A New Beginning

Hello from De Pere, WI, a neighbor of Green Bay! Spring is finally here, the snow has melted, and we are renewed and excited about all that we have learned about the GID process this year. As we will share in this and future posts, it has been a year of exploration, trial and error, change, and growth. Ultimately, what we have learned about GID has inspired us to learn even more about the process and implement it in as many subject areas as possible.

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A view from downtown De Pere

First, we want to tell you a little bit more about who we are and how we came to this point. My name is Donna Young, and I am the Library Media Specialist at De Pere Middle School. De Pere Middle School is located in the northeast portion of Wisconsin and serves approximately 600 students in grades seven and eight. Although this is my first year working in De Pere, I have been a library media specialist and high school English teacher for the past 17 years in other school districts. I firmly believe that I have the world’s best job in the world’s best school!  My expertise in information literacy and technology integration has naturally led to my interest in GID and how it can improve learning for all students.

Working alongside me is Literacy Coach, Peggy Rohan. Peggy has been an educator for nearly 35 years, spending the first 25 years as a special education teacher and the last nine as a literacy coach for grades 5-8 here in De Pere. In both roles, Peggy has been involved in co- teaching in general education classes at a variety of levels, which has afforded her valuable opportunities to collaborate with remarkable teachers in a number of disciplines. The guided inquiry we have embarked upon this school year has been a great vehicle for infusing disciplinary literacy that is authentic and engaging for our seventh and eighth graders.

One of the most exciting aspects of working in De Pere has not only been the partnership that Peggy and I have developed, but also the openness of the staff who have been willing to experiment with GID. This year social studies and science were new subjects for several of our seventh grade teachers. Since the curricular content itself was somewhat unfamiliar to them, the seventh grade teachers especially were very open to providing a different learning structure for their students. One teacher in particular was extremely open to trying anything, and when she approached Peggy and me for help, we were so excited to help her implement the guided inquiry approach.

Using the Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels book Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action as our guide, Peggy outlined our first guided inquiry unit on Mesopotamia. We have since learned a lot from that experience, and our successes and failures have shepherded us as we implemented future inquiry units on fracking, Native American mascots, and the human body systems.

In the posts that follow, we will share with you more specifically what we have done thus far at De Pere Middle School. We will also provide insight into our greatest successes as well as what did not work for us as we engaged in the process. We welcome your feedback and look forward to telling you our unique story and our continually evolving process.

Donna Young
Library Media Specialist
De Pere Middle School

2 thoughts on “A New Beginning

  1. Welcome Donna! I can’t wait to hear all about what went well and what challenges you had this year! It’s so wonderful that you have many teachers across disciplines excited to get going. Thanks for joining us to talk about your journey here!
    Leslie Maniotes

  2. Donna, it sounds like you have had a great year! I love that you folks are taking the opportunity of having new content to also take the opportunity to try a different way of providing learning experiences for your students.

    Looking forward to reading more!

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