Fourth Grade, Five Senses

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, British Columbia has recently introduced a brand new curriculum, which my school started to roll out in the 2015-2016 school year with some pilot units. By the 2016-2017 year, we were expected to be fully teaching the new curriculum.

The new curriculum, which can be found here , is quite a bold endeavour. Instead of focusing purely on content, students are instead expected to develop “curricular competencies” across all subjects, with a set of overarching “core competencies” – personal traits such as critical thinking, creativity and social responsibility – that are self-assessed.

Each subject has a set of between four and six Big Ideas – the broad understandings that students should gain. Below the Big Ideas are Content – what is being taught – and Curricular Competencies – the skills and attitudes students need to be able to demonstrate.

Analysing and discussing our new curriculum could be a whole blog in itself, so suffice it to say that it has caused a lot of reflection, planning and imagination at schools across the province. Overall, I really like it. I think it lends itself beautifully to Guided Inquiry Design, cross-curricular learning, and individual interests. There are, however, an awful lot of learning outcomes to be addressed, and much of the wording is vague.

Despite the fact that there is less emphasis on content, there have nonetheless been massive changes in the content taught in different subjects. I will get into this more in my next post about our Grade 6 project, but in almost every core subject, our teachers have had to introduce different content to align with the provincial standards. In Grade 4, one new addition to the science curriculum was the Big Idea “All living things sense and respond to their environment” with the content expectations surrounding the five senses.

The Grade 4 teachers, Vickie Lau and Guy McAuliffe,  met with me and our inquiry based learning teacher, Graeme Webber, to brainstorm some ideas for an interesting unit on the senses – not just in humans, but in other animals as well. As it turned out, we didn’t know a whole lot about how other animals use their senses… how could we make an engaging project so the boys could ask questions, build their knowledge, and showcase their learning in a unique way? The five senses are an interesting topic to think about teaching, because kids know what they are – but how much do they truly understand about the sensory systems of other animals? What organs and structures in animals and humans are responsible for sensing stimuli? What seemed like a pretty straightforward topic actually had many interesting avenues we could take!

Initially we played with the idea of a full Guided Inquiry unit which would allow each student to explore the senses according to his interests, but we determined that this might be challenging given the timeline, our own teaching schedules, and student abilities. Eventually we came up with the idea of having a weekly mini unit comprised of an Immerse/Explore session for each sense based on our library’s very successful Human Library program. We would invite a guest expert in each week to talk about one particular sense, then give the boys time to journal, ask questions, and later explore a LibGuide about animal senses that I would create.

Based on past Human Library events, we had a wonderful supply of guest speakers we could call on. We invited a dog trainer who specializes in scent detection work, our school’s contract vision and hearing consultant, and a marine biologist in to give presentations on smell, sight, hearing and touch respectively. But what about taste? We debated for some time and decided that we could do that ourselves. We set up stations in the library with a salty, sweet and bitter taste tests, and had the boys determine where on their tongues they could identify each flavour.

As has come to be expected with any GI unit we do, student engagement was very high. Ann, the dog trainer (and a retired elementary school teacher) set up some experiments to test the boys’ sense of smell compared to that of her dogs. Linda, the hearing and vision expert, demonstrated how technology can help people with vision and hearing deficits, and Melanie, the marine biologist, enchanted the students with how creatures of the deep oceans are able to use touch to find prey. (We teachers also ran a pretty fun taste test!) Questions came fast and furiously; the boys recorded lots of ideas from both the presenters and their LibGuide explorations. The depth of understanding went far beyond our expectations.

 

Ann sets up a test of human scenting abilities!

Melanie explains the different zones of the ocean.

Boys could not wait to ask Melanie more about marine animals.

Based on the BC curriculum, the boys certainly demonstrated the following curricular competencies through this unit:

  • Demonstrate curiosity about the natural world

  • Observe objects and events in familiar contexts

  • Identify questions about familiar objects and events that can be investigated scientifically

  • Make predictions based on prior knowledge

  • Make observations about living and non-living things in the local environment

  • Collect simple data

 

But then an important question came about: how can the students share their new knowledge about the senses? Because we structured this unit as a series of Immerse sessions, each student received the same experience and heard the same information. They all read the same resources on my LibGuide. We did not move beyond the Explore stage into identifying individual inquiry questions, so preparing oral reports or posters would be rather tiresome with each student giving the same information.

Guy, who teaches Language Arts, had a brilliant idea to add a cross-curricular piece to this unit. One new L.A. curricular competency is oral storytelling:

Create an original story or finding an existing story (with permission), sharing the story from memory with others, using vocal expression to clarify the meaning of the text, using non-verbal communication expressively to clarify the meaning, attending to stage presence, differentiating the storyteller’s natural voice from the characters’ voices, presenting the story efficiently, keeping the listener’s interest throughout.

This was, so far, not something Guy had been able to cover in his classes, and he had not had any ideas of how to teach it. What if the boys synthesized their understanding of the five senses and turned it into an oral story about an animal they learned about during our sessions? And what if, rather than performing his story live (thereby experiencing potential performance anxiety and squirrelly audiences), each boy videoed himself so that everyone could have a chance to listen and watch?

This turned out to be very successful – Guy provided examples and instruction in oral storytelling during L.A. classes and gave the boys time to prepare and practice their stories. Using their school laptops, each boy filmed his story and saved it. We then hosted a celebratory Share session in the library: each boy brought his laptop, and we spread them out around the space with headphones and evaluation sheets. We gave everyone time to listen to as many of their classmates’ stories as possible. It was a wonderful celebration of their learning and a really unique way to evaluate each others’ understanding of the five senses. For the Evaluate phase, Guy made a peer evaluation form that was left at each laptop, so students could leave feedback on their classmates’ stories. 

