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How does Suzanne Fraser, Special Education Strategist in Iowa City, IA, support her diverse learners so they get the most out of Inquiry Journeys? Read this month's spotlight to find out!

I wanted to learn more about the strategies Inquiry Journeys teachers find most helpful in supporting students with diverse learning needs, so I talked to Suzanne Fraser, Special Education Strategist in Iowa City, IA. Suzanne has used Inquiry Journeys with 1st- and 6th-grade students. Here are some of her top tips.

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Suzanne Fraser, Special Education Strategist Iowa City, IA

Use Visual Supports

Inquiry isn’t sit-and-get learning. Students are investigating a range of sources, engaging in discussions, and managing collaborative work. Suzanne uses visuals to support students as they engage in the range of tasks. Suzanne shared some of the simple graphics she used with her 6th-grade students last year, such as these visual cues for different discussion strategies.

She also noted that the slide presentations that come with every Inquiry Journeys lesson can serve as great visual reminders to support students as they engage with complex tasks. She also created clear rubrics to guide her students’ reflection on and revision of their work.

Make it Multimodal

Suzanne often looks for ways to make students’ learning experience multisensory, especially tactile. In her next Inquiry, Our Special Location, in which students learn the human and natural features that make their community special, Suzanne is considering bringing pictures of the local water tower and taking her students outside to feel the grass growing. Through these multisensory opportunities, Suzanne is giving her students the velcro to make their learning sticky.

Integrate IEP Goals with the Inquiry

As Suzanne’s 1st graders engaged in the Families Near and Far Inquiry, she looked for authentic ways to integrate her students’ IEP goals. During the Inquiry, students discuss the variety of people who make up their families. One of the students Suzanne serves has an IEP goal around letter recognition. So, as part of his inquiry work, this student practiced recognizing the letters in his mother’s name – who Suzanne described as “his favorite person.” Suzanne’s differentiation strategy gave this student an entry point to the learning experience AND connected to his lived experience and interests – one of the key principles of inquiry!

Thanks again to Suzanne Fraser for these great tips!
Looking for more information on Differentiating Inquiry Journeys? Check out these resources: