Libraries are Safe Inclusive Spaces for Learning

The last post of this week is on Library as a safe space in schools.

As you know, this week I’m taking a look into the connection between GID and Colorado Department of Education’s rubric for highly effective librarians.

STANDARD 4 : Environment

A.  Safe and Inclusive Environment – safe, respectful & inclusive learning environment for all students 

Guided Inquiry Design helps librarians to foster a caring relationship with students in the learning context. Through the third space Librarians and teachers look for places where students are connecting their experiences outside school to the content of the course.

The structure of the Inquiry Tools gives students regular practice with working on engaging in respectful and open dialogue about ideas and content with other students and the librarian and teacher. Through regular practice habit take hold and students learn what respect looks and feels like in the GID context, at school and in the library.

B. Welcoming Safe Space– open, warm welcoming, and flexibly designed to meet a wide variety of needs

The library space is created to teach at point of need. GID workshops and institutes help foster an awareness of the importance of student interest in learning.  We also address using the inquiry Tools as formative assessments so that librarians and collaborating teachers have the data they need to make on the spot decisions about student learning, enabling them to teach effectively at the point of need. For more see these posts on our blog from 2016

Making it personal

I’m not a teacher, I’m an Awakener!

C. Current and Responsive Space – diverse, equitable, current 

because GID embeds technology into the course and content- the learning through the model provides that platform for current tech use to engage, act, and create.  Collaboration is at the core of the planning, design and instruction of GID and requires student collaboration in a positive learning environment.

Guided Inquiry is a huge support to librarian and teacher effectiveness TOGETHER!

Even though I made explicit connections to the Colorado standards, I hope that this connects to your own district and school’s view of effective libraries and teaching and that this weeks posts have been a useful bridge to those documents that live in your professional life.

Comments welcome- as always!

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

Co-creator of GID

GID helps librarians take on a LEADERSHIP role

This week I’m taking a look into the connection between GID and Colorado Department of Education’s rubric for highly effective librarians.  

This post moves from yesterday’s post about instruction and into today’s discussion of librarians as school and teacher leaders.

STANDARD 3 LEADERSHIP

A. School Leader – librarian serves on school committees that support instructional school goals & facilitates PD/teachers see librarian as instructional leader/students see library as cutting edge classroom and librarian as an academic leader in the school

Through collaborations with teachers using the GID framework, the librarian becomes seen as an instructional leader, knowing the resources and supporting teachers to embed information literacy into the content of meaningful units of study.  Through working with the librarian students understand the role of information and the critical analysis necessary to understand the content. Guided Inquiry is the platform that helps librarians and teachers to co-teach, collaborate and understand and use each others expertise in unique and meaningful ways across the school.

B. Professional Leader –participate and coordinate professional learning

As far as Professional Development.  Many librarians have mentioned introducing their staff to GID to give them some knowledge of the process and see the potential in the model for content instruction and embedded information literacy learning critical for all of our students.

There are many online and other professional learning opportunities within that can get people started on Guided Inquiry Design framework, of which librarians can take the lead. To name a few

  1. Reading the books in the GID series,
  2. Viewing Webinars,
  3. Using a twitter PLN and
  4. Reading or contributing to our 52 week blog challenge are a few ways librarians can seek out their own learning on GID and share it with teachers.

Organizations can also partner with BLV consulting to provide librarians in CO and around the country with the high quality PD that supports this practice.  The GID institute and train the trainer model supports districts to build capacity for GID in use and to grow this practice in use.  The GID PD  jump starts more learning teams, enabling them to accomplish this high level of practice. Through the institute teams learn together how to use the Guided Inquiry Design Model and Framework.  By collaborating at this level using the GID process teams find how to work together, helping to stop the cycle of working in silos.  It’s professional development for all that accomplishes all the goals of effective teaching of – content, literacy, information literacy, learning how to learn and social learning. (5 kinds of learning Figure 1.3 in GID page 9, Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari, 2012)

Comments welcome- as always!

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

Co-creator of GID

 

 

 

Librarians as Instructional Specialists- Effective Practice Post 2

In the CO Teacher Effectiveness Framework STANDARD 2 addresses instruction, including the instructional planning an implementation of lessons.  In this post, I’ll address how GID supports librarians and teachers to achieve Exemplary status in instruction through collaborations and the through the use of the instructional design of Guided Inquiry.