Both classes rotated around the library to listen to the stories

Boys listen to each others’ oral stories and leave feedback

 

My next and final post will be a look at our Grade 6 Guided Inquiry project – also based on new curriculum, and also leveraging the power of the Human Library!

 

Elizabeth Walker

St. George’s School

Vancouver, Canada

@curiousstgeorge

Cut and Paste

Hello everyone!

I’m back on the blog this week! Last year I wrote about some of the projects I helped to implement at my all-boys school in Vancouver, B.C.  This school year has gone by incredibly fast. I mean, they all do, but 2016-2017 seemed particularly speedy. One of the reasons is that British Columbia has an all-new curriculum and everyone at St. George’s has been working hard to adapt, imagine and plan. Later this week I will go into detail about how harnessing Guided Inquiry Design has helped our faculty to make sense of these new learning outcomes and content, which in many grades is vastly different from years past. But for today’s post, I thought I would share about how *not* following the Guided Inquiry framework religiously can also be of great benefit to your students!

As the go-to Guided Inquiry guru in my school, as well as the librarian (or The Oracle, as I prefer to be addressed), teachers are accustomed to approaching me for books and advice, so I have been able to help my colleagues develop and implement Guided Inquiry projects across the subjects and grades.

This is how I like to imagine myself at work.
Image credit: http://www.messagetoeagle.com

 

Sometimes, planning and carrying out an entire GI unit is neither time- nor energy- efficient. In other words, the haggard-looking teacher who has come to ask me to pull books on a certain topic gets a glazed look on their face as I start evangelizing and verbally re-organizing  their whole project into an amazing cross-curricular GI unit. Sometimes, people just want a little help, and some books. And that’s okay.

One of the best features of Guided Inquiry is that adopting and adapting the Open-Immerse-Expore phases into a more traditional research project is simple and very effective. If you have colleagues who are a little resistant to implementing a full Guided Inquiry project, or you’re short on time, think about using some of the phases to help increase student engagement and boost attainment.

An example of doing just this came about last year when the aforementioned haggard-looking Grade 2 teacher came to ask me to pull books on animals for the students to do a simple research project. In years past, I just looked for a variety of grade-appropriate animal books from the non-fiction collection, making sure I got a range of different species, packed them into a book tub and sent them off to the classroom. However, this time around, I decided to change things up, and with only minutes to spare, I did some guerilla Guided Inquiry!

After consulting with the teacher, I decided to inject some GI flavour into this project by giving the boys an Explore session before choosing their animal. Instead of pulling books about single species, I selected books that gave information on a variety of different animals thematically. For example, we have a series of books from QEB called “Animal Opposites”, with titles like “Fastest and Slowest” and “Smartest and Silliest”. A big hit was “A Little Book of Slime,” which describes snails, slugs, and their ilk. “Unusual Creatures” was also really popular.

I also made a quick worksheet made up of four boxes with space to write the name of the book, the page number, the name of the animal, and to draw a sketch. When the Grade 2s came to the library, instead of being told to think of an animal they wanted to research – which can be hard, when you’re 8! – we instead set up the thematic books at different tables, and told the students to spend some time browsing the different titles. When they found a really cool animal they might want to learn more about, they were to write down its name, the book and page number, and do a quick sketch of it. Later on, they were told, they could think about the most interesting animal they found, go find the book, and read more about it. This was simply a period to poke around in some interesting books and get an idea of what information was available.

Was this a true Guided Inquiry unit? Nope. I planned it on the fly. I was only involved in one period. There was no Open or Immerse phase before the Explore session. However, I believe there were a lot of benefits for both the students and the teachers.

Having an open-ended Explore session allowed the kids to look at an array of different creatures that they might not have known about. (Axolotls were easily the most popular choice. No surprises there; they are pretty cute.)  

Adorbs. Image credit: ARKive.org

They were also able to assess on the spot if there was enough information about their animals – and if it turned out there wasn’t, they had three other creatures of interest on their worksheets. If a certain book was too difficult for them to read or understand, we encouraged them to move on to another. They were very content to flip through pages, take simple notes, and sketch, without the pressure of having a topic in mind. They carried out basic note-taking and bibliographic skills by jotting down the title and page numbers that they were using (and in fact this was very helpful to ME, later, when I had to help the boys find the books again once the project got into full swing). They got a sense of what books were available to them, and how useful they would be.

This year, with time flying by and new curriculum to introduce, the teachers did not ask me for help on this project, and they approached it in a more traditional way: Think of an animal. Find it in a book. Write down what it eats, where it lives, etc. Now, I don’t really think there’s anything terribly wrong with this sort of “bird project” (to quote David Loertscher) but it can easily grow frustrational for kids who have chosen an animal and can’t find any information on it. Grade 2 students are, generally, not savvy enough to use the Internet to find information that’s not available in books, so unless the resources – print or otherwise – have been carefully selected in advance, there is a real possibility that some kids will come up empty-handed. Which is exactly what happened this year, when a parade of little guys were sent up to the library for help with their projects. I was able to help find books about most of their animals, but there were a few boys who had chosen creatures that, for whatever reason, we simply did not have much information on. It was a real missed opportunity, and I felt sorry for the boys who had to be told to change their topic: this could have easily been avoided with a repeat of the previous year’s impromptu Explore session.

So, if the thought of implementing a full-blown Guided Inquiry unit seems unlikely, consider stealing one of the first three phases to change things up a bit. It will increase student learning, make teachers’ and librarians’ lives a little easier, and be more fun for everyone.  Think of Guided Inquiry Design more as a recipe that you can alter as you like, not dogma that must be followed to the letter.

Elizabeth Walker

St. George’s School

Vancouver, B.C.

@curiousstgeorge

 

Student Choice & Student Voice

 

Imagine your school space was slated for a renovation. What would you change and why? Because our school library is slated for a renovation in the district’s facilities plan, we wanted to hear what students would change. For that reason, students were tasked with redesigning the school library to better equip students and staff to meet the changing demands of education in the 21st century.

