Conceived by Inquiry by Design (IBD), the Dealing with Difficulty series is meant to support students in working with difficult texts. In implementing the units, teachers and students are introduced to the idea of looking closely at difficult texts as a scaffold for understanding. The emphasis is on the notion that “reading” means “doing intellectual work” and that there are payoffs including a deeper understanding of what and how one reads when a student works through difficulty.
Ninth grade English teachers from all 5 high schools attended a full day workshop in Spring 2013 to experience and learn how to help students deal with difficulty using the text “Auscultation” by Steven Church. The teams from 3 schools have chosen to continue this work by participating in a Peer Learning Lab in the Fall 2013 semester. Teachers will observe a colleague teach a difficult text, debrief their observations, and examine student work to determine strengths, needs, and next instructional steps.