Teaching Memo: Why I Love the IDM (Inquiry Design Model) Blueprint

A year ago, in searching for Social-Studies professional development resources and tools, I came across a single-page lesson-planning document that has been a friend to whom I return every month or two, as I develop new lessons for my classroom. If you’re looking for a tool to help you with lesson planning, I’d encourage you to consider using it, too. Once you get the hang of it, it could help you as it does me – I can get through planning a complete and engaging unit from 30k feet in about two hours.

I used to be of the mind that because I’m a smart guy and a good teacher, I can just follow my own system for planning, shifting my approach somewhat as I move from one unit to the next. I don’t borrow others’ content, and I definitely don’t use other people’s units of study, because I’m not the author of those plans and so can’t really endorse and be in them the way I can with my own materials; so, I develop my own, every time. And the way our Middle School works, we’re constantly developing new lesson plans for new units of study. But the IDM gives me a consistent method of approach that makes me a more efficient planner, giving me a language for how I think about the stages of my planning and a structure for my thinking.

Keeping this short: I’m stumping for IDM because, now that I’ve used it seven or eight times, I’m finding more and more that it provides what I need to move forward fruitfully in my planning processes.

Here’s my most recent IDM-planned unit. (This plan is still in development, but, in keeping with my approach of sharing in-process and half-baked ideas to share honestly how my planning works, I’m not hesitating to share the materials here and now.)

(If you don’t know already, you should know: the IDM teachers put a lot of their plans online for free, so if you are just starting off and could benefit from some ready-made IDM-blueprint lessons, you can find them here.)

What do you think about the IDM? Are you using it in your planning?




A Giant List Of Really Good Essential Questions

About Steve Capone

Writer hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah. Interdisciplinary teacher (read: generalist guiding inquiry) at an independent school. Adjunct instructor at a medium sized state school. Lover of learning. Favorite destination: Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, Germany. @CaponeTeaches on Twitter M.S. Philosophy (Univ. of Utah 2013) M.A. Humanities (Univ. of Chicago 2007) B.A. Philosophy & English (Washington & Jefferson College 2006
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