In the open phase, school librarians designed a one period class involving multiple activities geared to get students curious about what exactly a 21st century library should look like and what additions, deletions or modifications would be necessary in their minds to create an innovative space.  

For Immerse, students spent time observing what happens in their school library before or after school and then took a field trip to three local libraries. First was another school library in the district, second was the central branch of the Lexington Public Library, and third was a state of the art university library. This activity helped students notate (and in many cases, photograph) layout ideas, furniture options, technology implementation, etc. To prepare for this important step in the process, the school librarians designed an observation sheet that students filled out to compile (and guide) their notetaking. One of us helped chaperone the trip too!

Exploring in any inquiry unit is key, and this project was no exception. The school librarians designed four stations for students to explore all things related to a school library. Within these stations students took notes on various symbols and floor plan designs, notated technology items and furniture options that may be beneficial for their proposal. One station even included a Symbaloo webmix created to help students brainstorm various elements of a 21st century library.

Students were given latitude in identifying which part or parts of the school library they would address in their proposed renovation and the classroom teacher often used Google Forms to collect this data.

Days were set aside for students to Gather whatever they needed to formulate a strong renovation plan. Each time this was done in the library. It was in this phase that students measured the library, worked on calculations, and revisited Explore station materials to determine what would be needed to make their individual renovation projects a success.

Ultimately, students Created a presentation which included (but not limited to): a Request For Proposal (RFP), a scaled model or drawing of their renovated space, and a budget, however, the format in how that presentation was created was entirely up to students.

Share presentations took place in the library so that librarians, classmates and guests could better visualize the renovation recommendations. Fish tanks, comfortable seating with electrical outlets, a skylight, an additional second floor, a cafe, new paint, updated computers and 3D printers were among the students’ proposals. More on this in the next blog post so stay tuned!

And just like any other unit, assessing learning is essential. That’s why there were several layers of Evaluation with this project. Math content standards were assessed in the scaled model/drawing, the budget and calculation page submissions. Speaking & Listening standards were addressed in the presentation rubric which was designed with input from the students. Writing skills were evaluated with the RFP rubric. And let us not forget self-reflection as this not only helps students to process their learning process but it is great information for teachers and librarians to use to modify and tweak instruction for the coming years too.

Our core learning team for this unit included one math teacher and the school’s two school librarians. Between the three of us, we collaborated, designed instructional experiences, co-taught lessons and served as a support to one another and our students throughout the entire project. Our extended team included the librarians at local libraries in the community and initially an art teacher. Due to a conflict between the timing of the project and the arrival of a baby in the family, this partnership didn’t work out this year, however, we will definitely include it in future years!

As always, thanks for reading the 52 Weeks of Guided Inquiry blog! Please leave comments on the blog or contact me directly on Twitter using @HCHSLibrarian. I’m always eager to brainstorm GID ideas and work to make existing units better.

Sincerely,

Amanda Hurley, National Board Certified Teacher

Library Media Specialist, Henry Clay High School

Getting STEAMy with GID, Alexander Calder, & Balance and Motion

For our final post, we wanted to share about a unit on which we have actually collaborated! Carole, our fabulous fine arts teacher Carrie Howes, and myself came together to create an integrated science unit. While it is still a work in progress, the students (and teachers) have learned a lot and are incredibly passionate too!

The beginning:

On the same day, both Carrie and I talked with Carole about presenting at the HOT Schools Summer Institute. This week-long experience brings together other HOT school teachers, artists and many others for incredible learning opportunities. This summer, the focus is STEAM. The idea of collaboration between the Library, Art room, and classroom was born. As we began planning, GID was a natural fit. The three of us met several times during lunch breaks to brainstorm and lay the foundation for this work.

Carole shared about the concepts and curricular areas that her class would be focusing on. I suggested and found a copy of The Calder Game book to spark the curiosity of the students. Always on the lookout for STEAM connections, I also wondered if sphero robots could add to this unit of study with their connection to motion. Carrie began to research the works of Alexander Calder and connected the concepts of the mobiles to balance and motion, the underlying curricular theme. She also collected and gathered materials for the students to use when creating their group mobiles. Carole created the student groupings and loved every moment of researching the art, science, and technology that would make this unit come to life for the first and second grade students. In addition, our technology teacher Bridgette Schlicker has been partnering with us. We became so excited about this unit and will indeed be sharing it during the HOT Schools Institute!

As with anything, the GID process for this unit has not been linear. One of the hallmarks of HOT schools is student voice and choice. So while some of this unit could be planned, at times we worked flexibly as students helped decide the directions we would go.

Here are the steps in the GID process and how they worked with this unit.

Open:

Carole used several items for the Open phase. The class read aloud is The Calder Game. Together with biographical information on Alexander Calder and pieces of Calder’s art, students were immediately hooked!

Immerse:

Much of the immerse phase took place in the classroom. Students watched YouTube videos of Alexander Calder’s mobiles, museum exhibits, Calder working in his studio, and his circus. Students selected a focal art piece to display in the classroom and spent time looking at Calder’s stabiles. In library class, I had curated as many websites as possible using Symbaloo and students explored these sites. All of this added to their knowledge of Calder and his work. Throughout, the ideas of balance and motion were discussed, although they were not the focus yet.

Image from idaaf.com

Explore:

Again, much of the explore happened in the classroom. Students made stabiles out of paper with partners. They explored balance scales and weights. While reading The Calder game, students drew a five piece
mobile. Extending this further, students then added a numeric value to the pieces to make a balanced equation. An Art Farm performance of the Little Apple Circus continued to expand students’ knowledge and understanding of balance and motion concepts.

In library, we worked with Sphero robots to gain experience with moving them around the room, first using the app to just drive the Spheros and then using the Tickle app which utilizes coding to move the robots.

