Conferencing Throughout the Process

It is the last day before winter break, and like many of you my brain has been working in overdrive.   However, I know that my final post is probably my most important, because it is about listening to students discuss their learning throughout the inquiry process.

As a former English teacher, I always understood the importance of conferencing with students during reading and writing, but I had never thought of it for research. It wasn’t until I became fully immersed in Guided Inquiry Design that I understood how essential conferencing is at every stage of the inquiry process.

Students need the opportunity to reflect on their learning. Conferring with students allows them to express questions they may still have and determine what tools will help them accomplish various tasks necessary to the process.  The key to conferencing is being a good listener.  In other words, you do not tell them what to do, but instead listen to them and guide them to the strategies and tools they may need.

Once I understood that conferring with students was just as important in the inquiry process as it is in the writing process, I built essential conference time with my students into every GID unit plan. When students are exploring resources for interesting ideas, conferencing helps the learning team determine if students are examining new ideas instead of accumulating facts. In the Identify stage, conferencing helps students narrow their topic.  During the Gather stage, conferring with students can often ensure that a student does not go off track while they collect detailed information.  Giving students the opportunity to articulate what they know is crucial to their learning, and essential in the inquiry process.

It has been wonderful sharing some of the things I have learned over the years using GID. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and the best 2017!!!

 

Patrice Lambusta

Librarian

Passage Middle School

Newport News, Virginia

Building a Foundation for Inquiry

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As stated in my prior entry, the first unit I taught as a librarian on inquiry was on pop culture. Students and teachers were excited about this unit because pop culture encompasses so much which allowed for student choice on topic.  The problem occurred with the old NNPS Inquiry model.  It became abundantly clear that “Starting with what you know” and moving directly into creating questions was not working.  My students were struggling with creating questions as a first step to inquiry, because they had nothing to base it on.

Passage Middle School is an inner city school.   We are now close to 70% free and reduced lunch with an eighteen percent special education population.  A lot of our students have not been out of the neighborhood, much less the state.  Because of that, we need to create a strong foundation for learning by building background knowledge.  GID gives us the platform to do this.

In the summer of 2012, a team from my school (which included my principal, reading specialist, science teacher and me) were fortunate to attend the CiSSL Summer Institute at Rutgers University. It was while I was in attendance there that I had a major “ah-ha” moment.

Our team created an inquiry unit on forensic science. I have written about that unit in our book, Guided Inquiry Design in Action: Middle School. The unit was highly successful and allowed our students to collaborate in teams as they explored careers in forensics.  However, it would never have been as successful if we hadn’t spent so much time on the design and implementation of the Open, Immerse and Explore stages.  (In the NNPS model these three stages are rolled into one and called the “Explore” stage, but it is closely aligned to the GID model.) These beginning stages incorporate hooking students, immersing them in information designed to connect them to the topic, and helping them to explore interesting ideas and begin formulating their inquiry questions.  This is huge!!!

Once I discovered the importance of these stages, my teaching changed. I began developing lessons that scaffolded the learning but also engaged students in the learning process.

A Librarian’s Journey to Guided Inquiry Design

Hello from Hampton Roads, Virginia!

My name is Patrice (Patty) Lambusta and I am a middle school librarian at Passage Middle School in Newport News.

Like many librarians, I am a former English teacher who loved to teach reading and writing, but would grow sick at the thought of teaching another research unit. I absolutely loathed Science Fair because I was responsible for the paper, which meant I was also responsible for the research.  Like many before me, teaching thirty ‘tweens how to create questions, locate and evaluate information, and synthesize that information into a paper on a topic assigned to them by the science teacher, was more than I could handle.  Index cards became my nemesis.

I had a wonderful librarian at the time, who tried to get me to collaborate on an “inquiry” unit. I remember running from her in the hallways, because I thought she was just using a fancy word for another traditional “research” project.  It wasn’t until I became a librarian that I realized “research” is embedded into the inquiry process.  It is the process that supports student learning.

I was fortunate that my district library program had already created an inquiry process model and was in the process of integrating it into the district curriculum. At my school, I had created an inquiry unit on pop culture using Newport News Public School (NNPS) Inquiry Process Model.   Students were allowed to pick any pop culture topic they wished.  Although students were highly engaged in the unit, they struggled with the first stage of the original model, creating their own questions.  During 2012, while librarians (myself included) were trying to create rubrics to support the process, we discovered that there were issues with the process itself, namely having students create questions from the very beginning.