A. Collaboration – librarian collaborates with most staff co teaching is an expectation/collaborates with staff, and community/students collaborate and provide evidence of new thinking

Guided Inquiry Design(R) professional development supports teachers and librarians together, to integrate content and information literacy along with digital literacy to differentiate for student needs in an interdisciplinary context.

In the delivery of lessons, Guided Inquiry is often co-taught between teachers and librarians when they are trained together in the GID institute. At the institute they design the unit together from beginning to end and can co-teach, as well as share the teaching task as needed bouncing from one to the other, through the phases.

GID also includes community resources that show teams how to use human capital from within the school and the local community as a resource for varied information and expertise.

Collaboration is one of the researched 6 C’s that students named as a support to inquiry learning. Guided Inquiry Design embeds collaboration in the large Inquiry Community as well as in small groups in Inquiry Circles.

B. Instructional Planning- backward plans to integrate digital literacy with content/interdisciplinary/students apply digital skills to demonstrate content

As for instructional planning, Guided Inquiry Design is grounded in effective teaching best practice and supports teams of teachers and librarians to shift their instruction to a facilitation of learning from teaching as telling. It is backward designed from standards and embeds information literacy and technology into content learning. (Interdisciplinary with the application of digital skills to demonstrate content)

C. Delivery – implements a variety of delivery methods/instruction is differentiated & includes reflection/ students are actively involved in using inquiry methods.

Students in the Guided Inquiry learning space (classroom or library) are engaged in inquiry learning lessons and inquiry learning process. Within each session plan the GID process encourages the use of objects, primary sources, movement, art, multimedia resources and conversation.

The GID workshop supports librarians to differentiate instruction, include reflection in every session. Our session plan template includes reflection and the inquiry tools support teachers and librarians to ensure reflection every step of the way on process of learning and content. Students are continuously engaged in their learning. Through the model, third space (Maniotes, 2005) is achieved where students are actively seeking their own interest in the content making learning meaningful and authentic.

D. Evidence of Student Growth – formative an summative assessments/shared with students and student input in creation of assessment

Teachers determine assessments with librarians in the backward planning of units through the design phase. GID embeds formative assessments throughout the learning as evidenced in the Inquiry Tools. Inquiry Tools are used through the process as evidence of student learning of content and information literacy. Data can easily be collected on student impact when using these tools.

Through the GID institute, many learning teams plan for students to engage in the creation of the assessment of the final product.

E. Reading Development –develop critical, creative and independent thinking/foster curiosity of learning/student share interests and joy of reading

Through Guided Inquiry, particularly during the Gather phase, students read with a clear purpose to critically analyze content. In the Explore phase students skim and scan texts to determine their own interest in the content of the unit of study.

All through the process students are encouraged, by multiple means, to think critically, develop creative and independent thinking as they question and wonder.

Reading/authentic literacy are practiced and applied through the GID unit as students read content area information. When relevant, literature is designed to be woven into inquiry learning to enhance understanding of a concept or add a human dimension to the course of study.  (Great example here from Kathy Stoker https://52guidedinquiry.edublogs.org/2016/04/01/differentiation-student-choice-and-reflection-oh-my/)

The focus on the third space and how to facilitate students questioning and determining their own interest in the content in the first three phases is a crucial component of the GID process.

F. Digital Literacy Modeling- librarian works with teachers to embed information literacy into content/students are empowered to act using digital skills

Within Guided Inquiry Design, librarians have the opportunity to engage in the mentoring and coaching within the context of collaborative planning and unit design with teachers. By doing the work together they can support teachers in authentic ways, share resources and act as leaders in the school. In these meetings and GID unit implementation, librarians can meaningfully embed 21st century skills, digital literacy into the content.

Using GID the students have access to embedded interdisciplinary lessons that are authentic and help them to make connections between school and the world.

Good Stuff.

Leslie Maniotes PhD

co-creator of guidedinquirydesign.com

 

3 Key Concepts in Effective Teaching – Differentiation, Self Direction, and Innovation

When I think about all the rubrics for effective teaching, whether is the Danielson Rubric or a state or district created document- there are a few key concepts that we all are striving for in future ready classrooms.