Identify:

The identify phase has probably been the most difficult. These are first and second grade students and they have constant questions and also this unit almost has two areas of focus, balance and motion and Calder. In library, we created a list of questions about Calder together and then learned as much as we could. I don’t think that these questions were as deep as they could have been. However, I believe that when Carole and her students began to think about balance and motion concepts, these became those deeper types of questions. This works well because the balance and motion is the major focus of the unit.

 

Gather:

In the library, the classroom, and in technology class students collected all kinds of information. We used this Gather phase to integrate some information literacy, such as citing sources and note taking.

Create:

A variety of creations are happening with this unit. Carole began to have her students create Calder curations. She asked them to select three favorite pieces using Safe Search. Students then created a Google doc with an explanation and reflection of each art piece. This was begun in the classroom and continued in library. The Eli Whitney Museum is nearby and students used kits from the museum to build a balance and motion circuses. Mobiles are being created collaboratively with inspiration and information from our art teacher as students focus on craftsmanship. These 2D mobiles will (we hope) be made into 3D objects to use in the share that we are imagining.

Collaborative Mobiles

 

Carrie Howes, art teacher, creating mobiles.

 

Share:

At this time, we are planning to create the “Four Ring Circus” with each group programing a Sphero robot which will be used to show balance and motion concepts. They will also use the elements from their 2D mobiles and translate them into 3D objects in the ring for the “circus act” to engage with. This work will be shared in part at an Assembly (which are held each Friday afternoon) and in whole for the school wide Share Fair.

Image from: superradnow.wordpress.com

Evaluate:

The students will have a rubric to complete for each “circus act”.  They will search for evidence of balance and motion, Calder inspirations, and technical use of the Sphero as they watch each performance.

Final thoughts

From the classroom: If time allows (we are getting very close to the end of the year!) the students will be able to design an individual balance and motion experiment to further test one of their “big questions” about this concept. By combining GID and STEAM elements together, this project has become totally purposeful and engaging for everyone involved.  All learners were able to shine in a strength area with their group as there were so many styles of learning that were needed for the different stages of learning.  So much of the work was hands on and experimental which also raised engagement. The kids were using the language of the 4Cs of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity to describe this work. Students had to push their thinking further in each step. It was astonishing that not one group struggled to balance their mobiles. Because of the groundwork, they have a great conceptual understanding of how to construct a balanced mobile!

From the library: I have loved every minute of this process. While there are days when we literally go by the seat of our pants, the learning has been amazing. Echoing Carole, the student engagement has been so much fun to watch. In the future, I would like to be more intentional about the information literacy skills that are embedded and also assess those more. I would also like to include more student reflection throughout.

We will update this post with pictures of the circus that I am confident will take place!!!

Thank you for learning with us!

Jenny and Carole

 

Hello from Connecticut!

Last March I shared about how I got started learning about GID and the beginning steps I was taking. You can find those posts here, here and here. In July 2016, I had the pleasure of attending the CISSL Institute with two amazing colleagues, kindergarten teacher Jessica Loffredo and 1st/2nd grade teacher Carole Sibiskie. During this school year, I have worked to add as much of our learning from the institute as possible. We understand that this is a process and it has been exciting to see the progress made! This post will be focusing on learning occurring mainly in the library. Our final post will be sharing about a collaborative Guided Inquiry unit involving science, art, technology and more!

 

Attending CISSL was an experience I will never forget. We had participants from around the United States as well as Europe. We represented all different grade levels and subjects. Perhaps my biggest takeaway was an emphasis on reflection. While I had read the GID books, Dr. Maniotes brought GID to life! We did each part of the process together and throughout, every teaching strategy, every tool, every piece that was important to supporting learners, was demonstrated and reflected upon. We ended the three days with many chart papers full of best practices that we could bring back and use with our students. Just as emotions are an important consideration throughout the information search process, they were important to our learning as well. As we reflected on these practices, the CISSL team reminded us over and over about how important reflection is for the students too as they go through each step.

 

For this school year, I set 3 goals for myself. First, I wanted to focus on trying out different ways to Open. Second, I wanted to take all my students, whether I was collaborating with a teacher or not, through Open, Immerse, Explore, Identify and Gather. Third, I wanted to begin collaborating more with teachers.

 

Goal 1: My students and I had a lot of fun and learned about some really interestingresources that support the Open step. For example, the incredible photographer Nic Bishop provides many amazing images to get kids thinking. These 2 pictures from Nic Bishop were my favorites. I also used Wonders from Wonderopolis.com and other video clips.

Photos from Nic Bishop’s books.

 

Goal 2: It has taken me all year, but each of my classes has experienced at least some part of
the Guided Inquiry Design Process, even the preschoolers! The preschool class did this in a very basic way. We read a story about a spring peeper and then listened to its call. We then read a nonfiction book about spring. They had lots of questions and sometimes I think they were mixing Groundhog Day with spring. But we went back to their questions and using either print books or PebbleGo, we answered them the best that we could.

Preschool questions about spring.

Preschoolers recording what they know about spring.

 

The Kindergarten classes learn about their community and world all year long. I framed a question for them about people who changed the world and then read a book about Gertrude Ederle, a fantastic swimmer who beat many men’s records, even swimming across the English Channel. I was even able to find a video about her! They were amazed! As we explored other people, I kept bringing back the question to our focus about how they had changed the world. This is not easy for Kindergarteners. They chose a person who they were interested in and I worked with them in small groups to record one fact that they had learned. Each student drew a picture of their learning and I helped them write their fact down. They have all learned about someone new!

