CCPS’s Journey with GID

Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) is a large, suburban school district just outside Richmond, VA. We have 63 schools and serve just over 60,000 students. As part of our district’s comprehensive plan, we are becoming a Project Based Learning (PBL) district – training several schools each summer until all are on board. As part of LIbrary Services, I wanted to find an inquiry research model to support the division’s move towards becoming a PBL District. That is how our journey began with GID. Leslie has done all day trainings with the librarians, and we spend other PD time looking at how GID supports all types of inquiry, not just for PBL.

 

This year we have had lots of change. We have a fairly new School Board and July 1, we got our new Superintendent. We also have had quite a few administrative changes happen at the building level as well. With all this change, the expression “Shift Happens” has become quite a mantra in our district. To help support the librarians here, I offered two book studies on professional books that talk about library services but were written for administrators. Our first book, Tapping into the Skills of 21st-Century School Librarians: A Concise Handbook for Administrators by Dr. Audrey Church, helped our librarians frame the types of conversations that can happen, especially with a new administrator in the building. We have new administrators who are new to CCPS but not new to administration; we have new administrators not new to CCPS but new to administration; and we have new administrators new to CCPS AND administration so we ran the full gamut. One of the big connections I wanted the participants to make was in using GID, they were tapping into 21st-century skills and inquiry learning was all about that Dr. Church describes. It was to allow them to use the format Dr. Church set up to frame their initial conversation with their new administrator.

 

Our second book study was with Dr. Rebecca J Morris’ School Libraries and Student Learning: A Guide for School Leaders. In her chapter on Inquiry Learning, I asked the participants “How does Guided Inquiry Design support what Rebecca Morris calls the ‘Collaboration Arc’, ‘Assignment Design’ for educators; ‘Thinking and Questioning’ and ‘Developing Questions’ for Students? “

 

Here are their responses:

“Guided Inquiry supports the Collaboration Arc because it assumes that there will be planning, teaching and co-teaching between and among the classroom teacher(s) and the librarian. Assignment Design supports guided inquiry because GI encourages students to construct meaningful questions to ponder and research. As Morris writes, “educators model how and why we attend to the process.” Thinking and Questioning is part of GI in that it encourages active thinking and ‘course correction.’ Developing Questions makes Guided Inquiry personal which as we know, makes learning much more meaningful.” Elizabeth K

 

“Assignment Design mirrors Guided Inquiry in that it moves away from students researching from a pre-selected topic or list of topics. Inquiry based assignments want students to choose to research a topic that interests them by encouraging them to ask good questions. Think Open, Immerse, and Explore. Similarly, with the students, the ‘Thinking and Questioning’ and ‘Developing Questions’ aspect of the Collaboration Arc are in the same mold of Explore, Identify, and Gather. I like the term ‘satisficing’ the book uses to explain how students typically accept resources that are passable. I may steal that.” Gillian A

“When first learning about Guided Inquiry, I actually imagined more of an arc shape than the linear process that was offered in the text. The inquiry process is a circular process in that an idea starts small then gets bigger and grows as the student is immersed in it and explores more deeply. The student reaches his/her highest level of discomfort (top of the arc) when trying to identify quality sources to validate the idea. As the student concludes the most difficult process, he/she begins to slide into a more comfortable place as synthesis and the creation process begins to take shape. After sharing and evaluating, the process comes full circle. It’s a circular process with collaboration, as well. You can only go up when breaking ground with veteran teachers and building new relationships with fellow teachers. We, then, must immerse ourselves in and explore each other’s content areas to ensure they flow seamlessly together. The librarian will identify & gather quality sources that support the curriculum, and possibly create student exemplars. The resources are shared with teachers and students, and the librarian and teacher reflect/evaluate how well the lesson worked and how it can be improved.