Here I’m going to show how GID is a framework that helps educators to achieve each of these concepts.

  1. DIFFERENTIATION

One of our biggest challenges in classrooms is to make sure that all of our students are engaging in increasingly challenging material for their abilities. Differentiation is the work we do to accommodate all our learners to ensure that they have access to a high level of instruction. That they are each successful with their work so that they are challenged and continually progress.

The Inquiry Tools of Guided Inquiry Design are a part of the framework that supports educators to differentiate learning through inquiry. The Inquiry Tools are based on the strategies that students named, in Kuhlthau’s research, as things that helped them persevere through the inquiry process (Kuhlthau’s 6 C’s – see below).

*Chart of 6 C’s in (Guided Inquiry Design, 2012, p 37)  and (Inquiry Tools in Guided Inquiry Design p. 40)

The Six C’s (Kuhlthau, 2004)

Collaborate Work jointly with others.
Converse Talk about ideas for clarity and further questions.
Compose Write all the way along, not just at the end; keep journals.
Choose Select what is interesting and pertinent.
Chart Visualize ideas using pictures, timelines, and graphic organizers.
Continue Develop understanding over a period of time.

In GID we translated the 6 C’s as Inquiry Tools that would be embedded throughout each phase of the process. It’s hard to keep all those strategies in our heads all the time while teaching and planning lessons.  Guided Inquiry Design makes it easier. Teachers use the Inquiry Tools to differentiate and support learners at all levels to deeply engage in their learning. Routine use of the Inquiry Tools facilitates active learning through the inquiry process.

Guided Inquiry Design: Inquiry Tools (Figure 3.2 in Guided Inquiry Design p.40)
Inquiry communities

for collaborating

An inquiry community is a collaborative environment where students learn with each other in a large group.
Inquiry circles

for conversing

Inquiry circles are small groups organized for conversations about interesting ideas, meaningful questions, and emerging insights.
Inquiry journals

for composing

Inquiry journals provide a way for individuals to compose and reflect throughout the inquiry process.
Inquiry logs

for choosing

Inquiry logs provide a way of keeping track of the quality sources that are chosen as important for addressing an inquiry question.
Inquiry charts

for charting

Inquiry charts provide a way to visualize, organize, and synthesize ideas in the inquiry process.
Inquiry tools

for continuing

All of the inquiry tools are for continuing and sustaining the inquiry process to completion.

See this blog post on IEP’s and student learning with GID (Post from our blog in 2016)

  1. SELF DIRECTED LEARNERS

We all want engaged students.  Self direction and engagement go hand in hand.

For learners to become self directed, they must first understand themselves as a learner. Then they can come to know strategies that support their own learning. Within the phases and sessions of Guided Inquiry Design students have the advantage of consistent self reflection.  Through regular and routine reflection, students have time to think about, not only, what they are learning, but how they are learning it.

In these reflections, students reflect on their use of the Inquiry Tools.  The tools keep them active in the process as they write, talk with others, collaborate, chart and choose.  At the end of each session each day, students reflect on how these and other tasks supported their thinking and learning.

Teachers and librarians alike benefit from professional development on how to embed these tools into inquiry based learning.  The GID institute supports the efficient use of these tools so that the learning team of teachers and librarian can gather important student data on learning and support them to know how they can direct their own learning as a result. Knowing our learners is a first step to helping them know themselves and the Inquiry Tools are a structure that helps you to do just that.

  1. INNOVATION

Creating is the product of learning-  creation of new thinking, new connections, and new understandings.  The process of Guided Inquiry Design leads students to a meaningful Create phase.  In the CREATE phase students take time to consider what they have learned and what they can create in order to share that learning and information with others.

Rather than creation for creation sake, students follow the path of research to ask meaningful questions, seek relevant information and create to communicate their ideas and understandings with the world, to make a difference, tell a story, or invent something new.  Invention is part of the GID process, and GID practitioners recognize the importance of the guidance we can provide to have our students reach higher places with their research and innovation.

 

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

Co-creator of guidedinquirydesign.com

 

 

We all want to be Highly Effective!

hello everybody!

