Wrapping it all up

Previously, I shared the beginning stages of our GID project, Challenge and Change.  At this point, students are now in the process of gathering information about their topic, hence the GATHER title for this stage.  This is the part where I as the librarian am the most valuable resource to our students.  As a part of this process, I am also able to meet the demands of my own curriculum though the implementation of mini-lessons.  Each mini-lesson addresses things like database use, keyword searching, Google searching, citing sources and even basic note taking.

After gathering, students begin the steps to determine how they want to share out their information in the CREATE step.  We provide the premise to students that they will be presenting an award to the person they selected for their research.  They are to come up with the name of the award and their research will support the reasoning behind it.

The most practical thing we did in planning for this was to make a very specific requirement.  Their award presentation had to have a VISUAL and a VERBAL component, and they could not be one and the same.  This prevented the painful situation where we sat and watched 100 PowerPoint presentations in a day.  In fact, this year I have banned the PPT completely!  The only option for PPT of any kind is that students could use a single slide to create a digital poster board, or award.  Otherwise, students could create or present however they want.  They can create a poster and give a speech, have a single award PPT slide and read journal or diary entries, they could write a song and make a CD cover for an album, create a webpage and read a poem…the possibilities are endless.  These final projects are then SHARED in our Challenge and Change awards ceremony.  Finally, we have students reflect on the process as a whole, in the EVALUATION step.  Here students respond to a digital survey through Google Forms which asks them to reflect on the process and provide feedback.  We are not that far in our current project, but here are some sample responses from last year. They have not been edited 🙂

What was the BEST part of the project for you?

“I enjoyed researching Bethany Hamilton because she is such a huge inspiration.”

 “My Favorite Part was wrinting the Speach. I like to write. So when I was able to Express my opinion on Malala Yousafzai It was really fun to write.”

 “I liked how we had the freedom to pick what we wanted to do for our project. We could make like actual awards and word clouds to express our freedom with this project.”

 “Putting together the project!!! I liked it because you could put it together and then you could admire it. I hope we can do it again VERY soon!!!”

 What was the MOST challenging part of the project for you?

“When we had chose our 6-7 questions then answer them. Cause if we did not have a response to that question we would have to think of another question.”

 “The most Challenging part was when I had to find the research to match my questions so I would have to read a lot of texts to be able to get the information I need .”

 “The most challenging part was probably writing the speech. I learned so much information that i had to pick and choose what i wanted so i didn’t have 4 pages of stuff!”

 “Choosing my person so many people have inspiring storys and I wanted to explore all of them but sadly i could only could choose one”

As you see in the graphic below of the process, it may seem odd that the steps are not in an evenly spaced track from bottom to top, or even a nice neat row, but it is quite intentional (based on the research of Carol Kuhlthau) and accurate when you look at how students respond to the process as a whole.  You can think of the placement of each block as the excitement level of your class as you being the process.  Personally, my students start off apprehensive, get more excited as we begin the immerse stage and then get overwhelmed a bit when they start to explore.  However, once they narrow their topic their motivation and excitement increases and grows throughout the completion of the assignment.

As the subtitle of this site specifies, this truly is a way of instructing that will change how you teach.  I am so happy to have been able to participate in blogging this week and to have been exposed to the GID process with instruction and guidance from Carol Kuhlthau, Leslie Maniotes and Ann Caspari.  Each of the research projects which I now develop with teachers, all mirror the process above.  I know that changing how teachers teach a project can be difficult to influence, however my strategy has been to slowly incorporate elements, piece by piece each year.  As teachers see the motivation and excitement of their students grow, as well as the quality of their final product improve, they are more willing to let me slide in a new step.  It is not just the steps which are so valuable, it is also the small strategies and tools which are present in the process which also work to empower students and provide them with the opportunity to reflect on their own thinking and learning, which is truly a life skill.

Good luck to each of you as you being your own journey of discovery with Guided Inquiry Design!

Cheers,

Sarah

 

3 thoughts on “Wrapping it all up

  1. Thanks for your posts this week, Sarah! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hearing your journey. It’s funny, but I’ve never really thought about the strange arrangement of the 8 phases in the graphic before. Your explanation makes total sense, although I would argue each phase is suspended on a bungie chord and there placement is not always in exactly the same place. I’ve been lucky enough to strike gold on an Open phase and the energy and enthusiasm is very high with the anticipation of what is to come, for example.

    I also love your comment about slipping phases into teachers’ existing units. I know that I am eager to transform entire units but recognize that many teachers are very attached to what they have done in the past and may have an “if it ain’t broke…” mentality about it. Even one baby step can breath a lot of new life into a tried and true research unit.

    Thanks again!

  2. What an inspiration to others to know that you can get to Guided Inquiry Design bit by bit when you need to by “slowly incorporate elements, piece by piece each year.”

    And that seeing is believing – “As teachers see the motivation and excitement of their students grow, as well as the quality of their final product improve, they are more willing to let me slide in a new step.” So many librarians ask me all the time how do I begin. And I am glad to hear that you agree with em on the fact that trying it is the proof people need. That’s why the institute is so powerful too because people leave, confident to give their prototype unit a solid go of it. And that action helps spur another action and another.

    Seeing that you get that “It is not just the steps which are so valuable, it is also the small strategies and tools which are present in the process which also work to empower students and provide them with the opportunity to reflect on their own thinking and learning, which is truly a life skill.” makes me ever so happy. We have worked so hard to get all these moving parts into the greater whole. Lots of people don’t see that. But you know there are so many components to this, strategies that are effective teaching strategies and tricks that engage the students and keep motivation and collaboration high. This is just awesome to hear this from you. Thanks for taking the time to share your work with us!

  3. I appreciate everything you shared with us this week! I am thrilled to hear Sarah describe how she gradually adds pieces to classroom research projects to which she has collaborated. I keep trying to make that overnight change with my impatience to improve student enthusiasm in guiding their own learning. It is hard to say, one day at a time, one step at a time. But, any step ahead is better than stagnation and it is good to hear how someone is successfully forging ahead one step at a time.

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