 

Guided Inquiry totally supports the Assignment Design for Educators – it’s the framework for getting away from the “bird units.” Admittedly, we are all more “comfortable” in a controlled environment, but a controlled environment does not allow deep thinking. I am currently working on Genius Hour with 8th graders. The ELA teacher and I definitely say “what were we thinking??” but the ideas that students are generating may not have come out otherwise! We still don’t know how everything is going to work out, but we are definitely celebrating the process!

 

By its nature, Guided Inquiry supports thinking and questioning for students in the immerse and explore phases. Students delve deeply into their topic, and as they are immersed, they discover a wide variety of sources from diverse perspectives. This allows them to compare, contrast, validate, and support their thinking and the questioning process.” Heather M

 

“Guided Inquiry Design supports the new PBL training that everyone in the district is doing. Using the library to support project based learning by doing research and being part of the inquiry work. Project Based Learning often promotes students working in small groups and the library helping to develop questions, research and complete their projects. Inquiry is a natural path to collaboration and working with curriculum!” Laura I

 

“Guided Inquiry Design supports collaboration as teachers and librarians work together to create meaningful learning experiences for students where they can immerse themselves richly in a topic before addressing a more finite research question. Collaboration arc (as would also be true in guided inquiry) means that the nature of the project dictates the type and frequency of collaboration. Not all projects are the same, nor is all support the same. Assignment design and guided inquiry are parallel in that students move away from selecting topics that have little meaning for them to choosing topics driven by good questioning. By learning how to create their own questions and by increasing confidence in questioning, students learn how to be self-directed in inquiry. Students are more engaged as a result supporting the development of critical thinking skills. By thinking and questioning throughout the research process, students develop the skills to replicate the research process across content areas and for future units of study.” Lindsey H

 

“Collaboration Arc seems to be similar to PBL. PBL is based on inquiry learning. Inquiry learning allows for collaboration with librarians and classroom teachers. Inquiry learning also allows students to gain knowledge by engaging them in questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving. Teachers and librarians working together is best practices for guiding students through the process of inquiry learning. If teachers and librarians collaborate instruction will be more effective for students because learning will be authenticating and engaging.” Ruby P

“Guided inquiry mirrors the collaboration arc, assignment design, thinking and questioning, and developing questions ideas presented by Rebecca Morris. The collaboration arc of working with teachers, sharing the responsibility, creating a culture of collaboration, and varying the degrees of collaboration is exactly what we do when we assemble the team for guided inquiry. We work with teachers and community experts to support the learning process for students. I like her point that having a collaborative partner encourages risk taking and innovation. The idea of assignment design is exactly what guided inquiry is. We have a goal for students to learn so we design the lesson to guide them in their learning. The process of learning is as important as the content they are learning. We use their third space to make it matter to them and we create a hook to get them thinking and generating questions. Students generate their own questions and drive their learning. Students look at how they learn and they evaluate information by forming higher level thinking questions. The immerse, explore, identify, and gather portions of guided inquiry are where learning questions are formed, reflected on, and revised.” Tami W

Lori Donovan is a National Board Certified Librarian and is the Instructional Specialist for Library Services for Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA. She holds a master’s degree in education with a specialty in school library media programs and a Graduate Professional Endorsement in Educational Leadership from Longwood University. She has published several articles in Library Media Connection and co-authored Power Researchers: Transforming Student Library Aides into Action Learners by Libraries Unlimited. She can be reached at lori_donovan@ccspnet.net or follow on Twitter @LoriDonovan14.

 

Other blog posts: 52guidedunquiry.edublogs.org/2016/07/25/; 52guidedunquiry.edublogs.org/2016/07/27/; 52guidedunquiry.edublogs.org/2016/07/29/

Inquiry Stations in Explore

This week I am sharing our district newsletters about inquiry learning.

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Here’s the link to our third newsletter.  inquiry-news-3-nov-2015-for-gid nnps-nl3-p1

In Newport News, we combine Guided Inquiry’s “Open, Immerse, Explore” stages into one stage, “Explore.” This issue focuses on the Explore stage of the Inquiry Process, and shows how teachers have set up Inquiry Stations in their classrooms, supported by their librarian and reading specialist.