While I take some time to set up the schedule of the blog for 2017, I thought I would post some of what I have been thinking about and working on as of late.

All across the U.S. we have had a major movement in teacher effectiveness.  I became a part that movement when I joined the group of educators in Denver Public Schools called the Teacher Effectiveness Coaches.  Through my years with that group- we studied effectiveness in teaching.  We learned and collaborated together on how to foster increasing effectiveness through coaching at the school level.  It was very challenging work, and I learned so much through those years.  Since my awareness has been heightened to what it takes, emotionally, organizationally, on stage and off stage to be an effective teacher,  much of what I learned through those years has been applied and embedded into Guided Inquiry Design. I was working on the creation of GID while in those positions. Whether it is in the session planning, or in the workshops I do, when I train teams on how to design and implement inquiry based learning, effective teaching practices is core to what we do.

So, when the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) put out a Highly Effective School Library Program rubric, (which you can view here) I was really excited.  I believe in standards.  I think it’s important that people  know what to look for, and what is expected of them and that those expectations are clear.  When people have clear expectations, they can reach to higher heights as long as the bar is set high. From an administrative perspective, rubrics and standards of the field help us to hold people accountable to a high standard.  But what’s most important is that we are each pushing for that in our own work. And that’s why you’re here reading this right now, because you want to learn and grow as a professional- GO YOU!!

Through  my professional development workshops around the country and abroad and in conversations with excellent educators about GID, I have come to recognize that GID is a complex approach to teaching that requires a high level of our craft.

When I got my hands on the CDE rubric, I couldn’t wait to make connections to GID. I wanted to see if it would align and how GID might be used as a means to support CO educators to reach the highest level of their craft for the benefit of our students!

In the next couple of posts I am going to share my explanation of GID as a means to a highly effective library program.  I’m hoping this will begin a larger conversation around effective library programs and GID’s role in that for future ready libraries and schools!

So #1 on the Rubric is  Planning

By planning the authors meant having professional goals- (This document intentionally reflects the same wording as the teacher effectiveness framework in CO.  The library rubric was meant to support administrators to evaluate librarians in their role as teachers, valuing the difference in the work that they do, as well as making clear connections to how librarians are/can be most effective teachers.)

STANDARD 1

Program Standard 1: Planning

Planning for the future is an essential role for a successful teacher librarian and library program. Annual review of school focus goals, library data and collaborative input from the school community is part of developing a plan of action for continuous quality improvement

Component A: Planning

The teacher librarian, along with the principal, creates and uses school-aligned goals as a guide for developing a library program and instruction that positively impacts student achievement and helps students thrive in today’s society.
The teacher librarian uses data and reflection to measure implementation of goals.

Planning

Though you might not think that GID is related to teacher goal setting, it very well can (and maybe should) be. In one amazing school, the principal (knowing the research of the ISP) saw the connection between what it might take for teachers to identify goals  to work on for the year and the GID process. She saw that teachers would probably set better goals for themselves if they had time to Open, Immerse and Explore before they identified their yearlong goals. Because she knew about GID, she took the opportunity in her yearlong professional development to use the GID process with her teachers. Through the PD, the staff learned about the language and phases of GID from a personal perspective as they worked to clarify their own professional goals for the year. As a result, this school is a highly functioning GID school.

I bet that makes you think!

Do you have to arrive at professional goals in your school? How are you guided to come up with meaningful goals that can move the needle for your school?  How do you feel about the data you collect? Are you going through the motions? Or is it a worthwhile process to see all you’ve accomplished through the year?  how have you managed to make this a meaningful process for yourself?…. Somethings to think about.  We should return to this post in August? Or maybe even July… right?

Love to hear your thoughts-  More tomorrow on the other aspects of teacher effectiveness and GID…

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

co-creator of GID

For more on what we do and the PD we offer see our website guidedinquirydesign.com

Testimonials

 

 

Stories are the fabric of our lives.

Stories are the fabric of our lives, whether we are reading a story, watching a story, dancing a story, painting a story…stories weave our lives together in ways that bring meaning and connection to our lives. Stories show us how much we share common experiences even with backgrounds that come from very diverse cultures.

