Love is in the air for Guided Inquiry, Chocolate, and Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!  My name is Buffy Edwards and I have the privilege of blogging this week.  What a perfect time for me to talk about two things I really like, chocolate and Guided Inquiry.

I love chocolate. Chocolate, that amazing treat that seems to just make things better, gives you the boost to keep going, and helps you think.  That sounds like GID! I love Guided Inquiry. Guided Inquiry, that amazing process that helps students take ownership in their learning, helps them keep digging into their projects because of Third Space connections, and helps them become critical thinkers.  So to me, this is a win-win combination.

Time flies when you are having fun! I am so happy to be back on the 52-weeks Guided Inquiry Blog-thank you Dr. Leslie Maniotes for this opportunity. About a year ago, I had the pleasure of ‘co-blogging’ here with my friend and colleague Kelsey Barker, Teacher Librarian, Longfellow Middle School, Norman, Oklahoma. Together, we shared the process of how a GID team of Teacher Librarians in the Norman Public Schools District developed a GID science unit that would be implemented by 5th grade teachers across the district. The complete post about the science unit can be viewed here

So that’s really where my interest and involvement with GID started, with the Norman Public Schools (NPS), Norman, OK where I served as the District Library Information Specialist and Teacher Librarian at Dimensions Academy, a k-12 alternative education school.  Here’s the link to my earlier blog post where you can learn more about me!  The NPS District provided 3-day GID institutes with Dr. Maniotes where teams of teachers and Teacher Librarians came together to learn about GID and develop units of instruction for implementation at schools across the district. (You can read more about the district implementation process on this blog post).  Norman Schools has certainly designed a national model for training teachers and Teacher Librarians for implementing GID.  Thank you NPS for the incredible opportunity of being trained by the master of GID herself, Dr. Leslie Maniotes.
You might be wondering why the past tense with ‘served’ as Library Information Specialist and Teacher Librarian.  I retired.  Short, to the point, I retired. 29 years working in school libraries and I treasure every moment of my experiences and career.  Now you might be thinking ahhhhh retirement. That time in your life when you hang up your hat, stay up late, sleep late,  be free from commitment and responsibility and just kick back and relax. Nope, not this “retired” Teacher LIbrarian.  You see for about 15 of those 29  years I have also been teaching online graduate courses, in my spare time, ha ha! When I took off my full-time  K-12 teacher librarian hat, I put on a higher education instructor hat, now having time to work with even more fantastic graduate students in colleges of educations and schools of library and information studies. In addition to teaching online courses, I also visit students and former students in the field observing, sharing ideas, suggesting strategies and ideas about best practice and instruction and rolling up my sleeves to help with  weeding, packing,and rearranging physical spaces and really anything else that needs to be done.  How lucky am I?  Sharing my passion for the profession, teaching and learning, and, yes, you guessed it, Guided Inquiry Design. I am so very lucky and I feel fortunate to have these opportunities.  Some may think that retirement means it’s time to quit and be done and that you may be finished with the profession and career. I would argue it can be quite the contrary – it’s the time that you can take your work and profession to the next level, change lanes, shift gears, and share invaluable knowledge and experiences from an entirely new perspective.  

This is me with my fuzzy friend,12 year old Rugby.  He’s an Australian Shepherd adopted  from Second Chance – in the last two years he has lost his sight but certainly not his spirit!

My interaction with Guided Inquiry is quite interesting because I have the experience of implementing Guided Inquiry at Dimensions Academy (k-12 alternative education) in Norman, OK, being a part of the district-wide implementation of GID in Norman, writing about GID professionally, and teaching future teachers and librarians about GID.  In my earlier post, I shared some information about a unit at Dimensions Academy that allowed students the opportunity to earn multiple-credits toward graduation, I will talk a little more about GID related to that experience as well as other units and the impact it had on students.  You see, I believe that GID is appropriate and successful with all types of kids and will share more about the impact GID had our learners and why I am such a believer in the process!  

Thanks for reading today and now………… it’s time for some chocolate!