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I hope you have enjoyed seeing some our work in NNPS.

Mary Keeling

Supervisor, Library Media Services

Newport News Public Schools

Lilead Fellow, 2015 – 2016

Week Long Inquiry Leads to Community Service

This week, I am sharing our district newsletters about inquiry learning as part of my project to amplify our message.

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Click this link to read NNPS Inquiry News #2 inquiry-news-2-oct-2015-ed-for-gid

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In this school, the principal empowered the librarian and reading specialists to work with a single class in each grade level for a week-long inquiry immersion experience. In this project, students selected a community service project for their school and developed a message to promote this project to their school.

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On Thursday, I’ll share our last newsletter for this week.

Mary Keeling

Supervisor, Library Media Services

Newport News Public Schools

Lilead Fellow, 2015 – 2016

Amplifying the Message of GID through One District

I am Mary Keeling, Supervisor of Library Media Services in Newport News, Virginia.

My district’s librarians have been working with an inquiry process model since 2006. Universal adoption, our goal from the start, has been elusive. As a 2015-2016 Lilead Fellow, my project goal was to transform learning in my school district using teacher-librarian teams to foster inquiry and support teachers as they adopted an inquiry stance. We understood that implementation would be different in every building, and that sharing experiences would empower others to try. It is not enough to do good work; we have to share our stories so people can visualize themselves doing the same thing. Part of the change process involved amplifying the message!

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The communications plan for this project included several elements: meeting one-on-one with principals to explain inquiry, securing news coverage for inquiry projects through our districts’ television production department, and sharing inquiry stories through newsletters. A design goal for the newsletters was to make the information highly accessible with colorful pictures, examples of student work, short paragraphs, and bulleted lists of “how-to” information. The newsletters were distributed monthly to principals, executive directors, and curriculum supervisors.

In the next posts, I’d like to share some of these newsletters to show what we’ve done to amplify our message.

Inquiry News 1

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In this issue we introduced two examples of different experiments with Inquiry that had been conducted between March and May of the previous school year. Reading specialists and Instructional Technology Coaches were invited to join librarians. However, in some schools, librarians OR reading specialists worked alone. Principal support was significant in both of these examples.

To read the full newsletter, click on the link below! Enjoy!

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Tomorrow, I’ll post another example!

Mary Keeling

Supervisor, Library Media Services

Newport News Public Schools

Lilead Fellow, 2015 – 2016

GID @ the District Level Part 3

AASL states that school library programs should employ an inquiry-based approach to “inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge” (2007). Using GID in my district as our inquiry approach is a way to tap into student’s natural curiosity, and help students develop a foundation using an inquiry process to facilitate all their academic work. GID breaks down inquiry into manageable steps, and gives students an opportunity to Immerse and Explore to better understand a research or essential question. GID is divided to provide specific scaffolds in learning the content and how they learn. GID helps students find gaps in their research and develop plans for how they can close those gaps to produce an effective product they would want to share.

I like how Leslie and I worked with the librarians in developing their sense of understanding in how to use GID. Leslie made sure we modeled the scaffolding ideas in Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School so that they can see how to use them in their own lessons. Another key element was that you didn’t always have to be a part of all the phases in GID. Most likely they would be involved in the Immerse, Explore, Identify, and Gather phases, and that was okay. We know it is ideal for us to be involved in all phases, but time is a precious commodity in schools, and if we scaffold well in the phases we are involved in, then we built the metacognition of students to be able to move through the other phases well. Overall, the librarians in my district see the value of this process and are making changes to input these phases into their lessons to help their students understand and apply what they have learned to new situations.

Lori Donovan, Instructional Specialist, Library Services, Chesterfield County Public Schools

Using GID at District Level Part 2

One way I have been able to use GID as the Instructional Specialist for Library Services is in training new librarians in my district. In the four years since coming into this position, we have hired over 50 new librarians. All new teachers/librarians (and teachers/librarians new to the district) have an opportunity in my district to get professional development and training before teacher work week. 