As we struggled with how to fix this issue, district librarians began professional development on Guided Inquiry Design with Dr. Leslie Maniotes. We also read the publication Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School, coauthored by Leslie.  Through the professional development sessions and the book study we were able to adjust our Inquiry Process model so that it was more effective.  Our model is now closely aligned with GID.

In the coming two days, I will focus on the importance of the Open, Immerse, Explore stages and conferencing with students throughout the process.

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Little Kids and GID?

Yes, Guided Inquiry is a design that you can use with the littlest of kids. The first GID unit we implemented in my building was kindergarten! That being said, there is a little extra planning and preparation that comes with using GID with primary grades.

Challenges that come with primary grades:

  • Writing independently
  • Needing more movement and hands-on engagement
  • Needs more background knowledge
  • Reading independently
  • Providing choice without loosing structure

Those are some pretty big challenges if you don’t think about them throughout the planning process. If you keep these challenges in mind while planning, you can easily integrate various supports that will allow your primary students to find success and love learning with the Guided Inquiry Design!

Possible solutions:

  • Find opportunities to use centers
  • Use drawing as a writing option
  • Use interactive notebook strategies for the inquiry journal
  • Spend more time during the immerse phase if they need background knowledge
  • Find resources that will read to them
  • Work in small groups as much as possible!

 

For our first kindergarten unit, we focused on the social studies essential question of ‘How Can I Take Care of the World?’ This is a pretty big concept for kindergarten! The learning team (myself, the gifted teacher, and classroom teachers) planned an incredible unit that included inquiry journals, inquiry logs, writing, hands-on centers, guest speakers, and art. It can be done!

  1. Open: In the first page of your inquiry journal, draw a picture of you taking care of the world. That was the only prompt we gave them. Then we reviewed various photographs and students discussed whether it was taking care of the world or not. For example, trash on the beach, putting out fires, teaching children, oil spills, etc. We made sure to include photographs representing the scientific/environmental way of taking care of the world and the community building/relationship way of taking care of the world. After going through that as a class, students had a picture sort in their inquiry journals using a mixture of those photographs and others.
  2. Immerse: We invited various guest speakers to give a 10 minute speech about what they do and how they take care of the world. After each speaker, students drew a picture and had a sentence stem in their inquiry journals. Speakers included fireman, small business owners, water conservationist, recycling person, veterinarian, and public librarians. Again, we made sure to include science and community.
  3. Explore: This was probably my FAVORITE lesson out of all the phases. I had pulled many nonfiction books that were kindergarten level about the science and community aspects of taking care of the world. I taught the students how to browse a book by flipping the pages, looking at the pictures, and trying to read bold words. We talked about how we can get so much information from a book just by browsing. Students worked in pairs and rotated through tables. At each table, there was a book, red crayons, glue sticks, and pre-cut tiny images of the book cover. Students had 30 seconds to browse and then 10 seconds to glue the image onto their inquiry log. Then they either colored a heart or an x to indicate their preference of the content. When explaining the directions, one student said

    What if we only kind of like the book? Should we just color half the heart?

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  4. Identify: Before we moved to this phase, the teachers and I worked together to split the students by what they were interested. It ended up being about half and half. One half really liked all the science books and guest speakers, and the other half really enjoyed the community-building resources. I took one inquiry community and the classroom teacher kept the other one. This is when we used a guided discussion to identify our inquiry question. Yes, it was a struggle to get to a higher level question with kindergarten. But that is where the guided part of Guided Inquiry Design comes to play. We used various brainstorming/mind-mapping strategies.
  5. Gather: This can be especially challenging with kindergarten students because they can’t read independently and they can’t take notes. So what does the gather phase look like? We decided the make it a center. For a week, I was one of their literacy centers, which lasted about 15 minutes. They came to me with their inquiry journals. I introduced them to our PebbleGo database, which is an incredible resource for primary age students. There were different sections that had several articles in each that were related to our topics. For example, there was an entire section full of 8-10 articles about community helpers. There was also an entire section full of 8-10 articles about helping the environment! PebbleGo reads the articles aloud in a non-robotic voice, so I let the students click around and get information. At the end of the center, they drew a picture in their journal about something that was interesting to them or something they learned.