 

First and second graders had been studying trees throughout the school year. They had already developed a lot of background knowledge. I had a thought that perhaps they might like to explore really famous trees from around the world. For my open, I found a Wonderopolis wonder about sequoias and redwoods – one with a car driving through the tree! They were amazed and had tons of questions about these special trees. Paying attention to their voices was important, so that is the direction we went in. Using Symbaloo to curate resources about sequoias and redwoods made Explore fun. These students jotted down ideas that they noticed in the videos and we developed questions together as a class. We took two library classes to Gather information, sometimes in small groups, sometimes independently. I was also able to have these students look back on what they had learned and select the one or two most important items. We are currently working in small groups to Create poems and hopefully will add movements to help express the words as we share them.

 

Goal 3: My goal was to collaborate more with the classroom teachers and I began to do this with the third and fourth grade classes. Each classes was beginning independent project work, so while there wasn’t a group Open or Immerse, I was, for the first time, able to find times in my schedule for the classes to come down to the library and Explore possible topic ideas using both print and digital resources. The classroom teachers loved being able to work together to help find resources and talk things over with each student. I was also able to talk with the teachers about the importance of Exploring BEFORE the students developed their questions. Oftentimes I had seen the questions being written first. This was a huge success! I believe the students were able to go deeper than in the past. Throughout their independent project work, I taught information literacy skills based on observations I was making. Many students were having difficulty searching for information, so we took time to learn about good search terms. We began to use evaluation tools that helped students know whether their resources were credible or not. While these lessons were done in library class, I shared them with the classroom teachers so that we were all using the same vocabulary. We emphasized using more than one resource so that if information didn’t make sense, students had a way to double check.

Selecting key words

Next steps: I think I made progress this year in all of these areas. I am looking forward to next year and being able to work with even more teachers. I am also looking forward to having students be more reflective at various stages of the process.

Finally, all three members of our GID team are also on our district’s NGSS Elementary Leadership team. As we began to learn about NGSS, we all looked at each other because so much lines up with GID. In NGSS, Open = Phenomena. We are excited to use GID as we begin to implement new science units. Another place where I noticed a lot of similarities was in A.J. Juliani and John Spencer’s LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student. Take a look when you have time!

This journey has been such a challenging and rewarding one! I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with such amazing people!

Jenny Lussier, Teacher Librarian K-4

Regional School District 13 in Connecticut

 

Diving into GID

I was supposed to post this earlier but the heat wave took its toll. My school had swimming gala last weekend. The temps were 41 but felt like way higher, throw in the humidity factor and you get a picture of hell on Earth. Standing there from 8:30 till 12:00 was killing. So yeah heatstroke! And hence the delay… Apologies peeps!

Jumping In…

My recent foray into GID has been a lot of trials and errors and I’m still not sure if I’m on the right track. I’ve been reading posts by various educationists who are using GID in their classes, but I think I need a personal coach to tell me where I’m going with what I’m learning.

The purpose of this second post is to share how I used GID with my students. We (not so) recently celebrated Pi Day with a Math evening at our school. For this my students designed their own games from scratch. But way before we did that, we started listing down all the Math concepts that we had covered until now since the beginning of the school year. The topics ranged from place value (7digits), the four operations, base ten, factors and multiples, graphs and charts, fractions, measuring and converting length/weight/capacity/time, area & perimeter, patterns, shapes, angles, etc. Some were still not sure where the conversation is headed, but they thought about the content to make further connections.

They also listed down games that they could look into for the Math Night. These included mostly board games and card games. At this stage, they were questioning and looking for interests. It was loud! But they were so engaged because by then they were beginning to make connections between the content and games they listed. Some even used Chalk Talk to make connections. It is amazing how these kids have started using different strategies to help them learn better. They’re learning how to learn, and that is more important than learning the content itself.

Math Game Design Project - Grade 4

Math Game Design Project

 

Required Elements for the Game – Grade 4

After listing down the games, the students explored the instructions leaflets to look at the format. They picked out the similarities in all the instructions to figure out what they needed when they made their own games. They researched rules for various board and card games to compile a list. We went over strategies for putting the ‘re back into the research’ (a phrase taken from an AIS colleague…yes that’s you Jeff). Do keep in mind that during all this, I was a learner along with my students… there are times when I was so overwhelmed with the process and not even sure whether I was leading them in the right direction.

During this stage the students identified and connected the IB key and related concepts used in the board and card games they found online. They looked for the big ideas to construct their inquiry questions. They also thought about why they’re making these games…in other words goals not just for themselves but learning goals for their audience, especially the lower grades coming in to play them during Math Evening. It is amazing what kids can do when we teachers, or rather adults, let go of the controls. I just loved the conversations bouncing back and forth. They were so excited to teach these concepts to those coming in.

Students worked in groups of three and looked at videos on Brainpop, Khan Academy, YouTube, Math-Play, etc., to start gathering resources to build their own games.

 

Game Project Proposal

Game Project Proposal

 

 

Rough draft/sketch of game

Rough draft/sketch of game

 

By then they were just too excited and wanted to just dive in to start building their games but before that they needed to make checklists and rubric to ascertain their goals. We did this as a class and came up with a rubric assess requirements, rules, playability, design and the accompanying Math questions. They would use this as a self as a peer rubric.

For designing their games they used the Design Cycle since they were already familiar with it. They had used the same for their Passion Exhibition at the beginning of the year.

I think they took the most time during this process. They wrote their game design in detail, starting from how they will make it, who the target audience is, and how the game should be played for a win. They drew their rough sketches to plan their designs.

Math Game Designer Rubric (self-assessment)

Math Game Designer Rubric (self-assessment)

 

 

Math Game Peer Rubric

Math Game Peer Rubric

 

Using the project proposal and sketch draft, they made a prototype and initially played it in their small group to make any changes if needed. Next they invited other groups to play each other’s games to get feedback from their classmates. They had to either justify their design or use that feedback design a solution to the problem.

Lastly, they used the rubrics for peer checking and a self-check. I am so proud of my students for using academic honesty for grading. It is a very difficult task, especially at that age to not focus on the grade itself but on the learning. AS you can see from the rubrics above, their is clear evidence of the connections between the learning and the process.