Buffy Edwards, PhD, MLIS
Online College Professor

drbuffyedwards@gmail.com, buffyedwards@sbcglobal.net
@nd4buffy
Chocolate photo from Google Images: (https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=651&q=chocolate&oq=chocolate&gs_l=img.3..0l10.8944.10800.0.11076.11.9.0.1.1.0.268.526.2-2.2.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..8.3.546.0.x_WRIs-Ji3w#imgrc=007–mIW6Xqn2M🙂

Guided Inquiry Design in an Aussie K – 12 Context

Greetings from ‘down under’ where many of us are actually ‘on top’ of Guided Inquiry Design and how it can be the catalyst for the development of inquiry based learning through the school library. Now days many teacher librarians in Australia are trained in GID and go into schools already knowing about using this as a tool to collaborate and assist teachers and students to integrate Information Literacy in their schools.

My name is Alinda Sheerman and I work as Head of Information Services and teacher librarian in a PreKinder to Year 12 school, Broughton Anglican College, about 100 kilometers to the south-west of Sydney on the edge of a massive housing growth area but still set in the open spaces and backing onto a reserve.

[Broughton Anglican College Information Resource Centre’s central position: The K-6 classrooms are to the left and the 7-12 classrooms at the back. The school’s Main Administration is situated along the front of the library building.]

aerial_broughton-oct-2006

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We have around 1000 students in total and the library is shared by all age groups with 6 ‘bookable’ learning spaces and physical and digital collections for everyone. I am the only Teacher Librarian but do have two full time Library Assistants who have formal training in their role and without whom I just could not survive!

ircexterior_students
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My Story:

I have been a teacher for nearly 42 years now – initially I was trained in Primary education but whilst following my husband as a Principal to a series of K-12 schools, I worked for a number of years as a part time or casual teacher in Secondary subject areas as well and this experience has been very useful in my position as K-12 Teacher Librarian.

During my Master’s studies in Teacher Librarianship, lecturer Lyn Hay introduced me to the amazing world of integrated technology and its possibilities excited me greatly!

After completing my Master of Applied Science (Teacher Librarianship) in 2007, I was looking for something to keep ‘learning’ about and began investigating Action Research – initially into student reading.

That year, however, my life was set to change when I went to a Syba Signs Teacher Librarian Conference in Sydney to hear Dr Ross Todd speak about the Action Research project just completed into the use of Guided Inquiry at Lee Fitzgerald’s school in 2006. Lee was also at the conference and spoke about the project from her perspective as Teacher Librarian.

(Lee blogged on this site for the week commencing 22 February and gives a great summary of GID in Australia to date: https://52guidedinquiry.edublogs.org/2016/02/22/teacher-librarians-forever/ )

I was inspired from then on and went home from the conference armed with Dr Carol Kuklthau’s original book “Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century School” (as well as Loertcher’s “Ban those Birds Units” with its scaffolds for learning)! The theory behind the practice was very worthwhile reading.

In that same year Dr Ross Todd also wrote an article for our Australian Education Journal, Scan, in which he described how Carol Kuhlthau’s original Information Search Process formed the “instructional framework for understanding the student’s journey of information seeking and knowledge building and a basis for guiding and intervening to ensure students develop deep knowledge and deep understanding”  (In ‘Guided Inquiry supporting information literacy”, Scan Vol 26 No2 p29, May 2007.)

I have taken Table 1 from that article and made it more visual. This cycle was my original inspiration to try out this process – Building on existing knowledge to produce new knowledge

newknowledgecycle_ross

For the following year, 2008, I applied for, and received, a grant to initiate Guided Inquiry in my K-12 school and to conduct Action Research on this. I found that a group of other schools, headed up by Lee Fitzgerald, also had a similar grant so I joined them and through the use of a wiki and visits to Australia we were all guided by Ross Todd in our initial practice. I also used the grant money to take some teachers to hear Ross Todd at another Syba Signs conference on Guided Inquiry and we were off and running. (When we get tired, Lee and I often say that “Ross has a lot to answer for”!)

In 2009 I applied for another grant to continue a second cycle of Action Research and this time the team included four classroom teachers, the Head of Humanities, the Special Needs teachers and myself as Teacher Librarian. At the end of that year we made a presentation to the whole staff about our experience with teachers and students speaking about how they ‘journeyed’ through Guided Inquiry.

