WICOR Wednesday

McAlester High School Volume 1.2


This year teachers at McAlester High School are engaging in professional learning to grow their instructional practices in the use of AVID's WICOR strategies. WICOR, an acronym for Writing.Inquiry.Collaboration.Organization.Reading provides a common language and instructional framework for the implementation of best practices that are rigorous and have the greatest impact on student achievement. This weekly newsletter is part of that professional development, but also something you will be working on in your core teams and in collaboration time during CAMM.

This Week's Topic: Inquiry

Inquiry is a dynamic act that engages us in WONDER through the art of asking questions. Questions are our most powerful tools in the classroom--as educators, we ask and answer literally thousands of of them every day. In AVID, we use the WICOR checkpoints to ensure we are intentionally incorporating these key components of learning every day, and part of WICOR is Inquiry--asking and answering pointed questions.

This week, take some time to really plan the questions you are working into your lessons. Whether they are Essential Questions, Guiding Questions, or Comprehension Questions, remember that our questioning method must be strategic. Focus on using questions that push students to think more deeply. Socratic questioning is fundamental to inquiry based learning and allows students to take ownership of their learning by delving into issues worthy of further exploration. Create questions that "honor confusion". Emerging from that confusion is where the most powerful learning occurs. As you ask questions this week be comfortable in allowing "wait time". Silence is deafening in those moments waiting once a question has been raised, but be patient. It takes time for students to process what has been asked of them. You'll be surprised at who may want to answer when given thirty seconds longer to think!

The late education philosopher and change agent Grant Wiggins (author of Understanding By Design) felt very strongly that it is necessary to "slow down the teaching to speed up the learning." The Inquiry process will do just that. Pose meaningful questions to students, let them grapple with ideas and issues, and see what wonderfully amazing results they produce.

Being an AVID school takes purposeful commitment to the process , but we are equal to the task! Go BUFFS!

Check out the link below to read an excellent article on Inquiry and how to use Costa's Level's of Thinking in your classroom.

Video Resources

This short 2 min video from Teaching Channel shows how one teacher is successfully engaging students in writing higher order questions.
This short YouTube video highlights very quickly for students what Costa's Levels are and was created on the simple to use animation/video creation app, PowToon. Check it out!
Levels of Questioning
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Want to Know More?

The AVID Library contains an abundance of information on inquiry based learning, Costa's Levels of Thinking, and higher order questioning techniques that are content area specific. If you have resources you'd like to share, please let me or someone on the AVID Site Team know. We love learning from one another! As you practice these strategies please give us your feedback and discuss your experience with your colleagues. We want to hear your stories and share the exciting, student centered learning that is happening in your room!

Thanks for all you do! Happy Wednesday!



About Us

AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a school wide transformational effort focused on leadership, systems, instruction and culture, and is designed to increase the number of students who enroll and succeed in higher education and in their lives beyond high school. AVID-trained educators teach students academic and social skills to help them develop the habits and behaviors needed to succeed in rigorous curriculum. The AVID College Readiness System is a catalyst for developing a school culture that closes the expectation and opportunity gaps many students face, and prepares all students for success in a global society. The AVID system is tailored to the needs of this diverse group of students, and it works for them because:
  • AVID offers the intensive support students need to succeed in rigorous courses.
  • AVID uses Socratic Methods and study groups that specifically target the needs of under-achieving students.
  • The role of teacher is redefined from lecturer to advocate and guide. The role of counselor changes from gate-keeper to facilitator.
  • All AVID instructional strategies are based on research.
  • AVID is a SCHOOLWIDE initiative at Puterbaugh Middle School.

Please let a site team member know if you'd like more information on any of the schoolwide practices and strategies. #WeAreMcAlester #AVIDBuffs