This project supports the continued development of the Read.Inquire.Write curriculum for middle school social studies inquiry that Professors Chauncey Monte-Sano and Mary Schleppegrell have led since 2015. This new effort addresses challenges their research has identified in leading discussions about difficult history, where some students may be marginalized as histories are silenced or misrepresented.
The student populations of greatest concern in this work are Students of Color and bilingual/multilingual students. This new effort also focuses on the Read.Inquire.Write. curriculum as a tool to support teacher learning in the context of a professional development model called “Learning Labs for Social Studies” - Learning Labs were developed first in mathematics by Elham Kazemi and colleagues at the University of Washington. In this PD model, teachers co-plan, co-teach, and debrief discussions of primary sources that highlight issues of power, equity, and resilience in the past and present. The project is creating new resources for teacher learning of content that challenges and expands dominant narratives, and for drawing on students’ thinking and experiences as resources to support their learning.
Over three years, the project will study the ways teachers and students take up this new framing and respond to “Learning Labs for Social Studies” in different configurations. Students and teachers consider what they bring from their own knowledge and experience to each investigation, and how that may position them as they engage in reading, discussion, and argument writing that supports claims with evidence. For students who are learning English as they learn social studies, a key resource is their home languages, and the project supports the participation of bi/multilingual students through materials and activities that encourage translanguaging, where students draw on all the language resources they bring to the work. See the Read.Inquire.Write curriculum at https://readinquirewrite.umich.edu/, where all materials are free for downloading.
Amanda Jennings, PhD and Research Investigator, is the Project Manager. Aileen Kennison is the Project Coordinator. School of Education and U-M students Sally AL-Banna, Sarah Day Dayon, Rebecca D’Angelo, Logan Eiland, Mar Estrada, Mina Hernandez Garcia, Sida Sun, and Omar Tarabah support the initiative. The Learning to Teach Social Studies Inquiry and Writing with Primary Sources to English Learners and Students of Color: A Research and Professional Development Project has been made possible in part by a grant from the Library of Congress.