There is something magical about stories that connect us to one another. In the English Language Learning (ELL) classroom students come together from diverse backgrounds and cultures, each with unique stories and unique languages. As beginning or emerging speakers ELL students have little or no understanding of English, never mind having an understanding of the language of the peers in their classroom. An ELL classroom can easily consist of ten different languages. What do they have in common? Story! As teacher, librarian and storyteller, we wondered how we might use that common factor of story to build speaking, listening, writing and information literacy skills. Our journey begins with a story….

I reach my hand into a bag, in the bag I find a smooth rock and my story begins….

It was a cold dark night. The air was heavy, fog rolled in off the mountains into our small fruit farming and coal mining valley. Rooftops were swallowed and the lights seeping through windows made the houses look like giant jack-o-lanterns dancing in the swamps of a misty bog. In my house we were headed to bed. My brother went to his bedroom and snuggled in under his heavy quilt. My mom shooed my sisters and me to bed. Our bedrooms were in the basement. Dad wouldn’t be home for another 8 hours. He was doing the graveyard shift at the coalmine where he worked to supplement his struggling fruit farm. I could say the night wasn’t all that different than any other school night, early to bed, early to rise, except it wasn’t. In the wee hours of the morning a scream pierced through the darkness that shrouded the house. I woke and struggled to figure out where I was. The house was full of smoke. The scream was pulling me up the stairs. Stumbling through the darkness, tears streaming down my face from the sting of the smoke, I saw my mother dragging my brother out into the hallway. His eyes were glazed over, he was not breathing. My mother’s scream changed to commands, “open the doors, the window” My sisters and I sprang into action. “Pray” my mother said. We did that too. I grabbed a blanket, the frigid January frost swept quickly into the house through the open doorway and windows. I was shaking. Not sure if it was from the cold or from the fright of all that was happening. I began to give my brother mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Mom was on the phone, calling the ambulance, calling grandma, calling our pastor. Somehow she needed to get word to my dad who was down in the pitch-black belly of the coalmine. The rest is kind of a blur, lights flashing, being spirited away, with grandma? Honestly it was hard to put it all together and make sense of everything that was happening. Would my brother be ok? Would he live? Would he be the same if he did come back? I couldn’t sleep. I wondered. I prayed. I think I even cried. All that fear, all that uncertainty lifted when Wayne walked into grandma’s house the next day. The first words he said to me? “Boy, I knew you were full of a lot of hot air!” We laughed, we hugged, we cried. But this time I was crying because he was the same old joking, funny guy that had gone out into the night under flashing lights just hours before. “So, I bet you are wondering what this rock (I hold up the rock that I pulled out from the bag that started the whole story), has to do with the story I just told you”. Well my brother is all grown up now and he likes to collect rocks. He finds beautiful rocks and he takes them home and he polishes them up. He finds rocks that don’t seem like anything at all until he takes them home and finds their hidden beauty. And then? He gives those rocks away. He carries a pocket full of them wherever he goes, and if you happen to be in a restaurant where he is, you might see him walk over to a table that has a young family and he asks the mom and dad, “Can I give your child this rock?” Children love his gifts and parents walk away feeling special. I hope someday you are in a place where the rockman is and he sees you and gives you a rock as beautiful as the one I pulled out of the bag. And if you do get that chance, you will know the story of the rockman!

This is an example of the OPEN phase of our Guided Inquiry Design Unit. Storytelling becomes the loom in which we will weave together our entire unit. There is a high level of student interest. Students share their own narrative stories following this model lesson. Each student is asked to bring 3 personal items in a bag we give them, from which they will drawn and tell their own personal story.

We spend a great deal of time in the OPEN phase as we want students to have ample time to understand the meaning story has in each of their individual lives, the lives of their families, and the culture from which they come, as well as the eventual person they will be partnered with. We also need to build trust for these new language learners. We need to build trust for us (the teaching team) and in each other. These are students who are working hard to acquire a new language and they need the confidence that they are in a trusting environment. Through the focus on story we are able to bring understanding that stories show us how we are alike and how each of our stories enrich the lives of others. This understanding is the opening for learning about other cultures and countries. Over the course of our unit our students will thread this understanding of story into the research they will do about the country and culture of the partner they are teamed with.

