Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague


Weekend Ed. Quote ~ March 24

“Meaning-making occurs in tandem with acting upon new ideas and strategies” ~ John Barell, Moving From What to What If?: Teaching Critical Thinking with Authentic Inquiry and Assessments, 2016, p. 6

Moving From What to What If

Moving From What to What If?: Teaching Critical Thinking with Authentic Inquiry and Assessments Available from Google Books and Amazon


More Weekend Ed. Quotes


Weekend Ed. Quote~October 18

This week’s quote arrives from my friend Dr. John Barell, prolific author and creative thinker:

https://inquisitivetoafaultdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/milkywaythailand.jpgI would show my mother, Elizabeth Barell, a picture like this of Melotte 15, an emission nebula, and say, “Look, Ma, this is where stars are born–a stellar nursery.” She’d quickly respond, “How do you know?” I’d say, “Look, it says here `Astronomers say this is where stars are created.'”
And she would respond with such alacrity, “Well, how do they know?

I then used my very basic knowledge of astronomy to explain what I thought I understood. “How do they know? How do you know?” Two of the most important questions we should be asking about all sorts of things besides star formation. ~Dr. John Barell


Thank you, John!! I’ve learned so much from Dr. Barell’s many books, among them:

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?: Teaching for Inquiry, PreK-5

Developing More Curious Minds

Problem-Based Learning: An Inquiry Approach

How Do We Know They’re Getting Better?: Assessment for 21st Century Minds, K-8


Additional Ed. Quotes

Image Source


Inquiry Learning Resource~Sally Ride Science

Just heard about this from my friend Dr. John Barell:

Dr. Sally Ride was the first women in space and an educator with continuing research in corporate inquiry mind sets and STEM.  Following the explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia, she concluded her investigation with these ringing words: “Ever NASA manager needs to be inquisitive to a fault.  You must ask and ask and ask.”  In person
she told me that, yes, this challenge did indeed apply to all walks of life and that science was an excellent way of fostering our inquisitiveness by asking “Why?”

Continuing in the spirit of inquiry, the website SallyRideScience (https://sallyridescience.com) is a splendid resource for all those conducting investigations about the natural world.

Give yourself some time to search for Curiosity Rover on Mars, Climate Change and with Antarctic research.  In the Antarctic research section, you’ll find the intriguing question, “How do penguins survive  in very cold temperatures?”  John wrote, “I thought I knew the answer, but learned more about the physics that I still don’t quite understand fully:  http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/cold_penguins.htm

Sally Ride ScienceSallyRideScience seems to be a safe, secure and child friendly. Conduct searches at STEM Central and Browse by
Category. John wrote, “Investigating the natural world  is that area of inquiry where we’re always asking What? Why? How Come?” Take a look at SallyRideScience.

Thanks, Dr. John Barell!


Favorite Pinterest Board: It’s All About Wonder

Author, friend, and mentor John Barell emailed a great link for a Pinterest Board featuring his work on the subject of Wonder.

There are so many excellent educational resources on Pinterest. But I have not seen a board dedicated to the subject of Wonder.

Check it out! Did You Ever Wonder?

did you ever wonder

What is your favorite quote about Wonder?



Questions in the Classroom

a good teacher asks questions

Great books on questioning techniques:

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?: Teaching for Inquiry, PreK-5  by John Barell
My Review of this book

Problem-Based Learning: An Inquiry Approach by John Barell


Inquiry-Oriented Instruction Video

Frequently, I am asked for specific examples of inquiry-oriented education. The questions usually have three themes:

1. How does inquiry-oriented education function in the classroom?
2. Just exactly how does it look?
3. How do I model this approach for my students?

Here, in a concise, video, author John Barrell, models this approach with a group of elementary students. 
This is a wonderful example of inquiry-learning in process.

Inquiry-Oriented Instruction Example Video


The Creativity Crisis Part II

Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day. By middle school, they’ve pretty much stopped asking. It’s no coincidence that this same time is when student motivation and engagement plummet. They did not stop asking question because they lost interest: it’s the other way around. They lost interest because they stopped asking questions.

Excerpted from “The Creativity Crisis”, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, Newsweek. July 19, 2010

For further Goggling: John Barell and More Curious Minds, http://www.morecuriousminds.com/

Question: What is the most interesting question you have received in the classroom this year?


Order This Book!

“Inquisitive minds are the safeguards of our democracy, now and forever.” John Barell

And they also may scare us to quivering mush!

Why? Because our perception is that questions may lead us away:

From the “right” answer-
From the prescribed time allotment-
From our plan and our pacing-
Toward a realm where the teacher is not the all-seeing, all-knowing Carnac of the Classroom. carnac.jpg

Thank Goodness! What a Relief!

Realize this and you will live longer and have more fun!

And you will have time to sit down, rest a bit, and read, “Why Are School Buses Always Yellow” by John Barell, Professor Emeritus, Montclair State University. (Corwin Press and Amazon)

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow” encapsulates years of theory into workable practice. I probably would have saved thousands in college tuition loans if this resource had blessed me decades ago! (virtual “Wish I’d had a V-8” moment)!

Barell reiterates that questions signal higher-order thought processing which is the goal of effective classroom interaction and innovation. He reminds us that student questions are the attainment of the highest thinking skills. It is what we trained for people!

Too many books declare WHAT an important concept inquiry teaching is. But, after the studies are noted and the experts quoted, there are very few pages left for the actual implementation: HOW TO DO inquiry-oriented teaching. It’s about time that a book came along that speaks to “HOW” to reach and develop inquisitive questioning.

Barell’s visits to classrooms and discussions with both teachers and students form a dynamic role-play model. You will no doubt relate to the student responses and learn from modeling Barell’s effective inquiry teaching practices. I also appreciate the structure of the chapters. Barell allows space for reflection, an often overlooked phase of learning.

Granny Newlen always admonished us kids to “Learn, discuss, then then get up and move.” She used such a phrase to get us up off the couch for learning-walk where we would tell her what we had learned at school.

Go on your own “learning walk” to the bookstore, online or F2F, and buy this book. 😉


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