And so on, and so on, and so on…

 

I don’t know if you are a fan of New Year’s resolutions, or if you’re more of a #oneword2018 tribe member—but nonetheless, with this new year comes new experiences, ideas, and connections, intentional or not. One of the intentional experiences I’ve set for myself this year is to put more of my own ideas into motion. For some ideas, that means tinkering with them and seeing where they go; for others, it entails sharing them so that they can grow, expand, and evolve as they interact with other ideas, creating new connections and likewise new ideas—“and so on, and so on, and so on,” in the words of the classic 80’s Faberge Organics commercial I was so nostalgically reminded of while watching the latest season of Stranger Things. (Those of you old enough to know what I mean get the reference, even if you aren’t a ST fan 🙂 )

With that said, I am happy to introduce myself and share my experiences and ideas connected with Guided Inquiry to this GID community, expanding my own ideas and connections in the process. My name is Teresa Diaz, and I am currently a teacher-librarian at “Tex” Hill Middle School in San Antonio, Texas. Home to the iconic Alamo and the Spurs basketball team, San Antonio’s rich historical past and vibrant cultural heritage make it not only a top spot for tourism but also for professional conferences, including ISTE in 2017.

Hill MS Learning Commons

“Tex” Hill Middle School is one of 14 middle schools total within a large district of nearly 67,000 students. Serving grades 6-8 with 1100 students, my campus reflects the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic demographics of our school district and of San Antonio itself. I’ve been at Hill since it opened in 2014, starting the learning commons from the ground up. Opening a new school can be challenging, but has offered me the chance to brand the library space as a learning commons and set the tone for learning among the students, teachers, and staff from day one.

Now in my 20th year as a school librarian after starting out as a high school English teacher, I’ve worked at both the HS and MS levels in Providence, Cambridge, Houston, Austin, New York and my hometown of San Antonio. Through these experiences I’ve learned of and experimented with myriad philosophies and methods, such as the CES Common Principles, Essential Questions, the integrated team model, Understanding by Design, and PBL, along with more recent approaches like Design Thinking, Genius Hour, and Flipped Learning. Woven throughout all of these instructional permutations is the ever-present Information Literacy thread that us fellow librarians know to be one of (if not the) most essential elements to developing thinking and learning among the young people we teach, now more than ever.

At my previous middle school campus, I also developed an information literacy strand embedded within a campus-level overhaul of 6th grade studyskills elective AIM (“Academic Individual Motivation”) which aimed (no pun intended) to teach essential technology applications along with other digital skills needed in their core content-area classes.

Like most of you, I’ve tried various Information Literacy (IL) and research process models too, like the Big 6 and MacKenzie’s Research Cycle. But finding them lacking, I came across Dr. Carol Kuhlthau’s ISP model on my own, hoping to find a better framework to use with students. It was then in the spring of 2012 when my district’s Library Services department gave each librarian a first edition copy of Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century and the then-newly published Guided Inquiry Design as the designated alternative for IL/research process instruction that I became a GID practitioner and advocate. Some of my fellow librarians attended the CISSL Institute that following summer, and shared their experiences through pilot projects on their own campuses, followed by homegrown district-level GID summer institutes in 2013 and 2014.

Starting in 2012, I’ve been piloting my own permutations of GID, specifically through the Technology Innovations Project (2013 version) as part of the 6th grade ACL (Advanced Contemporary Literacy) course, a pre-AP level reading class designed to heavily incorporate the research process as part of its scope and sequence. Since that first iteration, the Tech Innovations project has evolved at Hill to reflect a merging of GID with Design Thinking and PBL, and I am sure this year will continue to change just like technology itself does.

Along with this signature GID project, I’ve been lucky enough to collaboratively incorporate GID into other pre-existing and newly designed research-focused projects across all three grade levels, most specifically in reading and English. The most recent GID projects involved a cross-curricular exploration of World War II and the Holocaust to defining and demonstrating Creativity.

