Upcoming Events

Summer Institute for Imaginative Inquiry
July 29-August 1, 2023 • 8:30-3:30
Manhattan Country School, New York, NY

As part of the Progressive Education Network’s Independent Workshop Series the Institute for Imaginative Inquiry will conduct a four-day training at Manhattan Country School in NYC this summer!

Imaginative Inquiry is a pedagogy that enrolls students as a team of experts who encounter complex, real-world problems in an imaginary context. Guided by inquiry and fueled by research, students are immersed  in authentic, place-based learning that engages not only their intellectual capacities, but also their physical, social, and emotional selves. As active participants in a fictional context, students use their skills, knowledge, emotions, and moral instincts to analyze situations, make decisions, and understand their impact on others. 

Join us this summer to experience examples of Imaginative Inquiry units for grades K-6 and explore how the conventions, techniques, and philosophy of Imaginative Inquiry strengthen students’ social imagination, allowing them to create, reflect, and practice becoming agents of change in our world!

enhance their progressive practice by connecting their teaching of Social Studies to children’s innate ability to imagine and play

Workshop participants will:

utilize active and creative methods to engage all students in authentic inquiry and critical thinking skills

reflect on how to deepen their anti-bias and social justice lens

see examples of how these methods work in the classroom

plan lessons around their curricular units of study

build a cohort of progressive educators and practitioners of Imaginative Inquiry

Course Breakdown:

Day 1Setting up the Framework for Imaginative Inquiry
Day 2Tools for Teaching an Imaginative Inquiry Lesson
Day 3Student Engagement in Imaginative Inquiry
Day 4Synthesis and Innovation

4-DAY WORKSHOP: $1,350 per person
WORKSHOP PLUS*: $1,400 per person

*WORKSHOP + TEACHER SUPPORT FORUM
Continue your cohort connection!
The “Workshop + Teacher Support Forum” gives you access to four post-workshop sessions with a workshop leader and peers to help you implement Imaginative Inquiry into your classroom community!

DISCOUNTS
Early Bird registration discount of 15% by March 31
Early Bird registration discount of 10% by April 30
20% discount for public school educators
30% discount for groups of 3 or more

Scholarships available (see registration page for link)

For more details, contact: info@imaginativeinquiry.com


Past Events

Planning Inquiry-Based Social Studies Lessons with Imaginative Inquiry
April 24, 2024 • 8:45-2:45
Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York, NY

As part of the New York State Association for Independent Schools Professional Learning Series, this workshop will introduce the methods of Imaginative Inquiry and analyze Imaginative Inquiry lessons as a constructivist approach to curriculum planning. Participants will take part in lessons to experience it firsthand, and then go  through the lesson planning process and look at how to redesign existing social studies lessons to put inquiry at the heart and students as active players in an unfolding narrative. Some basic tools used to build an Imaginative Inquiry lesson will be introduced and discussed, and participants will be able to work on their own lessons.

Imaginative Inquiry Advanced Practicum
February 9-10, 2024 • 9:00-3:00
Manhattan Country School, New York, NY

The Imaginative Inquiry Advanced Practicum workshop is designed for practitioners who have previously participated in an Imaginative Inquiry workshop and have implemented lessons in your classrooms. In a writing/theater workshop format, participants will plan and develop curricular units, share lessons that you have created, receive feedback and suggestions, revise your lessons, and practice leading an Imaginative Inquiry lesson. Mantle of the Expert, dramatic inquiry techniques, theater conventions and other elements of Imaginative Inquiry will be reviewed and discussed. 

Whether you have implemented an extended Mantle of the Expert, tried a few lessons in your classroom, or have been wanting to begin but haven’t known how to take the first steps, this workshop is for you! Come ready to be inspired, reinvigorated, and supported as we dive into this two-day master class that will help you hone your skills in the powerful, engaging pedagogy of Imaginative Inquiry.

Imaginative Inquiry Discussion Forum
Thursdays every month: September 14, October 5, November 2, December 7
3:30-4:30 ET over Zoom

These monthly meetings of Imaginative Inquiry practitioners will keep you energized and inspired in your teaching! Share your collective wisdom and bring your questions and musings about your Imaginative Inquiry practice. Work in partnership with like-minded educators and grade level teachers to troubleshoot lesson plans and mantles. The topics can range from practical tips to brainstorming curriculum ideas to troubleshooting techniques — it’s up to you!

