of educators started with a reflection on current teaching practices that developed into a District Strategic Plan.  The teachers took the plan to their administrator with their mission statements with one being: “Byron Public Schools will leverage real-world tools and skills to develop in students a passion for learning.”  This particular public school is its own small district, and thus as part of a state mandate this public school partnered/”integrated” with other public schools.  It took time and steps to create the Project Based Learning program.  When they were ready, teachers introduced the program to parents and students.  Key points of the philosophy behind the program were presented.
This third article is useful in that failures are pointed to and rethinking begins. The success of a project based on is noted, as two PBL sites and resources were used, and parent involvement and collaboration is spoken of.  Taking a glance at the next article, the focus is primarily on the development of real-world projects:  one again based on The Kiva Project, one on a local environmental nature center, and one entrepreneurial project based on a TV show format. 

By following the next arrows on the bottom of this article, one can continue seeing the development of their program.  I appreciate this series of articles as a journal and reflection of how teachers created and implemented a program they had never done before.

Connection + Collaboration = Successful Integration of Technology in a Large High School.

Zatko, Ruzena


Lankau, L. (2015). Connection + collaboration = successful integration of technology in a large high school. Knowledge Quest, 44(2), 66-72.


In this article, the benefits of Symbaloo are mentioned. More instructors are using this platform in order to create a design and summary of the class and curriculum and helpful applications the student could use. The author mentions marker space and how to utilize it successfully. Also mentioned are ways for the Teacher Librarian to create a slide of various sections of the library and what is being offered, what the TL can help the student with, etc. This not only creates an icebreaker between student and TL, but also breaks any barriers between teachers and TL. TL can introduce themselves, their work, and knowledge which builds confidence between the teacher and TL to work together in the future.


This article is extremely helpful. Not only is Symbaloo mentioned more in depth, which is great since we are learning about it in class, but we get to read about the hands-on benefits. Also, included are tips and guidelines on how the TL can help promote oneself to staff and students.

READING THE BIG PICTURE A Visual Literacy Curriculum for Today.

Zatko, Ruzena


Silverman, K. k., & Piedmont, J. j. (2016). READING THE BIG PICTURE A Visual Literacy Curriculum for Today. Knowledge Quest, 44(5), 32-37.


In this article, the authors discuss the importance of a visual representations. Often what’s stressed is learning how to write and for students becoming perfect writers. However, there isnt enough emphasis put on visual learning. When it comes for students to create presentations, they are unsure how to tackle this confidently. Visual learning hardly gets introduced until students are in the 9th grade. It is important for students to learn tips and get an introduction on proper visual skills early in. This way students can also identify what looks good, elements of design, etc.


This article was helpful because it discussed the importance of visual literacy ad why it should be taught early in. There is advice offered for instructors on how to incorporate lessons on visual literacy and how to get students engaged in critique each other’s presentations so they can determine what works and what doesn’t. Overall, this helps students in feeling better prepared for college and to build confidence in their own design.

New Year’s Resolution: Teach More, Librarian Less.

Litzinger, Vicki


Ray, Mark.  (2012) New Year’s Resolution: Teach More. Librarian Less. Teacher Librarian,  39(3), 52 – 53.


Mark Ray, as the 2012 Washington State Teacher of the Year, urges us to teach more, to be visible in our schools, and to point out to others when we’ve had a class of excellent teaching. He briefly discusses two other teacher-librarians in Washington State who are making a difference in their schools with an emphasis on being teachers and educational leaders in their schools. He points out that they do this by being active on educational committees and workgroups, working closely with their administrations and colleagues or by becoming specialists in a particular kind of teaching and learning style. They are “leading by example, effectively advocating for teacher librarians and school library programs by focusing on great teaching” (52) The authors final points are about emphasizing our excellent instruction and willingness to learn from our colleagues so that our students benefit.


We love libraries and librarians, and that is a major reason that most of us when into this profession. And now we are expected to teach, and we see our teaching responsibilities as equal to or secondary to our librarian roles. Ray is telling us to change our thinking and completely refocus on being teachers first! The author details several concrete examples of how to do that from being very visible in our schools, actively participating on educational teams,  and to seeking out colleagues with whom to share and learn from. It’s all about advocacy for ourselves, our programs, and our students.

Using Lesson Study to Assess Student Thinking in Science

Using Lesson Study to Assess Student Thinking in Science
Binh Tran
Hammon, K., Dotger, S., & Moquin, F. K. (2012). Using Lesson Study to Assess Student Thinking in Science. Educator’s Voice, 5, 22-31. Retrieved July 9, 2016, from
The article outlines the process of implementing lesson study as a method of collaborative teacher professional development and also curriculum and assessment design. The process of lesson study is aimed at collaboratively designing a lesson through backward mapped lesson design, and then evaluating the lesson based upon observations by members of the lesson study team. Focus of evaluation is not on teacher performance, but rather the effectiveness of the lesson itself as a learning tool. Hammon, Dotger and Moquin cite their experience in undergoing the lesson study process in order to develop material for a fourth grade science class.
The article does a good job articulating the concept of lesson study. It covers the step by step process of executing a lesson study, and credit goes to its authors in laying that out clearly. The use of a science class as a narrative example of the process was a nice touch as well. The focus on the experience of collaborating on lesson study was very informative, and helps to articulate some of the mechanical challenges of that process on an interpersonal level. That said, the paper itself is a bit shallow and fails to arrive at the deeper goal of lesson study: to produce quality lesson content independent of the teacher themselves. Greater student understanding is a byproduct of the process, not the aim in and of itself.