Throughout my own evolution in using GID in tandem with other models and approaches, I have come to see the beauty in recombination. As Leslie so aptly shared in her introductory post about the interconnectedness of things in connection with sharing our practice of and excitement about GID as a change agent in education, I found that what makes GID such a strong process is its inherent ability to connect to and leverage other specific strategies and models to augment its own strength as an overarching framework.

With this in mind, my next post(s) will share how one of my favorite tools, the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), beautifully weaves into various phases of the GID framework. My final post will most likely be a reflection on/exploration of the power of embedding the QFT and other strategies within GID, as I continue figuring out how to make Information Literacy both an embedded and overt facet of my own teaching approach with today’s learners.

And to reconnect with my initial intent of putting ideas into motion, I welcome connecting with you online about your own experiences, permutations, and ideas regarding GID and related strategies that work towards making Information Literacy relevant. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@teresa_diaz) or via this blog. I also blog intermittently at Curious Squid, if you feel like reading a bit more of my own observations and reflections on learning “in real life.”

-Teresa Diaz

Top Posts in 2017! Thanks to all bloggers and readers!

Hi GID’ers!

As we close out another year of our blog we want to celebrate all the innovative educators who committed to sharing their reflective practice with us and our community! We are making a difference, telling positive stories about our work in schools and helping others to find new ways to innovate and think differently about teaching and learning in their schools.  This year our 52GID blog had almost 4,000 new visitors with over 13,000 page views!

THANK YOU!

In this second year, we had over 30 participants with 100 posts from all over the US, Canada, Australia, Finland, Pakistan, and Croatia! There have been all kinds of cross curricular examples in all areas math, english language arts, arts, psychology, history, science, leadership and more. You’ve had a great year of growth and as each person shares, we all grow in our understanding of the process, its multitude of variations, and how it looks with different learners.  If you’ve missed some posts, relax over your holiday break and take some time to search some topics interesting to you. There’s  a lot to read about here!

SHOUT OUTS

Congratulations to our top bloggers of the year:

Coming in at #3 Marc Crompton Teacher Librarian, St George School, Vancouver, BC

Marc came in third and had more than 100 views on his entry called “The Questions that Drive Me Forward” where he reflected on a topic near and dear to him- connections between Design Thinking and GID.  These two processes are mutually informing and Marc continues this conversation on his own blog later in the year.  Read more from him on his own blog Adventures in Libraryland – here

#2 is Trisha Hutchinson – Teacher Librarian, Monroe Elementary School, Norman, OK

Almost 200 readers enjoyed Trisha’s reflection on moving from Librarian to leader through collaborating with teachers working with Guided Inquiry Design.  Trisha is a librarian in the district in Norman, Oklahoma where over 400 teachers and all librarians have all participated in the GID Institute and the process is becoming the way students learn across the district.  In her post “From Teacher Librarian to Leader” she explores how GID grew across her elementary school building through her leadership and knowledge sharing on the process and through various attempts at different grade levels.

Our #1 blogger for 2017 is Jamie Rentzel – Norman High School Math Teacher, Norman OK

With over 450 views, Jamie Rentzel topped the readership this year with her post on using GID in math.  Her post Guided Inquiry in a High School Math Classroom, Really? was a huge hit with readers.  In this post she connected the need to link students of mathematics to real world applications and GID is just the platform to do that important work. She goes on to explain how she did just that in her unit on  Sequences and Series.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful reflections throughout this year of growth, helping our readers expand into new thinking about GID as a means to dig deeper into design thinking, leadership and new ways of approaching content learning for big gains with our students.  Win win win!

We hope you’ll join us for this year’s challenge!  Who know’s where 2018 will take us!

Cheers to all readers and bloggers alike!