From then on I have lost count of the number of teachers that I have assisted in implementing this pedagogy into their classroom. Many have gone on to teach others in Grade ‘buddy’ systems in place at Broughton.

Last week I was privileged to be asked to speak at an educational conference in Sydney about the use of technology for differentiation. When I considered Guided Inquiry and how we, at Broughton, have used technology with it, I could see that a wonderful partnership has developed.

Guided Inquiry Design PLUS technology equals knowledge growth and deep understanding without discrimination.

gidtechdiff

Technology has made the GID process infinitely more successful as we differentiate at all levels – Process, Content and Product/Sharing and Evaluating/Assessing the final knowledge created. We have seen some students experience successful learning for the first time when personal blocks have been removed through technologies such as ‘text to speech’ and assessment through oral means rather than written. One teacher who records her student’s ideas said recently that for the first time she really knows what that student thinks.

This is the ninth year that I have been assisting teachers to implement Guided Inquiry in the classroom and over the years some units of work stand out above the rest as being amazing learning experiences for us all. As the teacher and teacher librarian become part of the learning team together the success means so much more.

Only one teacher has been ‘game enough’ to use GID for a Year 11 class in their Preliminary Course for Australia’s Higher School Certificate which gives entry to University. Most of these courses are quite content driven culminating in an exam and time is of an essence. I have shared some of the experience here http://www.slideshare.net/AlindaS/guided-inquiry-in-the-senior-classroom-pdhpe-year-11-2014. More videos of the teacher Paul’s evaluation of the unit of work can be found here: http://bacirc.edublogs.org/guided-inquiry/gi-2014/ (Scroll right down)

Every year our Year 10 Commerce class explores “Issues in Australian Society” using Guided Inquiry and this is always a highlight for me as students take up issues and look for ways to improve problems or become a voice for awareness in an area.

Early this year our four Year 8 classes explored Medieval Europe, learning and sharing in the GID process. For the first time I ‘blogged’ my way through a very busy few weeks in six posts.

This can be found on the blog Lee Fitzgerald and I set up to support our Australian teacher librarians as they team-teach units from the Australian Curriculum. We share programs of work, scaffolds and encourage dialogue from our Australian cohort and any other interested people! (http://guidedinquiryoz.edublogs.org/2016/03/02/medieval-europe-year-8-at-bac/ )

I remember two years ago I was assisting students in a class and discussing what was happening with their teacher when the amazing learning dynamics and knowledge growth that was happening right before our eyes became a ‘goosebumps’ experience. I had only experienced this in music events in my life before. How can a classroom environment produce goosebumps? It was the observation of students who previously were normal Grade 5 kids becoming autonomous, very excited learners who were sharing this with everyone and bouncing off each other. I know just how special it was for everyone because this year they are in Grade 7 and when I met them to begin this year’s unit recently they were excited to begin with – they too remembered our previous time together!

I decided I should blog about this particular class here as I have not had the time to put the experience on paper previously.

The next few posts this week will describe that experience so… stay tuned! (Alinda Sheerman)

Special Education and GID- About Me!

Hello GID fans!

My name is Amanda Biddle. I work at Henry Clay High school in Lexington, KY. Henry Clay is the largest high school in Kentucky with about 2, 400 students from grade 9 to 12. I am currently the building assessment coordinator, however I was, and will be again, a special education teacher in our building. I have two lovely little boys, 6 and 2.

I have experience teaching special education in all subject areas in elementary school, special education in middle school, and special education algebra and geometry in high school. I have a passion for working with students who are struggling learners and finding ways for them to learn how they learn best. I believe that each student can be successful if they are given the right tools and encouragement.

I was introduced to Guided Inquiry through my husband, who is a social studies teacher. While completing his masters program in library science, he had the opportunity to study and implement Guided Inquiry. He started with advanced classes and worked his confidence in to the general education, co taught classes. It was through long nights of planning his lessons and unit together that I started to understand how this model of teaching and learning could benefit, my then language arts students who were in special education. I was able to take his knowledge and work with him to form a unit on guided inquiry. That was three years ago.