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  6. Create: Students created a more detailed illustration to answer the question of ‘How Can I Take Care of the World?’ This is a great opportunity for you to capture students explaining their art with video, then you can compile them all into one exciting video for your class!
  7. Share: Share the video, share the drawing, share the experience!
  8. Evaluate: What did you like about these lessons? What was your favorite part? Look back in the inquiry journals to help with reflection since that can be challenging for primary students. The main question we focused on for this phase was ‘How was your last picture different from your first picture?’ Teacher translation: describe your learning experience and how this Guided Inquiry Unit impacted your learning.

I’m a believer!

My name is Kelsey Gourd and I work in Norman Public Schools as an elementary teacher librarian. As you’ve read here before, Norman Public Schools have embraced the Guided Inquiry Design and has trained MANY of our teachers, and all of our curriculum directors and librarians!

I’d like to tell a couple stories to share with you why I am such a believer in the Guided Inquiry Process.

In 3rd grade social studies, students are expected to learn about 9-11 specific famous Oklahomans according to the Oklahoma Academic Standards. Previously, this unit has been a bore. I’ve tried to approach teaching it with centers, choice boards, and online classrooms, but still students did not retain any knowledge about the people we were studying. They just didn’t care- much less did they grasp why we were learning about these people.

This year, we transformed this unit into a Guided Inquiry Unit, and although we are only in the Identify phase, I have already seen such a difference in student’s engagement and learning!

Open: We started this unit right after our Mock Election, so we opened this unit by reflecting on the leadership characteristics we discussed from the presidential mock election. What types of leadership characteristics are important? Students wrote about a trait they had with examples of how they show it. One student, who hardly speaks, wrote about how he is humble. I mean, this is third grade! I wrote a note in his journal about how impressed I was with his writing and his trait. I told him how his self-awareness is also a strength. Two days later, this student, who I have known since kindergarten and he has only spoken to me twice, started emailing me in the evening. Just to chat!

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Immerse: We dove into learning about Woody Guthrie, a famous folk singer who is from Oklahoma. He is most famous for being the “voice of the people” and writing This Land is Your Land. We read a couple books about him, watched a couple videos, wondered about him, and finally wrote in our journals about what leadership traits he displayed.

Students were beginning to grasp the higher level thinking that I always wanted them to reach, and it was because of the way the instruction was designed. By using the Guided Inquiry Design, after only 2 lessons, students were analyzing biographies  with the skill and reflection of having 20 lessons with the old way of instruction.

Students were leaving with questions, rather just facts.

Explore: This is where we really took our time. We spent one session learning how to use an inquiry log while browsing print materials. We spent a second session continuing the inquiry log with digital resources. Then we decided to go on a field trip to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame! During each session, students were encouraged to wonder, and reflect on leadership characteristics found in these various famous Oklahomans.

Identify: Today, as a whole class, we worked on identify. The teachers and I decided since the students have never created inquiry questions before, that this would be a great opportunity to model the process. Together, we brainstormed a list of questions. Then we revised it with the following thought process:

  1.  Can we answer this question with a yes or no? Eliminate!
  2. If we typed it into Google, would a simple answer pop up on the screen? Eliminate!
  3. Are there any questions that are similar and we can combine?

We went from a list of 8 questions to 3 high quality questions. But they weren’t big enough. This is where the guided part of Guided Inquiry comes to play. The teachers and I guided the discussion until together we came up with the giant overall question: How did they impact me?

 

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I had three marshmallows lined up. ‘How did they impact me?’ was the big giant marshmallow. The one you can barely fit in your mouth. The other 3 questions that were up on the board (What inspired them? What mistakes or challenges did they face? and How did they become famous?) were the jumbo marshmallows- the medium ones. They are hearty and good questions. Finally, all the little questions we had eliminated were the mini marshmallows. You know, the typical ‘when were they born’ or ‘were they married’ questions. We talked about how those answers were still important and how they contributed to the answer of the big marshmallow.

During each one of these lessons, students left groaning, asking when do they get to come back! This has NEVER happened during our Famous Oklahomans unit. And to think, had we taught this unit like a typical research unit, we would have just skipped right over these steps. The Open, Immerse, and Explore phases of the Guided Inquiry Design are probably my favorite part!