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

Author and Consultant for Guided Inquiry Design

 

Evaluating and Improving Guided Inquiry Outcomes

Happy Friday! Here in Oklahoma it is freezing and windy outside so I am spending my last Friday of 2017 curled up with a cup of tea and a good book. Quick recap of my last blog post: I wrote about a GID unit implemented by myself (Teacher Librarian) and Elyse Hall (Psychology teacher). The unit was the first of two planned for the Psychology II (Abnormal Psych) class where we explored all types of brain disorders. Inquiry questions covered a wide range of issues including eating disorders, disorders that stem from trauma, social anxiety and schizophrenia. At the end of the unit we surveyed the students over the process and the product. Overall, students wished they had:

  • Taken better notes in the inquiry journal
  • Written down more questions at the beginning
  • Practiced their presentation

Elyse and I took the feedback students gave us, added in a few of our own observations and tweaked our second planned unit. We set up an Inquiry Journal assignment in Google Classroom where students took notes every day and kept track of their questions and observations all in one document. This worked well for us because it streamlined the journal process by only having one document per student and because it was an assignment in Classroom and I was listed as a co-teacher, we could both see all their questions without students having to take the extra step to share their document with me. Elyse also created “check-in” assignments where students turned in (via Classroom) their top questions of the day/week and occasionally turned in their current favorite resource. In our first unit we spent some time doing mini-lessons on how to find articles in databases and reliable websites. This go-round we focused on how to read beyond the abstract with journal articles and scientific studies. A few days before the final presentations we divided our students into small groups and had them do a practice run and receive feedback from their group. Our final product also changed slightly. Students still turned in an annotated bibliography and did a presentation, and they created educational materials that presented their research to a ‘real-world’ audience (patients, teachers, parents, coaches, etc) Instead of limiting students to an infographic this time, they were given a choice board of ways to convey their education materials that included creating a blog, video, podcast, newsletter or an editorial/letter to elected official.

Having the freedom to design back to back units with the same students was very helpful for me as a teacher to see how different techniques and tools improved the research process for my students. While we had the benefit of a very small class (only 12) we were able to brainstorm how to create the same experience and discussion for a much larger class (next semester the class has 35).

Student evaluations were positive and had a very favorable view of Guided Inquiry.

A quick snapshot of some of our evaluation results:

When asked to compare the amount of CONTENT (facts and information about psychology) learned in this class using GID instead of traditional lecture and assignments:

42.6% reported learning more content with GID

42.6% reported learning the same amount of content

14.3% reported learning less than with traditional methods

When asked to compare the SKILLS learned in this class (how to research, write, cite, present)

85.7% of students reported learning more skills than in a traditional class

14.3% of students reported learning about the same

0% reported learning less.

Taking into consideration the fact that class size can skew percentages to look either really good or really bad (in this case, for the better), I found it affirming that when students connect to the content the research skills they master increases drastically. Really reaching to provide the opportunity to connect students to third space increases the overall outcome of success.

A big thank you to Leslie for allowing me to share my GID journey with all of you!

Amanda Kordeliski

Teacher Librarian, Norman North High School

Are You Sure You Can Do That? Designing an Entire Semester Course Around GID

Whew, that was a long break between posts! Last week I shared my love of GID and how I started on my journey as a GID teacher librarian. My journey changed course a bit last year when I moved from middle to high school and started a new position as one of the teacher librarians at Norman North High School. I am excited to share a Psychology unit we completed this past fall at North.

One of the things I love about high school is the opportunity to dive deep into subject areas. You get a chance to completely immerse yourself in a topic to a greater degree than middle school and Guided Inquiry is a perfect fit for these classes. At my high school we currently offer two semester long courses in Psychology in addition to the year long AP Psychology course. The second semester Psych class focuses on abnormal psychology. The Psychology teacher, Elyse Hall, was signed up for our summer Guided Inquiry Institute and we had the opportunity to plan a unit together. The unit kept growing until Elyse pitched the idea of designing the entire Psych II class structure as Guided Inquiry. The process would cycle through the semester covering disorders and treatments in psychology. Our first concept was disorders and we used Immerse and Explore to introduce a large number of disorders the students needed to learn about and give students the freedom to guide their inquiry research in a direction that interested them. At the end of the unit, if there was necessary information not covered, Elyse would “mop up” and cover the content through direct instruction. Then we would repeat the process with Treatment having students using the research they presented in disorders as a new jumping off point for the second unit.