Possible topics of discussion:
• How to start a mantle
• Developing an Expert Team
• Classroom management in Imaginative Inquiry lessons
• Successful drama conventions used in Imaginative Inquiry
• Integrating other subjects into Imaginative Inquiry lessons

Introduction to Imaginative Inquiry
December 6, 2023 • 12:00-3:00 ET
Online

Imaginative Inquiry activates children’s greatest asset: their ability to imagine and play. It is a framework for students of all ages to explore and problem-solve. Presented with a compelling situation, students examine various roles and perspectives as they grapple with possible solutions to complex problems. With inquiry at the center of these lessons, Imaginative Inquiry embodies progressive practices as students engage in deep, active, meaningful learning.

In Imaginative Inquiry lessons students act as agents of change, not simply passive observers. The social contexts that they engage in require critical thinking and decision-making. While the contexts may be imaginary, the problem-solving is powerfully real. The social justice learning that emerges from these lessons is natural and seamless.

This online workshop will explore the pedagogical underpinnings of Imaginative Inquiry, provide examples of its use in elementary school classrooms, and discuss how Imaginative Inquiry can be a powerful tool for the teaching of social studies and social justice.

Introduction to Imaginative Inquiry: Creating an Expert Team to Ignite Inquiry
NYSAIS Professional Learning Workshop
October 25, 2023 • 8:45-2:45
Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York, NY

Imaginative Inquiry places students at the center of compelling narratives that engage them in deep and purposeful learning. By enlisting them as a team of experts who are given an important task to fulfill, students step into the active role of researchers, problem-solvers and leaders. As students explore various perspectives in an Imaginative Inquiry lesson, there is the  opportunity to highlight traditionally marginalized voices and recenter the narrative around a “people’s history.” In Imaginative Inquiry lessons, students take on the viewpoints of diverse, “everyday” people, and take part in stories that ask them to consider issues of identity, equity and activism.

In this workshop, participants will learn about the pedagogical underpinnings of Imaginative Inquiry, participate in Imaginative Inquiry lessons, and see examples of its use in elementary school classrooms. We will discuss how Imaginative Inquiry can be a powerful tool for teaching social studies and social justice and reflect on ways to apply this method in one’s own curriculum.

Summer Institute for Imaginative Inquiry
July 31-August 3, 2023 • 8:30-3:30
Manhattan Country School, New York, NY

Imaginative Inquiry: Systems Thinking through Story Making
PEN National Conference
October 8, 2022
Seattle, WA

Imaginative Inquiry is a pedagogical approach that engages students in inquiry and problem-solving by creating fictional contexts that they can step into. As active participants in the narrative, students grapple with the complexities of a time and place, and the social systems at play. They use their skills, knowledge, emotions, and moral instincts to analyze situations, make decisions, and understand their impact on others.

In this workshop we will examine how Imaginative Inquiry can be a tool for looking at systems and practicing social change by allowing students to take action in the stories of our world. Participants will experience an Imaginative Inquiry lesson, stepping into a moment in history that allows them to examine a social system and act/interact from within. We will analyze the lesson and look at how Imaginative Inquiry is used to understand the parts, roles and interrelationships of a social system, and allow students to see their own role in the system and consider how to innovate change for the future.

Summer Institute for Imaginative Inquiry
August 1-4, 2022
Walden School, Pasadena, CA

Imaginative Inquiry is a pedagogy that enrolls students as a team of experts who encounter complex, real-world problems in an imaginary context. As part of the Progressive Education Network‘s Independent Workshop Series and in collaboration with Walden School, the Institute for Imaginative Inquiry will conduct a four-day training this summer.

Experience the arc of a year-long social studies curriculum in which students become a team of archaeologists working to solve a mystery that runs through the heart of Los Angeles: How did the Los Angeles river change from a free-flowing river 500 years ago to a concrete channel today?

On this crucial mission, students learn from the past and  explore the lives of the indigenous Tongva inhabitants of Los Angeles, as well as the colonists who subsequently arrived. Guided by inquiry and fueled by research, students are immersed in authentic, place-based learning as they explore changes over time and use their knowledge of the past to create a better future for their river, their city, and all its living inhabitants.

During the week we will explore this, and other examples of Imaginative Inquiry units for grades K-6. Participants will experience how Imaginative Inquiry engages not only students’ intellectual capacities, but also their physical, social, and emotional selves – igniting the social imagination through which students practice becoming agents of change in our world.