Next post

Reflection coming up soon… In the meanwhile please help me learn better by providing your feedback. Thanks all!

Hilaa Mukaddam

 

 

 

Shifting the Learning Culture: Triumphs and Challenges in GID Implementation

As mentioned in my previous post, DPMS has transformed learning in all of our content area classes through GID by providing students with an engaging, 21st century, research-based learning model. While we are by no means experts on GID, we have spent extensive time this year learning more about the model, rewriting old content area units, and testing out new techniques and technologies. In this post, I will share with you some tips that we have learned along the way from our own successes and mistakes.

First, we always begin our unit planning by outlining every step of the process using a template provided to us at the Rutgers institute. Outlining each step and the essential learning goals prior to beginning a unit is essential for success. The planning process is a team effort consisting of me, Literacy Coach, Peggy Rohan, the content area teacher(s), and other extended team members such as our Technology Training Specialist and administrators. It is important for us to identify not only the essential questions and learning goals, but also the necessary resources and documents that are needed during a unit to ensure that each team member clearly understands his or her role and the learning activities during each stage. To aid in visualizing our planning process, view our plan for an upcoming eighth-grade social studies slavery unit

Teaching with GID has been a shift for the teachers, and Peggy and I continue to work with them on letting go of the idea that mastering facts and focusing on content is essential to learning in the 21st century. We continue to reassure teachers that what students really need is exposure to the topic and just enough background information to get them thinking about a research topic of interest; students will continue to learn from one another as they share their research at the end of the process. Moving from a “fact-based” curriculum to one that immerses students in inquiry learning doesn’t happen overnight, and through GID we are working to change the culture of learning so that students become critical, analytical consumers of information and effective problem solvers.

Exposing students to content information during the Immerse phase is easy when you consider the many different modern technologies and websites that we have available at our fingertips. When unit planning, I always consider the various tech tools available, and I try to weave in as many real-world experiences as possible. For example, while planning our Africa unit I learned about this awesome new website called Belouga. Belouga provides a platform for connecting students asynchronously with other classrooms from around the world after students answer a series of profile questions on culture, history, cuisine, school, environment, family, and interests. Once teachers request a classroom connection, and once students answer at least 25 profile questions, students are matched with a partner from the connected school, and they have access to their partner’s answers of the same profile questions. Reading profile responses from students in Kenya and Ghana was an eye-opening experience for our students as they were able to read first-person accounts of life on an entirely different and diverse continent. These connections also provided opportunities for rich classroom discussions and ignited student interest in further investigating issues presented by the African students.

Virtual reality is another great way to immerse students in real-world learning. During our Ancient China unit, students took a trip to the Great Wall of China through Google Expeditions. Google Expeditions offers thousands of free, narrated VR tours. In addition, Nearpod is another great source for finding pre-made VR lessons. Even without VR headsets, students still can be immersed in meaningful VR experiences by simply viewing tours on their smartphones or on iPads.

Another important pedagogical shift that we have made involves effectively teaching students how to ask meaningful inquiry questions. In the traditional research model, teachers assign a topic and send students off to try and find basic, often regurgitated facts that answer questions assigned by the teacher (think traditional “country report” where the student spits back facts such as the population, government, sports, etc.). In the GID model, students are responsible for coming up with their own research questions based on a topic of interest. We continue to work with our teachers on the best way to teach student questioning and push them to let go of assigning “criteria” that all students must answer in their final products. In teaching questioning, we have found the QFT model to be a successful way to get students thinking about the difference between open and closed questions. We encourage students to focus on writing “how” or “why” questions to ensure that they are asking only open questions. Once students have brainstormed their questions, it is essential for teachers to confer with students to help them modify and narrow their questions if necessary. Questioning is likely to be a very new skill for students, and many of them will need help with writing a question that is not too broad or too narrow. One final tip: don’t rush the Identify stage. Students need good research questions in order to effectively navigate the process and create a product that leads to new and transformative learning. When we design our units, we estimate that on average we need at least three full class periods to complete the Identify phase with fidelity.

Finally, I want to mention some thoughts about the Gather stage. This is also a stage that must not be rushed. As was often the case in the previously mentioned phases, Peggy and I had to work with teachers to ensure that students were learning the necessary- and correct- research skills that they needed to effectively navigate the research process. Many teachers have the misconception that students already “know” how to research when in reality they have never received instruction on skills such as searching in library databases, choosing effective keywords, ethically using others’ images and music, citing sources properly, or evaluating websites. I will specifically build these lessons into our GID units and either directly teach the lessons myself or provide screencast review tutorials for students. In many cases, the teachers themselves are not aware of 21st-century research tools and techniques, and during our GID trainings, I highlighted the importance of relying on the Library Media Specialist for support and student instruction especially during this phase.

Ultimately what matters at the end of the process is that students are positively impacted by learning through GID. What did our students think of the process after completing a GID unit?  I was curious, and at the end of our Africa unit, I conducted a few student interviews to find out. Please view the video below to hear a variety of student perspectives. Please note that the students in the video represent a range of learning abilities from the low to the high end of the spectrum.

While we have worked hard this year to restructure our learning culture, we realize that we still have a lot to learn. We continue to research, read, and review what we are doing as we learn more about how GID can transform student learning.

Donna Young
Library Media Specialist
De Pere Middle School

The Best Laid Plans

WELL. My first draft of this post was WAY too  long.  So I changed it, and talked less.  A revolutionary idea, I know.  If you told my students that, they wouldn’t believe you. Anyway, this post is about our unit.  I’m planning a mini-post later in the week about the other exciting units happening around me.  I want to share resources but I also know I can’t go on forever, so red text means links if you’re interested in seeing exactly what we used!