The abnormal psychology class for the fall semester was very small and made a great pilot class for our ideas. Immerse was full of video excerpts, discussions and readings. I compiled a fiction reading list of books in our library collection that depicted disorders in teens and sorted the list by disorder. I thought they would use the book list to compare how a disorder was portrayed in fiction to the reality. The way they actually used the booklist ended up being quite different. Many of the students read at least one book and made notes and questions that occurred to them while reading but were not interested in comparing novels to “real life”. As we moved into Explore and Identify, students brainstormed questions and observations they had on the glass wall I have in my library classroom. The brainstorming was where this class really took off. Until this point they were not overly talkative as a group and getting them to participate in an inquiry group was a struggle. However, once they started writing on the walls, they started commenting on each other’s topics and suggesting resources to each other. Suddenly students are talking about the unit with other teachers and connecting class reading and observations to the world around them.

After they formed their inquiry questions, students used library databases and web resources to gather information about their question. They created mind-maps on giant sticky notes with their inquiry question in the middle and all their resources and how they connect to each other around them. This activity really helped students see where the holes were in their research and helped guide them to the resources they needed to dig through for information.

Students brainstorm questions and ideas about disorders on the glass partition in the library classroom.

In the Create phase, each student had to turn in an annotated bibliography of resources, an infographic focused on the main points of their inquiry question and a presentation where they talked about their question and the resources they used. This three pronged Create worked very well for our unit, students who had a less than polished infographic could field questions and talk about their research. One of the goals of our unit was for each student to have an in-depth working knowledge of a wide variety of disorders and really discover the different aspects of psychology they were interested in learning about.

For Evaluate, we asked students for a large amount of feedback. We had them reflect on each others work in the form of a feedback carousel when they presented, they read all the comments and reflected on what they needed to work on for next time, what they felt they did well and where they struggled throughout the process. They filled out a google form that asked where they struggled and what they needed more guidance with for next time.

For my final blog post tomorrow I will share the insights our students had into the process and what we changed for the second GID unit.  

Amanda Kordeliski

Teacher Librarian

Norman North High School

GID and Me: A Love Story

Hello fellow GIDers!

I am Amanda Kordeliski and I am currently the teacher librarian at Norman North High School in Norman, OK (yes, I am yet another of those Norman GID fanatics). This post is lagging behind when it should have appeared on Leslie’s fantastic blog because this is the first week of winter break for us. You know how you have all these good intentions of how your winter break is going to be the most productive week ever and then you set your computer and your planner aside and don’t touch them for six days? That’s me this week. I stepped away from the crazy of holiday planning and shopping to look at my “real” to-do list this morning and panicked at the thought of not getting my stuff up on the blog!

I have always been an advocate for student centered learning. I see the difference it makes in my own kids at home and with GId I get to see the impact at school as well. Long time readers of this blog will already know that my district adopted Guided Inquiry several years ago and we are in the process of training all our teachers in GId. My journey started alongside the other librarians back in 2013 when all the district librarians did a book study of Leslie’s first Guided Inquiry Design Framework book. Reading this book and seeing the how the framework followed the flow and design of the Information Search Process was my lightbulb moment.

When I say I had a lightbulb moment, I know everyone pictures a thoughtful librarian with a little lightbulb over her head. This is not what happened. See, in grad school when I was studying all the different Information Search Process modules and writing papers over their pros and cons and which ones worked and for what kinds of knowledge users etc, etc, I fell in love with Kuhlthau’s ISP. It spoke to me. I saw in her process exactly how I learn, and I was smitten. So when I say I had a lightbulb moment as I was reading Guided Inquiry Design for the first time, I mean I had a moment when I was jumping up and down in my living room trying to explain how exciting it was that all the things I had written about in grad school about learning and information searching were suddenly packaged in this amazing process with steps and a clear path for students to become inquiry based learners. It crystallized for me all the things I didn’t even realize I needed. It was exactly the thing I was searching for and this was a full blown fangirl moment. There might have been dancing and cheering involved.