 

Special Education and GID- About Me!

Hello GID fans!

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you tomorrow,

Amanda Biddle

Natural Phenomena – Students Questions from the Middle

As Hermine approaches on the east coast this Labor Day weekend we have a relevant post about student questioning from the middle school level on the topic of natural phenomena. Yesterday, I shared some examples of high school student questions from two different content areas. Today, I’ll be continuing our discussion of student questioning in the Guided Inquiry Design process as we move down the grades to examine some examples from Middle School.

At any level, student questions in Guided Inquiry are a cornerstone to the approach. Inquiry based learning can be defined as an approach to learning where students ask their own questions. Guided Inquiry is uniquely positioned to support teachers to design instruction where a path is paved that supports student questioning through the early phases of the process. 

Paige Holden, a middle school language arts teacher with her team designed an inquiry unit using the Dust Bowl as the starting point for study about natural phenomena.

The overarching question for the instructional design was, “What are the social, environmental, and economical effects of natural phenomena?”

In the design, the team of teachers and school librarian collaborated to determine a concept and overarching question that drove the instructional design. Next, a learning sequence was determined to address the content as students become curious and connect the content to their own lives and interests in the third space. In this unit, Paige and her team examined the standards and focused the inquiry path on social, economic and environmental factors of natural phenomena. They wanted all students to have a grasp of those components.

You can read more about the entire unit from Paige in her posts here and here and here.

The students identified their questions after substantial investigation through the first three phases of the design process. As you read the students’ questions you’ll notice their connection to

  1. Natural phenomena and
  2. One or more of the aspects in the Learning Team’s overarching question. (social, economic, and environmental factors)

Students Questions

What past theories have been developed to explain the Northern Lights, and how have the lights affected tourism in areas where they can be seen?

How did the formation of the Ice Age Impact the Earth and humans?

How do bioluminescent waves affect the ocean and its inhabitants?

How have the discovery and exploration of blue holes impacted different fields of scientific research?

What myths about the cause of the rainbow are evident in cultural and religious traditions?

What is the relationship between disappearances at sea and the Bermuda Triangle?

TAKING LEAP – the Inquiry Trust Fall

Inquiry based learning requires moving away from covering content and opens up to a more facilitated approach, where the teacher acts as a guide. Letting go of covering content is a shift for many educators for a variety of reasons,

  1. The testing climate (we teach so that our students can perform on a test)
  2. The perception of a need to control what students learn
  3. The pressures from outside related to content (curriculum and pacing).

We know that covering material doesn’t ensure students will learn it. Even so, have you ever heard teachers say, “We went over that!” “We covered that, I don’t know why they don’t know this!”

People using an inquiry learning model have taken a leap to trust the inquiry process and their students, that they will learn the content through the process. These questions show this is possible.

Interest has staying power with regards to learning, where material coverage does not. These students’ questions are a fine example that although each student won’t learn deeply about each one of the factors that the Learning Team indicated as essential, they will learn deeply about at least one as it relates to something they are truly interested in.

Let’s look at the student questions related to each factor. Keep in mind that although each student isn’t addressing them all by way of their own question, they are all part of this learning community (or Inquiry Community). From these questions we know that each student will walk away with two important understandings

  1. what a natural phenomenon is.
  2. natural phenomena do not occur in isolation and that it will have an effect on other things

Once the students gain an understanding of those key ideas as related to their own interest they come back together as an Inquiry Community to share their own learning. As they have gained expertise on their question, they will listen to what others have learned with a new layer of knowledge. Their own research will allow them to understand and connect to the other students’ content and be able to apply their own understanding to new content in all three areas. (Think transfer task!)

So how much of these questions will address what the teachers were looking for?

Social – Four of the six sample questions had a social element to it.

  • Tourism is a social activity,
  • impact on humans implies social connections,
  • cultural and religious traditions are socially constructed,
  • and human disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle has social implications.

Economic – It seems one student addressed the economic factors in the question about tourism.

Environmental – Each of these questions being around a different natural phenomenon will provide opportunities for every student to learn about the environmental factors as they learn about the phenomena itself.

The questions about the Ice Age and bioluminescence were centered in the environmental factors.