I get the new librarians for a whole day on curriculum. Part of that day is to go over the instructional models and expectations of library services in CCPS. GID is part of that day. To model blended learning, I use School Library Connection’s edWeb.net community to have new librarians view two archived webinars Leslie has given in the  past: Getting Started with Guided Inquiry and Research with Rigor: Guided Inquiry Design Reaching to the Higher Expectations of the Core . They develop a “Need to Know” list of questions they have about GID that will be answered during the actual PD day.

I love Simon Sinek’s TEDx talk “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action” (https://youtu.be/u4ZoJKF_VuA) and I make sure to include the what, the how, and the why when doing training on GID (well, with all my PDs), but specifically for this training because Leslie is not there for at these trainings. After going over their “Need to Know” list, I give them some practice using a sample library lesson from AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action book and they collaborate on how  these lessons can become GID lessons using a template that Leslie designed for CCPS. Because we are using the Buck Institute for Education’s model of Project Based Learning (PBL), I incorporate PBL and Understanding by Design (UbD) to show that school library lessons need the same pedagogical look as lessons they may have done in the classroom when they were teaching.  This provides data to administrators of the instructional role librarians have in student academic achievement. As they collaborate together, they are working in the same formats as students would in their libraries, and I model the scaffolding techniques described in the GID books.

Based on feedback, the librarians have said this approach has better helped them understand the process both in theory and practice, and they are comfortable to start thinking and using GID in their library planning and instruction. I am looking forward to working on GID with my new crop of librarians when they come this August. 

Lori Donovan, Instructional Specialist, Library Services, Chesterfield County Public Schools

GID @ the District Level

In 2012, I became the Instructional Specialist for Library Services for Chesterfield County Public Schools, a school district just outside Richmond, VA. Since no one had been in this position for three years, my Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the time said to create a program that I felt would best benefits librarians and the teachers and students they served. Using the goals our district’s comprehensive plan as a guide, I looked for ways librarians/library services could enhance student learning through the use of 21st-century learning & technology skills and knowledge in all 63 of our schools.

Our district plan (http://mychesterfieldschools.com/about/design-for-excellence-2020/) puts inquiry at its forefront. Empowering Learners bases all library instruction on inquiry, so I began reviewing inquiry-based research models. We were loosely using Big6 as a model, but as I researched other inquiry-based models, I came across Guided Inquiry Design (GID) through a webinar on the edWeb.net community Library Media Connection )now School Library Connection) community. I bought the book and saw it parallels the same format and structure in Buck Institute for Education’s PBL process (bie.org), and I knew this would be the best model to use comprehensively in the district.

Mary Keeling, Supervisor for Libraries in Newport News, VA had been working with Leslie Maniotes providing PD for her district and she helped with an introduction to Leslie.  After devising a plan with Leslie, we began training the librarians in GID the fall of 2013. The 3 year plan began with a book study of both Guided Inquiry and Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework in Your School, practiced the steps in small lessons and culminated in a full-blown Guided Inquiry Unit. Leslie had come for three, all day PD focusing on theory, practice, assessment, & engagement with GID. As more librarians became trained, the more Guided Inquiry made sense to them, their collaborative teachers, and most importantly, the students.

My district is a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) division, & has deployed a 1:1 Chromebook initiative with all its secondary students. We use these apps to create and share GID plans. We also use LibGuides as our instructional platform to model GID. The district page houses all our common resources/access points, & school pages drive instruction by developing online pathfinders/resource pages for students, teachers, & parents.

We are moving into our fourth year with GID, and are still refining resources and trainings around the resources provided both in print and electronic format to keep current on how we can incorporate GID into more and more collaborative lessons. I am hoping to continue to create a repository of our GID projects so that we have plenty of ideas to share and use in our district to create life-long learners of our students.