I took this new, bubbling  enthusiasm to school with me (Up until last year I was the teacher librarian at Irving Middle School in Norman, I just jumped to high school in 2016) shared the book and a slew of ideas with a sixth grade teacher I had a great co-teaching relationship with, and our first Guided Inquiry unit was born. I will say looking back at the unit now and all the things I did wrong kind of make me cringe, but it is great way to look at the evolution of a unit and how I’ve grown as a teacher librarian to compare my first lesson to my current ones. The next school year I attended Leslie’s Institute and learned how to truly plan a successful GID. At school GID slowly spread from one grade to another and then began moving across content areas. 

Now that you know my love story with Guided Inquiry, in the next blog (the last two will come fast and furious in the next two days) I will share my experience working with our psychology teacher this past semester. We had the opportunity to shape the Psych II class into a complete GID semester long experience. I can’t wait to share!

 

Amanda Kordeliski

Teacher Librarian

Norman North High School

CREATE!

Design Thinking

Dream, design and Do or Make!

As students develop their own question, they are asked to think deeply and compassionately about their topic.  During our most recent session, students were read the story Turtle Turtle Watch Out by April Pulley Sayre.  We brainstormed questions as we discussed the story, and then compared different types of sea turtles and the issues they face in their ecosystems.  Students then shared their learning on Flipgrid based on their research using WorldBook, Vancouver Aquarium, and safe Google searches using search engines.  

 This coming week we will work on designing a protective solution for turtle babies in their habitat.  I look forward to seeing our students in action next week sharing their amazing creations, their research and their critical thinking!  Part of their sharing next week will include peer feedback based on the core competencies in our standards.  

Pippa Davies

Director HCS Blended LearningCommons

www.hcslearningcommons.org

Heritage Christian Online School

Twitter:  @PippaDavies

Identify and Gather

What Makes a Good Question?

The next step was to discuss the validity of questions.  Ground rules were created to encourage students to ask good questions about each other’s presentations, and to move away from a focus on getting the right answers.  We debated open and closed questions, worked on this at home, and then shared good ideas for why open-ended questions are so much more interesting than closed questions.  We have a strict rule that no question is a bad question, but all good questions lead to more questions!  

It was tough for me to take a step back and wait while students took needed time to shift from answer to question.  Initially, they copied each other’s questions, but slowly the conversation opened up to more interesting questions as I role modeled a few of my own questions.  There were a few students who wanted to give answers, but we had to rein ourselves in and come back to the driving questions around ecosystems.  It was definitely a learning curve to move away from the ‘googlable’ answer to understand what we wanted to research further.  

Students were then encouraged to use Pebble Go as a launching base to further their research and examine more about their topic.  Again, they shared their learning using Flipgrid. Some presented beautiful flowcharts, others used the cool iPad app which comes within the Pebble Go, whilst others made their own dioramas or research reports on the biodiversity of ecosystems in British Columbia and beyond.  Again, the focus was on asking questions about the research, as well as learning from the students who were co-teaching their peers.  We touched on the socio-emotional learning as well with questions reflecting how they were feeling as they researched.  Most students enjoyed the process of researching what they wanted to discover.  Some students shared that making their inventions in the first week was difficult because they could not get the right results.  The time taken for producing was perhaps not conducive for further learning.  I had given a framework of one hour per week to work on assignments, but am discovering we may need more time.

Pippa Davies

Director HCS Blended LearningCommons

www.hcslearningcommons.org

Heritage Christian Online School

Twitter:  @PippaDavies

Virtual STREAM Book Clubs Grade 3

STREAM BOOK CLUBS GR 3

My book clubs are ten week sessions, and we meet virtually using Zoom technology.  My class is limited to 15 students because I want each student to have time to present their learning every other week.

I will share some of the success and challenges of running my primary book clubs online from a guided inquiry, and design thinking perspective.  My intention is to scaffold inquiry and engage students to become active problem solvers, to dream big, solve authentic problems and research with passion!

Facilitator and Presenter Roles

The teacher role has now changed from “sage on the stage” to FACILITATOR, and the student has moved from the role of consumer to one of producer or PRESENTER.  In terms of initiating the teaching parts of the guided inquiry, the teacher needs to hook his or her students in with an essential question or focus.  This year I am using our BC new curriculum grade 3 science standards including the essential question, “What is an Ecosystem?”  My role is to get students excited about the topic and big idea, and channel their thinking into further questions about ecosystems close to home or outside of their community.  I also hope to role model the importance of what makes an essential question in science so important, and praise skills as opposed to content!