It’s clear that the learning team allowed students to branch off into areas of interest as long as it was related to natural phenomena and one (or more) of these factors. The variety of questions shows a commitment from the Learning Team to students finding their own interests within the content.

Asking real questions around the content through an inquiry based model while closing down time for covering content, opens up time for deeper learning and applying what students have learned to other essential learnings in authentic ways.  Thanks Paige for the great work and material to reflect on again.

More tomorrow on questions from our smallest inquirers!

Leslie Maniotes

Author Guided Inquiry Series

Beginning with the end in mind – Student Questions from High School

This week we are talking about student questions, what questions students come up with within the context of a GID unit, and how they relate to and address the content of the curriculum.  With these posts, we hope to inspire you to let go and structure your learning using the GID process so that students are doing the asking.

Let’s start with the end in mind.  I’ll begin with high school so that you can get a feel for the level of questioning that occurs in academic content area courses in high school.  Then I’ll work down through middle school onto elementary to show you how those questions look as well.

So, we begin at Westborough High School in Westborough, Massachusetts.  Anita Cellucci and Kathleen Stoker are a GID learning team extrodinare.  Anita, just this week, was named as a finalist for the librarian of the year award by SLJ and Scholastic! Congratulations to one of our best! And her teammate, Kathleen teaches a course on Psychology and Literature that she described on our blog in April. Their work together is what every collaboration aspires to do, their collaborative work raises above and beyond what either of these two could do on their own.

In their course that was expertly designed using the GID process, students had questions that were personally relevant, interesting, and were centered within the content of the course.  The process of Guided Inquiry support your learning team to get students there.  As you read these questions- see if you can

  1. determine what learning goal Kathleen had for her course
  2. see how students are interested in what they will study
  3. think about what might have been something the students had been exposed to or asked to consider before identifying their question

Here they are:

“How are veterans affected by PTSD and what are some ways they are treated?”

“What is stress? What physical and emotional impacts are there due to stress and what are ways to cope with it?”

“How does music therapy affect an individual mentally and physically, and how can using music therapy benefit the patient over other types of therapies?”

“How are students affected by sleep deprivation and what can schools to do to help students?”

“How does art therapy help in ways that other therapies do not?”

“In what ways can technology be addictive and how can this problem be addressed?”

Through examining these questions, the students connections to their own experiences jump out at you, their interests are clear, and the content is also evident even without knowing the syllabus for Kathleen’s Psychology in Literature class.  It also seems that they had some idea that there were therapies that could help people, and most students were interested in knowing about the problem as well as the solutions that exist for that problem.  Pretty exciting topics and worth sharing with a wider audience, don’t you think!?  To read more about this unit, read Kathleen’s posts from April.  They’ll be doing this unit again this year, so maybe we’ll get a round 2 of blog posts to hear how it went this year! 😉

The next unit offers us a little sneak peek into the book coming out in December as this unit is described in detail there!  The book is Guided Inquiry Design in Action: High School.  In it we have four units of study just like we did in the Middle School book!  The unit Anita and Marci did was described here in Marci and Anita’s posts. They worked together on a Physical Science unit for ninth grade. Through the process they built a large inquiry community with the many sections of this course and they met in the large library 2 sections at a time.  When it came to Identify the students wrote their questions on chart paper that were posted around the library so that all the students could see the variety of interests across all groups in the larger InquiryCommunity.  Here’s a picture of one of the charts.IMG_8371

Some of the students questions

What is the role of gravitational force in our everyday lives? And, in what ways can it be changed into a different form of force?

How do different types of media effect sound waves and how does this relate to communication?

How are Newton’s laws related to earth and in what ways is this information used to explore other planets?

In what ways does the architecture of a building effect it’s stability in the wind?

What is the role of force and friction in field hockey?

How can a figure skater improve by studying physics?

Again, with these questions you can see a direct tie to the content of physical science and physics.  Students have a real desire to know the answer to these questions.  The questions connect to their lives and are bridges to the Third Space.  There is higher order thinking going on as well as interpretation and application of content from the first three phases evidenced in these questions.

I like how a few of them use the beginning frame of  “In what ways… Or what role does…”  Notice, we often say “why questions” are the most open ended, but “what questions” are really useful when students know enough background knowledge to ask a “what question” that will take them deeper into the content, as these do here.

