When Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) decided to embrace PBL, we worked with the Buck Institute for Education (www.bie.org) for training and implementation. BIE shows that PBL is a way to engage students, improve learning, helps develop critical thinking skills, promote creativity, and improve communication and collaboration among students (and teachers!). Librarians are essential in making this process work because of the elements within Buck’s framework, especially the Sustained Inquiry element (http://www.bie.org/blog/sustained_inquiry_in_pbl).
One of my AMAZING elementary librarians has embraced PBL and GID in her school. She uses LibGuides as her platform for all student PBL projects (http://libguides.ccpsnet.net/rees – look under the Projects tab) so all their work to help with all 8 elements are there for students. Tracey uses resources from Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School when students are researching in the library. Leslie adapted the Inquiry Log for a PD she did on student engagement using GID as an example of how to really build students’ metacognitive skills. Tracey (and other AMAZING librarians in CCPS) are using these tools to help enhance and support student inquiry for PBL and other research projects.
Tracey’s school is one of our first who were trained in PBL, so she and her fellow teachers have had lots of practice and reflection on how to make their PBL projects engaging and have the rigor and relevance for the subject matter part of the project. Here are some examples of how students are using the Inquiry Log:
And what do the students say about these GID tools?
C – The inquiry log is helpful because you can look at different sites without taking notes.
N – The inquiry log is helpful because it helps me decide which sites I should use to find the information I’m looking for. It also helps me pick a subject to use. Another way it helps is it helps me decide which facts I can use.
K: The inquiry log helps because many people can’t remember what they read in the websites. Instead of forgetting, you can put the facts on the inquiry log and remember what you read.
Success is when students feel successful and encouraged to dive deep into what they want to learn!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @LoriDonovan14.