 

How did I do this?  The first week, I worked with parents and students to understand the shift in pedagogy, and invited them to read some of these lovely picture books on Overdrive e library which would create the movement towards creative responses, and growth mindset.  These books were used as “hooks” to bring in the discussion about art in science, engineering and PBL, and being curious about the world, as inventors and creative designers.

 

I encouraged students to be inventors of their own questions and design something right off the get go.  Each student came ready to share the following week either in our virtual class or on Flipgrid.  Flipgrid allowed our students to present using video technology, and also view and comment on their classmates’ work.  We spent a full hour listening and praising work effort with our student presentations.  The socio-emotional learning was very evident when things did not turn out right.  Check out this video of our student Davis sharing his Egg Picker Upper.  He did eventually get it to work using some extra ideas and appendages. One of my students who experienced challenges with sharing orally presented his learning authentically using a sock puppet and shadows.

Pippa Davies

Director HCS Blended LearningCommons

www.hcslearningcommons.org

Heritage Christian Online School

Twitter:  @PippaDavies

GID in a Blended Learning Commons in British Columbia

Pippa Davies

Director HCOS Blended Learning Commons

November 19, 2017

Our book clubs have been a huge success at our distributed learning school, Heritage Christian Online School.  We serve approximately 3000 students all over the Province of beautiful British Columbia as an independent partially funded K-12 school.  Our students learn with the support of an accredited teacher, using the British Columbia mandated curriculum from a Christian perspective.   

We are blessed to work with a large special needs group of students who are also included in our book clubs.  

Presently we have 5 book club moderators who run book clubs from a guided inquiry approach either using Lit Circles, or STREAM (Science, Technology, Relationship, Engineering, Art and Math) as a framework.

Everything we do in our learning commons comes from our vision of “Encouraging Christian community through discipleship, literacy and innovation”.  We believe in high tech with high touch!

Pippa Davies

Director HCS Blended LearningCommons

www.hcslearningcommons.org

Heritage Christian Online School

Twitter:  @PippaDavies

Marrying G.I. and MakerSpace

One of the best things about Guided Inquiry is that it allows teachers to allow students to “think outside of the box”. Common Core and many other education initiatives eliminated the ability for students to learn at their own place and in their own way. Guided Inquiry allows for creativity, and self-paced research with the child in the driver’s seat of their learning. With this model, the teachers and librarians guide and encourage students to feed their curiosity and creativity. When we allow students to inquire and create in this way their engagement and learning skyrockets.

The second grade students and teacher at the school where I serve as librarian embraced the Guided Inquiry process when they were investigating Presidents and First Ladies. The student engagement was incredible. Some students said they had never read, learned, and written as much as they did during this unit of study!  The inquiry circles allowed students to share what they found interesting and inspiration about our past Presidents and First Ladies. They shared similarities between the Presidents and made connections that might not have been made if a traditional research approach had been used for this unit.

Once the students had completed the Gather Phase for this project, I read What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanock Piven. We discussed the collage-like illustrations and made connections with the materials he chose in order to create several of the President’s portraits. The students used the ideas from this text to brainstorm a list of objects that connected with the President or First Lady they had learned about during the unit. Many students brought things from home, however, I provided many miscellaneous items for them to use for the Create Phase. Our MakerSpace tasks for the month of March was to create President/First Lady portraits. Guided Inquiry and MakerSpace are a match made in heaven. I was very pleased with the growth I saw in students throughout this unit. They learned to take notes instead of copy information from a resource, and they learned how to discuss and share what they had learned with their classmates.

Students could choose to create a collage or pen an “I AM…” poem about their chosen historical figure. Several students chose to complete both tasks. Their products illustrate a small portion of their learning. Below, you can see some examples from the Create Phase of the Presidential Guided Inquiry Unit.

Jamie Johnson, Elementary Librarian, Norman, OK