Lori Donovan, Instructional Specialist, Library Services, Chesterfield County Public Schools

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What’s Next?

So what is happening now and for the coming school year…

Impact and Next Steps

In May 2016, I presented an overview of the spring GID Institutes and unit implementation along with the survey results (I shared some of those yesterday) to our principals and central office staff. At this presentation, Norman Public Schools offered to host a 2016 GID Summer Institute in June for teacher teams. We asked principals to sign their teams up using a Google form. The response was overwhelming, more than 90 teachers.  So we have completed one institute this summer and have another one at the end of July. I can’t wait to see the units these teachers create.

At the June GID Institute, we had several unique teams including a high school Algebra team, a high school special education team, a secondary family & consumer science team, various other teams from all levels.  I am looking froward to visiting them in the fall as they implement their units.

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You saw some of the statistics we collected yesterday.  I would like to share a few more stats and comments so you understand why we think GID is important enough to invest so much time and energy in:

  • 100% of participating teachers agreed that the Guided Inquiry process was beneficial to student learning
  • 81% of teachers agreed that their collaboration with the teacher librarian increased during a Guided Inquiry unit, while 77.3% agreed that their co-teaching with the teacher librarian increased. (We all know two heads are better than one!!!)
  • Percentage of teachers who agreed that the Guided Inquiry process was beneficial for these subgroups of learners:
    • ELL learners 90.5%
    • Special Needs learners 90.3%
    • Gifted learners 98.4%
    • Regular education learners 100%

So as you see the stats are great, but what about the comments from the survey?  Let’s listen to the voices  of a few of our educators:

  • When describing evidences of how learners met the standards and expectations, one teacher said: The genuine discussions after and during the units involved making real world connections. Many of those connections were very personal to the students themselves. This led to more questions that the students wanted to investigate long after the unit was complete.
  • One teacher shared: I felt as though all of my subgroups were able to benefit from the process. For gifted students, there was no limit to what they could do. For struggling students, a natural scaffold fell into place.  I believe guided inquiry is so beneficial for all students because of the individualized nature, and the fact that the impetus is on the student for decision making.
  • As we look at the data about students creating their own questions, teacher comments are promising for the future: Students found it difficult to formulate their question, but were able to express their ideas clearly. It will be exciting to see their growth in this area as they participate in more GID units.
  • One secondary principal made this comment: Guided Inquiry has given our teachers a way to build cross-curricular and more importantly, relevant lessons for our students. Pushing students deeper and empowering them to drive their learning through research is timely and is preparing them for the world we are arming them to change for the better.

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As we look at this data and, most importantly, at our students and the products of their learning, we are excited about the future of GID and its impact on teaching and learning.  We will be offering two more GID Institutes this fall.  After these institutes, approximately 25% of our staff will be trained in the process. District leaders and those teachers, gifted resource coordinators, and librarians who have experienced GID are invested in and committed to this process. As we make GID a consistent part of our learning landscape, I look forward to seeing the transformation in teaching and student learning. Keep learning!

Kathryn Lewis

 

Visiting Schools Engaged in GID

What Fun…

Last spring I had so much fun visiting the schools as the librarians, teachers and gifted resource teachers (GRCs) implemented the GID units they created in the Spring GID Training Institutes.

I saw Kindergartners delightfully engaging in Explore during a social studies unit on recycling.  The teachers modeled the activity for the students by first showing them as a group a picture book about recycling pointing out items that could be recycled.  As they flipped the pages, the teachers introduced the concept of browsing to the young learners.  Next the students worked in pairs to travel from table to table browsing books on recycling and completing their inquiry logs. The teachers’ careful planning, modeling, and practice of the the procedures helped learners understand the concepts.

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I watched middle schoolers excitedly engaging in the Immerse phase during a 6th grade Language Arts unit on Civil Rights.  The teachers skillfully guided students as they compared the musical lyrics and poetry of the Civil Rights era to the those popular today. After the comparison, learners collaboratively produced questions that were elicited by the poetry and music.