After my year as a middle school special education language arts teacher, I transferred to Henry Clay high school, and started teaching math as a special education resource teacher and a special education co teacher in math. My first year as a high school teacher, I rarely thought about GID and did not implement any units or lessons as I wasn’t comfortable with how it would be implemented in the math classroom. However, my second year, I was introduced to another math teacher who was implementing at least one GID unit each semester. It was amazing. I was also very motivated to make this work for my students. I attempted my first math GID unit at the end of last school year. (May 2016)

Once the librarians, other math teachers and I started working together and really looking in to GID and how it could benefit our students, we were able to sign up for the GID Institute at Rutgers this summer. We formed a team of 1 math teacher, 1 English teacher, 2 librarians and me, the special education teacher. Going to the institute and working 45+ hours on one unit was exhausting, but worth every minute. I was able to come back this school year, ready to start the year by giving students a new perspective on how they can learn and explore math.

I am excited to be a part of this 52 week challenge.

See you tomorrow,

Amanda Biddle

Searching for Guided Inquiry

Greetings from the Lone Star State!

My name is Tara Rollins and I am the Information Literacy Specialist (aka Librarian) in a large urban district in Houston, Texas.   I am proud to work at Aldine ISD’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme campus, Kujawa Elementary.   Inquiry plays a large part of the IB curriculum, so I have been pleased to gather new ideas from so many Guided Inquiry teachers around the world.

I still feel like a novice, even after working in an inquiry based programme for several years.  Over the past few years, I have struggled as the “librarian” in finding a process that taught students and teachers how to complete research projects.  I seemed to lack a road map, a guide of steps and stages.  I watched students, teachers and parents struggle with research projects.  That’s why I was overjoyed to find Leslie and the Guided Inquiry Design Model.  The model brought me the road map that helps me plan my unit.  I am better able to plan for each stage of the research process, and complete each stage in a student centered method.

I first learned about inquiry when I transferred to the IB campus.  There were so many components of the IB programme I learned that first year that it all is a blur.  I enjoyed everything I learned, and found all of it very beneficial in educating the “whole child.”  However, I was still in search of that perfect “how to” as far as teaching research skills and implementing units of inquiry.  So, I went in search of the missing components.  I went to IB training for librarians and got their recommendation for Guided Inquiry and Guided Inquiry Design by Carol Kuhlthau, Leslie Maniotes & Ann Caspari.  I bought both books and devoured them cover to cover.  Several webinars about Guided Inquiry gave me additional ideas.  I applied and was accepted to the CiSSL Summer Institute 2016, where a selected team and I learned even more about Guided Inquiry Design.

Planning for Guided Inquiry

Planning for Guided Inquiry “Open”

I have provided staff development sessions about inquiry and specifically guided inquiry several times in the past couple of years.  The picture I’m sharing is from a Guided Inquiry Design Staff Development in which the teachers searched for artifacts to “Open” their first unit of inquiry this school year.

I also have designed and taught portions of units following the Guided Inquiry model both independently and in collaboration with classroom teachers. However, I continue to learn from other GID leader’s and fellow educators.  Each year I feel that my experiences with Guided Inquiry in the classroom setting as well as collaboration with staff members grow stronger.

Guided Inquiry as a teaching/learning model thrills me!  I enjoy that inquiry is student centered, that it promotes an intrinsic motivation to learn.  It excites me to see students engaged and enthusiastic about learning.  I love seeing students take ownership of their own learning, and delving into specific portions of topics that interest them.  I enjoy seeing them eagerly sharing details they learn with friends, classmates and other teachers throughout the building.  It’s equally exciting when they share with community members, parents, other IB schools and school board members during a yearly fourth grade exhibition.  Finding the Guided Inquiry Design Model was the icing on the cake and has brought closure to my search for “how to” with Guided Inquiry.

Tara Rollins

Guided Inquiry in Sweden! My Long Journey Begins here…

I am Lena Fogelberg Carlsson from Sweden!

My very first encounter with the theory of the Information Search Process (Kuhlthau) was when I started my education to become a librarian in 1997. One of the first lectures that I attended was performed by Louise Limberg. Today she´s professor emerita but at that point she was just about to present her doctoral thesis in library and information science. She had examined the relationship between the perception high school students held of information seeking and the quality of their papers as evaluated by teacher and librarian. In her lecture she introduced the research of Carol Kuhlthau. When I heard that research existed where the feelings, thoughts and actions of teenagers were considered interesting and valuable stuff, I was hooked. And not only that, but the reason why someone was interested in this was because it seemed like a good idea to find out more about the difficulties that teenagers experience when they are trying to achieve deep knowledge. I was baffled. It was the most pedagogical statement I had ever heard.