This is a unit that has already seen multiple iterations.  For a few years, we read The Diary of Anne Frank (the screenplay), by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and Night, by Elie Wiesel. Those texts were supplemented with discussions of historical background and the use of propaganda by both sides.  However- confession time!-  I was never happy with Night. The combination of difficult language and mature content made it all but inaccessible to everyone but my most gifted students, which led to disconnect and apathy about the whole thing- the opposite of what I was hoping for. Night is, of course, a wonderful book that everyone should read, and I don’t aim to keep my students from struggling, but I wanted them to have a more connected, personal, meaningful reading experience. I struggled with ways to do that over the years, trying everything from ignoring it entirely (NOT what I would recommend) to using dystopian literature to make Holocaust connections, and finally settling on Holocaust historical fiction.  But every year, at the end of the unit, students still had so many questions that we couldn’t possibly answer them all.   For that reason,  THIS is the unit we chose to overhaul with Guided Inquiry.

OPEN:

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”   

Immediately upon coming into class the first day, students were shown this quote.  They were asked to brainstorm for five minutes about what that quote means, whether it’s true or not, and what it could mean for them, or for society. They shared their impressions with each other, and a few volunteered to share with the whole class.  I then told them that this had been translated (albeit loosely) from Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and asked that they add to their original writing, telling me whether or not knowing who said this impacted their perspective and explaining their answer.

We also looked at Holocaust photos and students made observations about what they saw, then made inferences about what was happening, then shared their answers with each other and ultimately with the class. 


Last, we watched a video clip from The Sound of Music. Serendipitously, students had seen a stellar performance of it in the fall at Norman North High School, so they all recognized the song Edelweiss, and we relived intensity of the scene where Captain Von Trapp becomes too emotional to go on singing, so his family joins him, and then the whole audience does, even while the SS Guards are waiting to take him away. After listening, I asked if anyone knew what an Edelweiss was, and they were surprised to learn that it is a flower native to Austria.  We watched a second time, and then discussed why they would all be singing and having such strong feelings about a flower.  I was impressed with  how insightful they were, talking about how the flower represents Austria, and singing along is a way for the whole audience to express their dissent. In some classes this spurred conversations about how important it is to express dissent and how we have many more options for doing that in the United States.  I can only let those go on for so long, but I do love that they’re making real-world connections already.

IMMERSE: 

We hung out here for awhile.  First, we read The Diary of Anne Frank in our literature books. Before reading, we watched the first half of the terrific documentary Anne Frank Remembered. I like watching part of this first because it gives some background information about each of the inhabitants of Anne’s secret annex, and there is footage of the actual annex as well.  This helps students to have some context for what the families endured before going into hiding, as well as what they were dealing with in such a small space. As we read the play, students kept a list of questions they had in their comp books. The play ends abruptly, with the families being discovered by the Nazis.  When we finish reading, we also watch the second half of Anne Frank Remembered, because the students always need closure on what became of Anne and the other inhabitants of the annex in the concentration camps.

Next, my teammates Kasey McKinzie and Leah Esker and I had a carousel of immersion lessons.  Since our ultimate plan was for each student to develop a question about World War II, we each chose a different aspect to discuss.   We taught the same lesson for three days to our own class and to each other’s classes.  The topics were propaganda, concentration camps, and resistance efforts. Students took a note catcher to each class to keep track of information and to generate questions.

The last step was for students to be fully immersed in a WWII historical fiction novel of their choosing. I’ve written several grants over the last few years (I’m SO thankful for our Norman Public Schools Foundation- they help us to great things for our kids), I ended up with fifteen different book choices for my students (if you read my blog last year, you know that I am positively RABID about student choice) with a variety of settings and protagonists. We wanted to students to read their novels, talk about them with each other, and learn about the Holocaust from multiple perspectives, generating questions the whole time.  It wasn’t as neat and tidy as all that, but we did eventually get there. We dedicated almost two weeks of class time for reading, and they did keep a reading log that I checked everyday so I could monitor their progress,  and they completed a reading guide to help me check for understanding and critical thinking, as well as to help facilitate their discussions.

EXPLORE: 

The next phases seemed to me to pass very quickly, especially in comparison with immerse.  We spent three days in Explore, and I wish we had spent longer.  But I was happy with what we did with that time.  With the help of our librarian, we created a symbaloo filled with resources for our students to explore.  As they did so, they kept track of what they may or may not want to come back to on an inquiry log we adapted. They were able to read articles and interviews, watch videos, and more.

IDENTIFY:

Up until now, students had been keeping a list of questions. I asked them to choose one and write it on a post it. We then began identify with a discussion on levels of questions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made sure to emphasize in this discussion that there’s nothing WRONG with asking level one and two questions, especially when you are unfamiliar with a topic.  Then I asked students to put their post it notes one the correct poster for what level their questions were. Here’s what that looked like when it was finished:

There are more post its on the One and Two poster, but the questions really did run the gamut, which I was pleased to see.

The next day, When students got to class, I asked them to get out everything they’d done so far.  This was their note catcher from immerse, their inquiry log from explore, and the list of questions they had been keeping in their comp books. They went through and highlighted the things on each page that were most interesting to them, and then narrowed down to their top three choices.  I asked them to rewrite those choices as questions if they hadn’t already. We then went through this adapted chart to identify together, and students examined their top three ideas closely. We then took a sample question and went through the process of developing a web together.  I did this in my last unit, and it unintentionally spurred this terrific conversation about how you HAVE to answer level one and two questions before you get to higher level questions, and I hoped to recreate that this year.  It worked well.  We completed this example together:

Then students created their own brainstorming maps.  Some of them really responded to the web example:

 

And some of them created a map all their own:

This did require trial and error for some students.  I heard quite a bit of…”Um, I don’t have any other questions to ask?” That was good, because it let me know when a student needed help either writing a higher level question OR if I needed to provided guidance that they attempt another one of their options.