So this sample of REAL questions are examples to you, to calm your fears of students asking off the wall questions that won’t relate to the content of the course.  And to help you trust the process, because when you design units using EVERY phase of GID, students identify wonderful useful questions.

Thanks again to Anita, Marci and Kathleen for sharing their work with me and all of us!

More on middle school questions in the next post!

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

Author of the Guided Inquiry Series

A-HA Moment

A-ha moments

As I close out my fourth year of the GID project, I am thinking about some of the connections that my students make.  First, I believe that science gets a bad rap.  Yes, it IS hard, but not impossible.  Students seem to have roadblocks in their minds about science and what it really means.  Students were asked to connect their inquiry question with any part of a topic in physics.  As soon as I said the word physics, students’ eyes got huge.  They were not confident they understood what physics was.  As we plugged along with the project this spring, I kept reminding students that they needed to relate their research back to physics.  

But, what did that mean?  These kids were really stressing out.  So, one day, we took out the old-fashioned textbook.  I asked students to flip through the book and see if there were any words/phrases/topics, etc. that they have seen within their research.  The goal was to recognize that physics was embedded in their current research – it was implied through the articles that they were already reading.  

For example, one student came after school one day.  She really was panicking stating that there were no physics connections to her topic.  I asked the student just to tell me, in her own words, what she had been reading.  After the student says that ‘nothing about physics,’ she proceeds to describe the aurora borealis.  I let her speak for about a minute.  I stopped her and repeated one of her sentences….the aurora borealis consists of light (physics) with different wavelengths (physics) and speed of light (physics times two)….  I then asked – what are waves, what about the electromagnetic spectrum?  The surprised look on this girl’s face when she realized that she was already reading about physics and it wasn’t a formal chapter that she had to learn about was fabulous.  

I did, in fact, have several of these types of conversations with my students.  It was great to see the relief and awareness that they had already made meaningful connections.  While the textbook was helpful, conversations were also very important.

Marci

GIDesign @ BCPS: Moving Forward

Hello again from Baltimore County Public Schools!  Since adopting Guided Inquiry Design as the process for our Online Research Models (ORMs) in 2012, we have provided professional learning for school library media specialists and teachers to promote and support its use with students.

At the start of the 2012 school year, we purchased a copy of Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School for each of our school librarians. We engaged in a book study during the 2012-13 school year, coming together in Elementary, Middle, and High school groups to discuss our learning at quarterly half-day Professional Development sessions. This helped to ensure that all school librarians had a solid foundation in the GID model and would be able to use it– not only for facilitating our curriculum-aligned Online Research Models district wide, but also for designing customized research tasks in collaboration with classroom teachers at their own schools.

Since 2014, the BCPS Office of Digital Learning has offered an after-school workshop called Facilitating Student Research each fall and spring to support K-12 teachers in all content areas with using our ORMs and Guided Inquiry in the classroom. This workshop is a module in our Digital Learning University (DLU) continuing professional development course. DLU allows teachers to design their own professional learning by choosing 5 workshops from a variety of offerings during the school year for credit. The Facilitating Student Research workshop features our Online Research Models and highlights the 8 phases of GID.

In 2013, the Library Media team was asked to design a research portal for a Grade 6 Reading course focused on CCSS-aligned skills for conducting research to build and present knowledge. The portal would structure the inquiry-based process, connect to curriculum lessons, and curate resources for the Performance-Based Assessments (PBAs) for each unit. We used GID to create this Grade 6 Reading Research Portal, which has been used for the last three years and will be revised this summer based on curricular changes and ongoing feedback from students, teachers and librarians.

GID_gr6portal

In 2014, we began designing an online Grades 5-8 Research Guide structured using the 8 phases of GID. Our idea was to curate skill-building resources and tools aligned to each GID phase. We also plan to link to resources in this guide in our ORMs. We plan to continue revising and improving this resource this summer.

GID_5-8guide

Our work in promoting and facilitating the use of Guided Inquiry in BCPS has not been without its challenges. We do have some goals for expanding our use of the model, and for using it in more impactful ways for students. I’ll talk about our next steps in another post later this week.

Kelly Ray, Library Media Resource Teacher
Office of Digital Learning
Baltimore County Public Schools