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I’ve seen high school learners immersed in the era of To Kill a Mockingbird as they explored cultural and historical events of the 1930s, 5th graders using digital and print resources to explore and generate questions about jazz musicians, 4th grade learners taking the yearly states research project to a whole new level, 10th grade leaners investigating social justice issues by exploring articles, infographics, videos, and public service announcements while working toward a research paper proposing a solution for the issue the learner is most passionate about, 3rd grade learners sharing their learning about Oklahoma history through Chatterpix and Google Slides, and so much more.  Needless to say, my district GID tour has been so rewarding.  Seeing learners engaged in deep learning that matters to them is the best!

The survey we did those teachers and librarians who participated in the units confirmed my impressions of the impact of the GID process. Here are just a few of our stats:

  • 94% of survey participants saw an increase in student engagement in GID units as compared to other research units
  • 86% saw an increase in student outcomes in GID units as compared to other research units
  • 78% of teachers agreed that the students involved in the Guided Inquiry unit met their highest expectations for the learning, while 51.8% agreed that the students exceeded their highest expectation
  • 97% reported that the guided inquiry unit met the standards for the unit of study
  • 6% of our teachers reported that compared to other research units, the questions developed by students as a result of Guided Inquiry were more open-ended and that 61.8% were at a deeper level of learning

So what is happening now and for 2016-2017, check out my post tomorrow…

GID-Making a Difference in Teaching & Learning

My name is Kathryn Roots Lewis. I have the incredible good fortune of working in Norman Public Schools (NPS) in Norman, Oklahoma as the Director of Media Services and Instructional Technology.  I work with a forward-thinking and strongly committed staff who believe in keeping student needs at the forefront of all decision making around educational initiatives.  NPS serves approximately 16,000 learners grades PreK-12.  We have 1,100 certified educators, including 26 teacher librarians. The District consists of a diverse population of learners in 2 high schools, 4 middle schools, 17 elementary schools, and an alternative school. Fifteen of our schools are identified as Title I.

A few years ago the Norman community overwhelmingly passed a multi-million-dollar bond issue that included a large technology initiative focused on more devices for students. As the district looked at device implementation, we explored at how teaching and learning would and should change in a device and information rich environment.

As a district, we recognized that all students require unique skills to participate in our changing global society.  We agreed that we want to provide students with opportunities that nurture innovation, collaboration, exploration, and deep learning.  We wanted students to have learning opportunities anytime, anywhere. We knew this vision was dependent on educators who model and implement progressive, research-based instructional pedagogies.  So we began a journey to investigate what pedagogies worked best for our district. One such pedagogy, Guided Inquiry Design, affords students the tools to ask essential questions, make decisions, solve problems, create new knowledge, share information, and evaluate their learning and knowledge.

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After reading Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School,  I sent the book to our Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services.  I will never forget her call the next day, “I loved this, it’s how I wrote my dissertation.”  To which I replied, “And probably how you should buy a car.”  We proceeded with a book study with the librarians and one with the district’s curriculum coordinators. Last summer (2015) we contracted with Dr. Leslie Maniotes, one of the authors of Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School, to do an overview with all district administrators. Dr. Maniotes returned to NPS last fall to conduct three 3-day institutes with teacher librarians, gifted resource coordinators, site instructional coaches and some teachers from every school in the district.  These institutes were so empowering and meaningful for teachers.  The units created collaboratively by the teams were each unique and innovative.

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We asked the teams who attended to implement the unit they developed in the training at their school before the end of the school year. We provided a Google website that included a lesson depository, pictures, resources, and a shared calendar.

Now it really gets fun – our 24 schools produced over 40 units last spring!  The shared calendar enabled district staff to visit different phases of the units.  Several central office staff members took hundreds of pictures, provided feedback and accolades to the incredible professionals who created and implemented the units with students grades PreK-12.  We also disseminated a survey to all teacher participants.

More about what I saw and learned later this week…

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