At this point I was a high school teacher drop out. I had dropped out of school a number of times and thought I would never go back again. But this made me change my mind. Someone more than me wanted school to be interesting, fun and real and thought that there could be valuable findings in texts by young adults.

My master thesis in library and information science was a survey conducted among a group of young adults examining their opinion of libraries with the starting point in the fire of the city library of Linköping. The public library had burnt down and I thought that it would be really interesting to find out what it was that had burnt down to a number of 15 year olds. Asking these kids a lot of open questions where they could formulate themselves in writing about among other things the fire as such, the value of a library in a society, their school libraries, libraries as rooms, reading, information seeking and their strategies after the fire gave me a very complex picture. Not a very good paper, no proper research question. I wanted to get the whole picture. A number of corner stones have stayed with me ever since 2000 when the paper was completed:

Libraries can hold an existential value for teenagers. They can care enormously about what the books represent, they care about if the room is beautiful and if the librarians are kind and understand teenagers that do not know how to ask “library questions”. They can formulate that libraries hold different values at different times in a person´s life: when they were kids, when they will be students, when they become parents and when they grow old.

I was very surprised.

I had never liked libraries myself, boring places that never managed to invite me in and that seemed to have a qualifying system of which I never cracked the code.

I had loved to read since I was five but book stores were my places.

There were also students in my investigation that didn´t have a relationship to libraries at all. They didn´t like to read, they wrote. Libraries do not have anything for me, they wrote. But they also wanted to put forward that libraries can hold a value to others.

The way they – all 111 of them, no matter if they loved libraries or couldn’t care less – answered my questions –– made a great impact on me. A stranger asks them questions about libraries, but they answered and I heard honest voices. I decided that they shouldn´t have done that in vain. I decided to use what they had taught me when I started to work as a school librarian. Trying to give them beautiful rooms, trying to be kind, trying to find out as much as possible about their questions and ways of asking, or not asking. For those who do not have a relationship to libraries – will they allow me to get to know them? I didn´t know but was willing to try.

It was also apparent to me that to be able to create the best library ever to young adults it took adults to do it. Professional adults. I remembered my primary school teacher whom I thought of as an adult who didn´t need us. She was there for us no matter who we were, she knew what she was doing and you could trust her. I remember liking that.

In my background reading for my thesis I touched upon so many disciplines that seemed relevant that I was absolutely overwhelmed. The kids gave me such a multi-facetted picture of the potential of libraries that I thought that it could only be possible to achieve that in a cross disciplinary culture. A sociologist once described the wise meeting between professional grown-ups and young adults as a “practical art”. I couldn´t agree more. And the practice informed by a scientific approach, of course.

So, I headed back to school and came to Katedralskolan, where I still am, in 2000. A drop out high school teacher who didn´t like libraries was to become a school librarian. Part-time for many years and since 2011, full-time. I had Kuhlthau in my hand and heard the voices of my informants in my head.

Now, Katedralskolan is a highly prestigious, traditional high school so I knew that the odds for me of finding myself at home was truly low. A long journey started.

Lena Fogelberg Carlsson

Hello from Australia

Erin Patel

Erin Patel @ezpatel

Hello everyone. My name is Erin Patel and I am a teacher librarian at Kambala Girls School in Sydney, Australia. Kambala is an Independent girls school which provides for students from 6 months to 18 years. My role focuses in the senior school library, from year 7 to 12. Although I have been a classroom teacher since 2008 and a teacher librarian for almost three years, this is my first year at Kambala. I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with inspirational teachers and students, as well as having access to an innovative IT team which has implemented technological tools which enable me to get creative with Guided Inquiry.

