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