Before students left, I had them write their final (for that day, anyway- we definitely had some wafflers, which was fine!) questions- here are a few of them:

  • In what different ways did Nazi propaganda affect the opinions of German people?
  • How did the medical experiments performed on some prisoners impact survivors mentally and physically?
  • How did the U.S. program of Lend-Lease affect the outcome and aftermath of WWII?
  • How did Nazi occupation of other countries affect those countries and their citizens?
  • How did the actions of those involved in resistance efforts impact the outcome of the war?
  • How were Jewish refugees treated similarly or differently to the way refugees are treated today?

GATHER:

I remember writing last year that I loved Gather because of the switch that took place in the classroom- instead of me showing them cool stuff, suddenly THEY were the ones with the inside information.  That definitely happened again this year, once we turned them loose. Before we did that, we knew we needed to talk about determining credible sources.  The reasons for that extend far beyond an eighth grade research project- in the information age, it becomes more important every day for EVERYONE to be able to determine credibility and to know bias when they see it.  So we like to start with a discussion of Wikipedia and how to use it as a starting point and not an ending point.  We actually read an article on Wikipedia about how Wikipedia isn’t intended for academic use. We also watched this video on determining website credibility, which does have some tips but is most just HILARIOUS.  We also have a great tutorial, that’s really more of a webquest. We have a handout and student find the answers.  (Just like last year, I fully credit my best friend and all-around library mastermind Kelsey Barker with developing this part of the lesson when she worked at Whittier several years ago).

In the past, we stopped there.  But this year, in our current climate, we didn’t feel like that was enough.  With students being inundated with information everyday, we wanted them to have the knowledge to sort it ALL out- not just when they’re doing research.  So we looked at this, which is originally from pigscast, but I saw it when Leslie shared it on Facebook (thanks, Leslie!):

I’ll admit, I was nervous about this.  I think it’s incredibly important to talk about ISSUES with kids, but I think it’s just as important to keep partisanship out of it.  They’re in eighth grade, and many of them haven’t developed their OWN opinions.  I want everyone to feel welcomed and loved in my class, so when we talk about issues, I frame them in the way that they relate to the curriculum.  So I really had my reservations about this, but I could NOT have been more pleased with the way my students handled it.  I issued a disclaimer right away that I didn’t care for the use of the word Garbage, and I would like us to ignore that. We used this to talk about recognizing bias in the media, and how just because something is biased doesn’t mean we shouldn’t read it, but that we should do so with the bias in mind. I really wanted my students to take two things away from this chart, and they found them both.  The first is that The more neutral a source is, the higher quality it is. The next thing I did was have students point to major news outlets on the big screen, and we put little flags by them.  When we were done, students could see that of the places people are most likely to get news, none of them fall into the neutral category. Even though I had reservations, I ended up being so proud of how mature and observant my classes were, and I think it was a really worthwhile discussion.

THEN we turned them loose, armed with all this information, to find their own sources.

CREATE: 

This one was so hard for us to decide.  Last year, we wrote an essay, so we were considering that option.  When we taught the novels in isolation, students did a great creative project about perspective, but we couldn’t figure out a good way to marry that with the research they were doing.  When we were trying to decide, I recall saying to my colleague Leah, “I’m not married to any product we’ve done before.  I’m married to the PROCESS, and I think the product we choose should be a true reflection of that.” She ultimately had the terrific idea of having students create an annotated bibliography.  I loved this idea because it allowed us to stay completed immersed in research the entire time- no one’s attention was diverted by the stress of trying to get a paper written or anything else.  The entire unit, the focus truly was on the research students were doing and the sources they were finding.  In their annotated bib, students had to summarize their source, provide two indications that it is a credible source, and explain how it helped them ultimately answer their question. Here is an example of a finished bibliography.

Okay. Whew.  I’ve done so much talking.   I will link our activities for Share and Evaluate here. For share, once students had their thoughts on paper, we did an inside/outside circle, or wagon wheel, so that they got to hear from multiple people.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our unit! I’m happy to answer any questions or give more information about everything. At the end of every unit, I can’t help but think about what I would have done differently, but I am ultimately happy with the decisions we made.  I’ll be back tomorrow to share some other great things happening around my school.  Thanks for reading!

-Paige Holden

 

Using GID tools with Google Apps for Education

One of the bonuses of being the Curriculum Specialists is that when I need a “kid fix”, I have 63 schools from which to choose to visit. I recently had the opportunity to work with one of our CTE teachers in one of our Tech Centers. The principal contacted me because out tech centers do not have libraries or librarians. While the tech teachers have access to all the library resources, they don’t have the personnel to support them, so the request to help the Biotechnology class came to me. I jumped and offered to come and work with these students.

 

I emailed the teacher and asked for some information about what they will be researching and how might I help them with this process. This is to be an initial research into genetic engineering because later they will be working with proteins and creating their own. Using Google Classroom, I was able to help set up an Explore station for students to look for a topic about genetic engineering they had an interest in exploring further.

I started them in our online encyclopedia, Britannica School. Britannica allows teachers to create Resource Packs to set up its resources in a package for students to consume. Taking the terms the teacher provided, I set a resource pack for them to get some background information and use the Stop and Jot sheet from Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School.

Once students explored some background, we moved to Gale Cengage’s Science in Context:

Students continued to add to the Stop and Jot sheet for this database and their Student Resource in Context.

 

As students move forward with their research through the Identify and Gather stages, they will use the Inquiry Log to help them determine which of the articles to move forward and use for their research. Gale Cengage has an agreement with Google, so students can highlight and take notes right on the article, download load it into their Google Drive. They can share all their notes with their teacher and she can add comments as they go through all the stages in GID.

What was nice for me was to practice what I preach to my librarians, and it was really fun getting to interact with students again and talk to them about what they find interesting!

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

 

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.

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/