In fact, although I have used Guided Inquiry and the ISP to guide my teaching in the past, Kambala has really embraced the model as a tool for improving student learning and therefore has been central to the approach I have taken in undertaking collaborative projects at Kambala. Having only recently graduated with a Masters of Education, Guided Inquiry was the focus of much of our training. I connected with the constructivist nature of Guided Inquiry which specified that students come with their own experiences, understanding and interests and in order to deepen their understanding, we need to find a way to connect this with the content and skills (and creating a third space in which this learning is extended), while we guide and intervene as necessary.

Having the space to explore Guided Inquiry in my teaching has been a very positive experience. Not only has it enabled me to make connections with teachers through collaborative projects, it has allowed for the building of information and transliteracy skills across a year group. I have collaborated on three projects this year alone, which built upon transliteracy skills on a single year group of  Year 9 students. What began as a new process, became almost second nature and largely independent by the third project. This enabled me to measure my own impact upon the learning of students (often a difficult task for teacher librarians who may not be involved in the formal assessment process). With each project, I adapted my approach according to the time constraints. For example, the first project was run over two weeks of five lessons per week. This required a different approach to the second project which was over ten weeks with only one lesson per week. In the second project, I implemented a flipped classroom approach to ensure that the students could make full use of the classroom time to work on their projects and provide one on one support, whilst also allowing students to work at their own pace.

This collaboration has had an incredible impact upon the relationships I have built with subject teachers. Implementing a model that is based on best practice and research improved my credibility as a teacher. This is a very helpful way to advocate for your library. In fact, one project turned into another and before long, I was working with various faculties and teachers on vastly different projects, but all modelled on Guided Inquiry.

This week I would like to share my experiences using Guided Inquiry. I hope we can all learn from each other in this community and that I can contribute something that may trigger ideas for others, as others have contributed to my own understanding of Guided Inquiry.

Erin Patel

Twitter: @ezpatel

It is Still Hot in Texas

DuchesneHeart_Master_2718Writing from Texas this week, I am Jean Pfluger, Upper School Librarian at Duchense Academy of the Sacred Heart, Houston’s only all-girl college preparatory school PK3 through 12th grade. I am responsible for the guidance and growth of 242 9th – 12th graders as they navigate the world of information within their courses. As the chair of the Library Department, I am responsible for facilitating the creation of a vertical curriculum for grades PK3 – 12th grade with three other librarians in two physical spaces.

My career path is fairly unique. As a child/teenager, I had two passions; sports and reading. I was the volleyball player who read a book on the bus to away games. My first career was as a physical education teacher and lasted twenty years. At that time in my life I realized that I wanted to contribute to the education of students in another way and the opportunity to become a librarian sort of just fell into my lap. After the first three years, I knew I wanted to pursue an advanced degree so I enrolled and graduated from the University of North Texas with a Masters in Library Science. Since then, I have been a librarian at every grade, PK4 – 12th.

I have used Carol Kuhlthau’s Seeking Meaning: a process approach to library and information services with the ISP process as the framework for research in Upper School for the past six years. Having been a Big Six advocate from its inception and a local workshop presenter on the method, changing to Kuhlthau’s ideas required a real forward shift in my thinking. Yet, as I muddled through those first few years, I realized the advantages of the affective aspect of information seeking and use with the cognitive and physical. So, when her work with Guided Inquiry emerged, I jumped right in and begin reading. The rest is history and as this week progresses, I will share my journey.

Jean Pflüger

G’day, Mate!

A big hello to my fellow GI devotees, from Brisbane, Australia! It is such a privilege to be participating in this blogging event, and to be given the opportunity to share, and reflect upon, some elements of my journey with Guided Inquiry.

My name is Judy Bolton and I am the Head of Information Services at St Paul’s School in Bald Hills (a suburb to Brisbane’s north). St Paul’s is a Pre-Prep to Year 12 Anglican School, with a total enrolment of approximately 1400 students. Whilst it is one (very!) large campus, there are three sub-schools: Junior (Pre-Prep to Year 6), Middle (Years 7 – 9) and Senior (Years 10-12).The School was opened as a boys’ only school in 1960, changing to co-educational in the early 1990s.

Aerial photo SPS

 

I came to my “new” profession of Teacher Librarianship after 25 years of classroom teaching in both State and Independent schools in Queensland. I had enjoyed my time as an English / History teacher (Years 7 – 12), but when the retirement of a staff member in the Library meant that there was a spot to be filled, I happily accepted the chance to have a “sea-change”. I was able to begin teaching in the Library immediately, with responsibility for teaching Years 5 – 7, and studied externally for my Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) through Charles Sturt University in Wagga.