Putting Imaginative Inquiry to Practice: Building a Toolbox of Techniques
NYSAIS e-Seminar
April 19, 2022

This workshop is for teachers (K-6) who have been using Imaginative Inquiry in their classrooms, and would like to refine and add to the tools they use, or for those who have attended a workshop and would like practical tips for how to start. We will explore various drama conventions and techniques that create compelling contexts for inquiry. Participants will have the opportunity to look at their own units of study and begin applying these tools to their Imaginative Inquiry lessons.

Mantle of the Expert Workshop Series
Monthly course subscription from October 1, November 1, or December 1, 2020

Learn about the methods of Imaginative Inquiry and how it uses imaginary contexts to create purposeful and engaging curriculum for your students! In this blended learning course, we will explore examples of social studies units that use Imaginative Inquiry and the Mantle of the Expert approach, whereby students are enlisted as a team of experts to to problem-solve and delve deeply into critical questions in a unit of study.

The course provides a one-month subscription to videos and materials for asynchronous learning at your own pace and schedule, plus a two-hour synchronous workshop to experience lessons firsthand and a one-hour synchronous planning session to apply these methods to a curriculum unit of your own.

Depending on the age group that you teach, there are three courses to choose from:

Native Bird Study
Kindergarten
John J. Audubon asks students to help him study and create a field guide of native birds.

City Government Study
Grade 2
A “Perfect City Show” gone awry leads students to study how the city works.

Team X/Mannahatta Study
Grades 3 or 4
Student archeologists study the  indigenous and colonial past to create a blueprint for a better future.

These “mantles” serve as examples of how the Mantle of the Expert framework can be applied to a curriculum unit. It is not necessary to teach these exact units to benefit from the course!

Imaginative Inquiry Advanced Practicum
February 20-21, 2020
East Village Community School, New York, NY

The Advanced Practicum workshop is designed for practitioners who have previously participated in an Imaginative Inquiry (II) workshop and have implemented II lessons in your classrooms. In a writing/theater workshop format, participants will share lessons that you have created, receive feedback and suggestions from your peers and facilitators, rework your lessons, and practice leading a drama lesson. Theater conventions, Mantle of the Expert, and other elements of Imaginative Inquiry will be reviewed and discussed. 

Whether you have implemented an extended Mantle of the Expert, tried a few lessons in your classroom, or have been wanting to begin but haven’t known how to take the first steps, this workshop is for you! Come ready to be inspired, reinvigorated, and supported as we dive into this two-day master class that will help you hone your skills in the powerful, engaging pedagogy of Imaginative Inquiry.

Teaching A People’s History through Imaginative Inquiry: Centering Stories of Struggle, Igniting Possibilities of Change
PEN National Conference 2019 
October 3-5, 2019
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Experience an on-your-feet adventure exploring the innovative pedagogy of Imaginative Inquiry (II). In II, students grapple with the essential questions of the curriculum through exciting imaginary contexts that invite them to use their skills, knowledge, emotions, morals, and instincts to make decisions, understand their impact on others, and learn about the world. By asking students to step into and take action in the stories of our world instead of being passive observers, II becomes a tool to practice social change.

In this two-hour workshop, participants will hear about a year-long Imaginative Inquiry curriculum centered on New York City over time, demonstrating how II invites students into the mindsets of being both a historian of the past and a changemaker for the future. Participants will experience the methods of II firsthand, and step into a moment in history in which they will examine complex problems from multiple perspectives and take collective action. Participants will be given tools for finding stories of change and resistance throughout history to serve as source material for II curriculums and lessons. They will walk away with a resource that shares activities/methods of II to use in their classrooms, and learn how II can enhance an overall approach to teaching Social Studies.

Engaging Lower School Learners in Deeper Learning via Imaginative Inquiry
2017-2019
Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School,
New York, NY

Summer Institute for Imaginative Inquiry 2020
August 3-6, 2020
via Zoom

Summer Institute for Imaginative Inquiry 2019
July 15 – 18, 2019
Catherine Cook School, Chicago, IL

Summer Institute for Imaginative Inquiry 2018
July 30-August 2, 2018
East Village Community School, New York, NY

Summer Institute for Imaginative Inquiry 2017
July 17-20, 2017
Hunter College, New York, NY