Some tools we use during this OPEN phase:

Story starters:

  1. Narrative Bags with objects to connect to a personal story
  1. Story Starter Worksheet (optional to the objects bag):

Look at your given photo, and then briefly (1-2 words) answer these questions off the top of your head. Use your answers to help you connect the photo to a personal event in your life.

  • Who or what is in the picture? What are their relationships to each other?
  • What activity(ies) are happening in the picture? Is someone going to or from a location?
  • What emotions are happening in the photo?
  • What season is it in the photo?
  • What would the scent and sounds of this picture be?
  1. Brainstorming about yourself:

ladawna-brainstorm-post-1

 

  1. Narrative short stories are used to read to the students.(Amy Tan’s Fish Cheeks is a good example).
  1. Vocabulary Logs

We wrap up this OPEN phase with a Narrative Story Festival. Parents are invited and this is the first time the storyteller (our extended team member) is introduced. She is invited as a special guest and tells her own narrative story. She will return several times over the course of the unit to present workshops for students as they dig into their own cultural stories.

Later this week, I will share the collaborative process and the other phases in the unit.

LaDawna Harrington

MHS Librarian

Millburn, NJ

Year 5 Go Global

When I was first asked to help a Year 5 teacher, Catherine Havenaar, with an integrated Year 5 unit on ‘Global Connections’, I was initially a little cautious about how we would achieve the integrated English and Humanities outcomes. She was in her first year of teaching – after being a Paramedic for many years – but had been inspired to try Guided Inquiry after a seminar I gave to the whole Primary staff at the beginning of the year.

The first step of any unit of Guided Inquiry, of course, is to plan with the teaching team. By the end of the first session I knew we were on a winner.

Right from the start Catherine and I bounced off each other with ideas and this continued throughout the unit until it actually became an exhaustingly huge project. However, because the students all joined in the ‘fun’ of learning together it was an experience never to be forgotten.

The fact that the G20 Summit was taking place in Brisbane at the time was such a bonus. Having world leaders right here in Australia and on the news, made ‘global connectedness’ so relevant to the students. I love this research plan a student was working on later – Can there be a G21?

g20best

The Programme of work is available here: http://guidedinquiryoz.edublogs.org/practice-2/primary-guided-inquiry-units/

Australian Curriculum – Stage 3 

Human Society and Its Environment: Global Connections

Key Focus:

What impact does Australia have on the world stage through our global connections?

Contributing Questions:

In what different arenas does Australia contribute to the world?

What are our responsibilities in making sure all people are treated with respect and provided with basic human needs?

OPEN: As with all GID units we began with checking prior knowledge and global organisations that the students recognised.

Activity 1: Complete ‘pre-test’ to determine knowledge levels about Australia’s connection to other countries – Provide students with a question and answer sheet that they will complete as they move around 10 stations. Each station has a visual prompt relating to a different idea of global connection. Students have four minutes at each station and identify the prompt they know least about.

Other Activities: Watch “Global Connections” video on ClickView; Read“Around the world by lunch”; CDRom -“The Global Village” (oral activities)

IMMERSE: Students discussed Article 25 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recapped the importance of Australia’s role in providing aid and humanitarian support.

Students then selected an organisation and drew its logo with a description of its elements and meaning.

Using a scaffold “Making the Choice” to gather information on a number of organisations they read widely and took notes, discussing findings at specific points with the teacher and each other.

One student with dyslexia was catered for when Catherine decided to bring in her own Mac computer to give the student during lessons so that she could use the ‘Text to speech’ function. This student managed better than ever before, could listen to sites about organisations – and was so happy!

using-speech-function

Links to all the organisations selected were put onto a Diigo sites and used from the class Edmodo learning platform. Students also enjoyed sharing sites they found.

sharing-sites-edmodo

yr5immerse1

EXPLORE: Students determined an organisation to research and read widely from Diigo links, books and subscriptions such as online encyclopaedias and Skwirk.

Scaffolds were provided for recording information and the questions they raised about that organisation.

yr5-first-two-scaffolds

IDENTIFY: Students wrote a research question (with help from the teaching team) to focus their exploration and four contributing questions which were placed into a jigsaw scaffold and/or a mind map.

jigsaw

mindmap

GATHER: Answers were gathered in their books and throughout students were assisted with aspects of information literacy by the teacher librarian – everything from determining best sources of information to writing a Bibliography.

jigsaw_answers

CREATE: Now for the real fun! This is a prime example of students working in the ‘Third Space’ and where they all just blossomed.