Social Studies Concepts: An Analysis of the NAEP and States’ Standards

Social Studies Concepts: An Analysis of the NAEP and States’ Standards
Binh Tran
Lord, Kathleen M., Andrea M. Noel, and Bridgette Slevin. “Social Studies Concepts: An Analysis of the NAEP and States’ Standards.” Journal of Research in Childhood Education 30.3 (2016): 389-405. Web.
In response to the apparent achievement gap in 4th grade Social Studies results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, Lord, Noel and Slevin conducted the following study. The researchers examined the state standards of nine different states and compared them to the contents of the NAEP to determine whether or not what students were being taught were actually being addressed in the NAEP. Focus was placed upon three “global concepts” (conflict, movement, discovery) to see how standards in these states were shaped. Findings revealed that the concepts were each covered inconsistently across each of the nine states examined. Much of the time, concepts were covered in standards largely along lines of direct effect on the state’s history, if it was covered at all. Many of the mission critical concepts assessed on the NAEP are covered during the 4th grade; the exact year they are first introduced to students. Lord, Noel, and Slevin recommend that contents and concepts be split up and introduced as early as 3rd grade in order to better improve student performance and close achievement gaps.
This paper features a very impressive and extensive review of data collected regarding its topic. Writing style tends to be fairly easy to follow and isn’t too bogged down by excessive jargon common to most academic papers. The greater theme that this paper touches on is something that most people struggle with understanding: education does not simply emerge from a vacuum. It is a path that must be carefully charted with a clear understanding the topography of the area covered, as well as the larger goals and concepts that must be used to hold everything together. Assessments are not simply something that should be used to end a lesson, but rather a encapsulation of the process of learning itself.

Developing The 21St-Century Social Studies Skills Through Technology Integration

Developing The 21St-Century Social Studies Skills Through Technology Integration
Binh Tran
Farisi, Mohammad Imam. “Developing The 21St-Century Social Studies Skills Through Technology Integration.” Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education 17.1 (2016): 16-30. Education Research Complete [EBSCO]. Web. 21 July 2016.
Farisi discusses in this article the historical evolution of technology skills in the field of Social Studies education, first dating back to Martorella’s work in the late 1970s to present day. When the idea of teaching technology skills as an essential part of curriculum was first introduced by Martorella, the focus was on the use of the computer as a facilitator and conduit of acquiring information. The emergence of the internet in the 1990s lead to the proposal by Smith and Kolloch to suggest the use of online technology as a new forum to house interaction between student and teacher. The notion that the internet could be a place to publicly practice ideas of freedom of speech and political assembly was radical notion that would eventually evolve into a game changer. By 2006, the growth of the internet and the imminent arrival of social media lead to the assertion by the National Council for Social Studies that integrating technology skills into Social Studies education was a major professional commitment. Now in present day, Farisi asserts that the growth of online life as a major facet of civil society necessitates the development of “21st century skills” as an essential part of public life. These skills include critical thinking, problem solving, media production skills, and leadership. Careful planning and scaffolding will be needed to help students cultivate essential skills in utilizing technology effectively and minimizing skill gaps between students. Similarly, teacher skills will need to expand to encompass not only basic competencies like use of presentation software and email, but traditionally specialized skills like media and design.

The article helps to put into perspective the extreme leaps and paradigm shifts education has experienced in the last 40 years with respect to technology. Each innovation in technology has brought with it new challenges and new opportunities to expand student learning. The maturation of internet media has necessitated the development of 21st century skills like critical thinking and data evaluation. The internet is not the easy access online library everyone imagined it would be, and it falls to teachers to help students learn how to navigate this new world. Teachers will need to expand their skills to include media and design if they are to remain effective. 

Neuromyths and Why They Persist in the Classroom

Neuromyths and Why They Persist in the Classroom
Binh Tran
Buch, Prateek. “Neuromyths and Why They Persist in the Classroom.” Sense About Science. N.p., 7 Jan. 2014. Web. 21 July 2016. .
The article discusses the many popular myths regarding neurology and how the relate to education. Popular conceptions such as Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory and also the left-right brain paradigm are rooted not in verifiable empirical evidence, but rather in spurious pseudoscience. Studies of the human brain through the use of neuroimaging technology reveals no truth to the idea that different sections of the human brain play a role in intelligence. Further studies suggest that different formats of learning: visual, auditory or kinesthetic, have no discernable difference on student performance or brain function. The author goes on to discuss major reasons why such myths continue to shape education even after decades of evidence have already disproven such claims. Often teachers and even academic researchers are poorly educated on matters of neuroscience and rely on word-of-mouth to get their information. This in turn leads to the creation of poorly thought out and outright incorrect theories on education being developed.

Buch’s article is very well written and informative, if harsh on this issue of neuromyths. The paper is well organized, and includes links to more in-depth studies on the matter. Much of the article’s claims seem inherently skeptical, if not outright hostile towards what has become a major foundation of educational theory. Also, more of the material deals not so much with educational theory so much as the ethics of using such neuromyths to shape educational theory itself. I find that while the article is extremely informative on a subject that I believe to be of great importance to the field of education, it also frustratingly presents a problem with no apparent solution.