It was during the first subject of my studies that I was introduced to Guided Inquiry. Having been given the task of comparing and evaluating  two inquiry models, I chose Guided Inquiry as one of these. To say that this represented a “light bulb” moment for me is a cliche….. but also most definitely true! Finally, someone was explaining to me why I, as a learner, had struggled at certain stages of research (and still did….. returning to study was an eye-opener!) . Someone was explaining to me how I, as a teacher, could assist those in my care to navigate this process successfully and to reassure them that the feelings they were experiencing at certain times were common and predictable. Someone was explaining to me how I, as a lifelong learner, could use this information search process to assist me with any search / decision making process; it was a skill that I could truly recommend to students as worthwhile. And so began my continuing passion for Guided Inquiry.

To give some background. Our Library is divided into two parts, with internal access from one to the other: the Junior School area (a reasonably recent addition) and the Middle School and Senior School area. At the time I arrived we had three teacher Librarians: one who had a weekly Information Literacy / Literature lesson with Year 1 – Year 4s; I taught weekly lessons to the Year 5-7s, and the third TL was responsible for assisting and resourcing the Year 8 – 12 classes. Naturally, armed with my new knowledge and passion, I was keen to “show and tell” the teachers with whom I worked about Guided Inquiry. This enthusiasm was met with a mixed reaction: from disinterest (“We have the planning from last year, and we want to use that”) to gentle hostility (“I haven’t got enough time to work with you!”) to trepidation (“So how will I know what to do?”) to enthusiasm and eagerness to have a try (“Great! Come down and we can work together on the planning”). Sound familiar?

Ten years down the track, I am still as passionate as ever about Guided Inquiry and I have had some successes and have learned a great deal. I have hosted a number of seminars and professional development courses for staff on GI, I have enjoyed and received immense satisfaction from working with many colleagues on really successful projects, I am improving my ability to do a sales pitch (aka “Why you really need to collaborate on this GI unit” and I do believe, with the help of a similarly passionate educator, that Guided Inquiry is beginning to make an impact on the learning of our students. This is what I will hope to share with you over the coming week.

Judy Bolton

GID in the Middle School Library

051602-2022_RGrover_Final 8x10Hi! I’m Rachel Grover, the guest blogger for this week, and I’m a middle-school librarian in Fairfax County, Virginia. With just under 200 schools and over 160,000 students, we are the largest school district in the state of Virginia. Prior to being a librarian, I taught 5th grade for two years and middle-school English for five years. This will be my 3rd year as librarian – 10th in education! – and I am absolutely in love with my job. I love being able to have influence on the entire staff and student body, not just my own classroom, especially when it comes to sharing resources, helping to guide uses of new technology, and modeling lessons using new methods of teaching – like GID.

When my library supervisors introduced GID to all the librarians in our county, many of my thoughts were about how perfect of a position librarians are in to help teach this method to our staff. I found myself intrigued with how to transform what we perceived as effective lessons into more student-centered, student-engaged lessons. Since our introduction two years ago, I have used GID with history, Latin, art, and English classes! It always astounds the teachers how much more engaged students are and the quality of work GID produces.

Stay tuned for the next entry, which will detail examples of specific lessons I’ve done with these teachers and why middle school is a great opportunity to get students involved with GID.

From Australia

Hello, this is my first blog post on the 52 Week GID Challenge. Thanks for setting it up Leslie, it has made interesting reading!

My name is Margo Pickworth and I am the Teacher Librarian at Shore Preparatory School, a very large independent school in Sydney, Australia. My role as the teacher librarian involves not only managing the school library resources, but planning units of work with classroom teachers to implement syllabus documents, particularly with a focus on inquiry.

I first became interested in Guided Inquiry when Ross Todd spoke fondly of the work of Carol Kulthau in his visits to Australia. I was then fortunate enough to attend the CiSSL Summer Institute at Rutgers in 2014. Since then I have attempted to implement Guided Inquiry in my own context. There has been some ups and downs some of which I will share over the next few posts.

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