Students created an organisation of their own based on the tenets of the one they had been researching. They had to create a name, logo, slogan, aims, goals and a script for a one minute infomercial which featured the student introducing their agency. Because they had selected an organisation originally based on their own interest we had organisations created for everything from wildlife conservation to soccer. This also integrated their Visual Arts and Writing programs. (see program : http://guidedinquiryoz.edublogs.org/practice-2/primary-guided-inquiry-units/)

Catherine and I had a discussion about how she could be involved in a fun way to model their tasks. It was decided that she should create the overarching organisation with which the students all had to register their created organisations! After a lot of thought and laughter we came up with OREO: Office of the Registry of Earth’s Organisations. A logo was created and Catherine made her own infomercial as an example for the students.

See it here: https://vimeo.com/192400121

SHARE: A Global Summit was organised to which all parents, the Head of Primary and the Principal were invited…

In groups of five the student’s infomercials were played. Each group then entered to sit around the OREO table dressed for their role in their organisation. Parents had been given prepared questions to ask and the students, in a very professional manner, stood and answered for their organisation.

Morning tea was served to all and of course there was a distinct Oreo theme!

A large number of parents and grandparents came to the OREO Summit:

oreosummit1

Here they are watching the ‘Infomercial’ videos the students made for their created organisaton. (Note their Logos on the wall!)

oreosummit2

But a unit of work does not end with Share!… We conducted evaluations of students and the teaching team but also were surprised to receive a number of feedback comments from parents.

Stay tuned for the Evaluation blog and some links tomorrow. Finally I will reflect on a few more GID experiences towards the end of the week.

Alinda Sheerman – Broughton Anglican College, Menangle Park (75 km south west of Sydney, Australia)

 

 

 

Our Project- Solving Equations

Hello again, and happy Wednesday.

We started our GID unit on solving equations on day 4 of this school year. We knew we wanted to complete a unit on solving equations, and we knew we wanted to set the idea of GI in the student minds from the start.

We introduced this lesson with two co-taught algebra 1 classes. Each class was made up of 26-30 students, with around 10 special education students in each. The class was co-taught by myself and another teacher whom I’ve been co teaching with for three years. We were comfortable enough with the flow of the class and with trusting each other, that we knew we could try this. If you want to try GID with a co-taught class, I highly recommend it. I also recommend it be with co-teachers that are great at planning and communicating with each other.

gid-solving-equations

I have attached ( I hope) the link to the power point that was used for this unit. I started to explain to you guys exactly what we did each day and what made it different, and then realized you should be the ones experiencing it. You should be the ones to look and see if anything catches your eye or interest. Within the powerpoint you should be able to see the notes at the bottom of each slide. These notes kept my co teacher and I on the same page throughout the lesson. These notes also allowed for us to have a place to differentiate and change the plan , like a working document, throughout the entire unit.

Please look through the powerpoint and ask any questions. We have had another class, college prep math, complete this same unit. I would love to answer questions so that you can become comfortable implementing this design in math classrooms. Any questions asked will be answered in Friday’s final post with my overall, super honest, reflection about the unit.

Have a wonderful tail end of the week!

Amanda

 

Successes, Challenges and To-Do List

In my quest to motivate students to drive their own learning, I find inquiry-based learning essential. Moving further towards successful inquiry-based learning and attempting to internalize this personal need in students, I’m very glad I found Guided Inquiry Design. Since the beginning phases of implementation of the GID model, I already can see many students maintaining excitement throughout the research stages.  I’m seeing less unsuccessful searches for information and less frustration. I’m have students continuing to ask to work on their project, seek information on their own using district online resources, and hear them discussing with excitement life on the moon and the information they discover with peers.  I feel more successful as a facilitator of inquiry units!

My biggest challenge moving forward is continuing the unit after the initial four class periods. Like most educators, the days are packed with curriculum that must be covered. Time limits are placed on daily instruction in reading and math, RTI requirements must be met, district goals also are essential. All of these things could of course be rolled into a unit of inquiry, which my campus has done with our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Units of Inquiry. However, I started this unit based on the Texas Bluebonnet book, and it is not one of those units of inquiry already in place. Not to fear, several of my fourth grade teachers have told me that they will place the unit in a center for students to work on at various times throughout the week!  Therefore, my unit will continue as a collaboration with the fourth grade teachers, and will continue into the next four day rotation as well. My plan is to continue into the identify and gather phases with activities that can be included in the classroom technology centers and also by having passes to the library as a center.

During the next four day rotation, I will finalize these two stages and move into the create phase. The last day of their rotation will be spent sharing what they learned with other fourth grade classes. I plan on students reflecting all along the unit. It will be interesting in a month seeing where my own reflections on this unit take me. Perhaps, with Leslie’s permission, I will add an update towards the end of the year as to the successes and areas for improvement.

I eventually have aspirations of creating videos of students in each phase of GID as well as meaningful mini-lessons that guide the process.  I still feel like I need to grow myself more as the guide prior to this endeavor, but it will remain on my “in the near future to-do list” until it’s an accomplished task to check off.

Tara

Change is Difficult but Possible

I am the first to admit that I move slowly when starting something new. Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out, spoke to our community last week and I realized, very late in life, that I am sometimes scared to take a risk. This is very enlightening since I just celebrated a later milestone in the aging process and thirty years ago would have scoffed at anyone who told me that I was risk adverse. So, I will assume as a result of this new revelation, it took me over a year to absorb, plan and implement GI into my teaching strategies. I mulled, ordered all the books and read, I read more, and I searched for enlightening commentary on the internet, and after some time decided to approach the freshman class teachers to rework the Tangled Web project that was in existence before I took over this position.

While I knew this was a step in the right direction, from experience I know that in order to facilitate change I need to approach teachers thoughtfully. Change is difficult in the teaching world so I have developed a strategy whereby I present a change as an improvement not just change for change sake.

The Tangled Web project is a cross-curricular adventure in research during the second semester of the freshman year. It provides a venue for research skill instruction from the librarian and writing instruction including MLA style from the English teacher. Making it cross curricular gives the girls opportunities to have a topic that can fall under any of these areas: biology, religion, world geography, and English literature. Topics are drawn from a hat; the content is graded by the subject teacher and the writing/MLA is graded by the English teacher. At the time of my intervention, biographical in nature, the research was not challenging and the products quite boring. Students may learn how to navigate databases and resources, take notes with annotated bibliographies, write and footnote in MLA style but they never really enjoyed it and I felt they did not really learn anything.

I start my classes on research with this quote from Carol Kuhlthau. “Uncertainty is the beginning of learning.” So after a few years with this project, I realized that the students were not experiencing uncertainty. They already knew how to write a biographical report and even with the “how has this person influenced the world?” question, were not challenged to think. Joyfully, I found that these teachers felt the same and in addition were terribly tired of reading the same boring papers year after year. Note to self, approach change from that perspective. “You must be so terribly bored reading the same papers year after year so let’s shake it up.”

We started shaking it up a year ago when we began brainstorming this change. We began by ditching the biography approach and looking for authentic learning that would require the girls taking a risk with exploring the unknown. I began a search for concepts in each area of study and after planning sessions with the teachers we decided on the following:

English Literature – Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities, Homer, and French Revolution
World Geography – Control of Kashmir, Maori of New Zealand, Cambodia/Pol Pot regime, Keystone Pipeline, and South African Apartheid
Biology – HeLa cell discovery, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, equilibrium between inhabitants of ecosystems, exotic species, and emerging infectious diseases
Religion – Process of beatification, Wall separating Bethlehem from Israel, Pope John Paul II and communism, Anti-Catholic sentiment in US and the rise of Catholic Parochial school system, and Growth of monasticism during the Roman Empire

With these concepts and some very broad starting questions, we launched into the process with an ISP lesson, introduced the broad questions and the students drew from the hat, and then began Exploration with the assignment to take these conceptual questions and explore them for homework and return the next day with the first wave of developing broad search terms and keywords. The best quote of the whole lesson was when one student drew her question, read it and exclaimed, “What is Pol Pot?”.

Jean Pfluger

Tomorrow: Exploration to Formulation