Hello, my name is Christie Gudowski, and I serve as the school librarian at Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio, Texas. Reagan enrolls approximately 3,600 students in a suburb of the city with a predominately hispanic and white population and 12% SES, according to the state report card.
I became interested in Guided Inquiry Design as an 8th grade reading teacher. Members from my school district attended the GID training at Rutgers, including my planning partner at the time. Our incredibly compatible work relationship made the venture into GID approachable and successful. We were looking for a new research method and our students were willing to take the challenge with us. Our approach was to follow the framework and not be afraid of adjustments in our implementation as needed. We planned closely together and debriefed sometimes between class periods if we felt the need to tweak the lesson. Though we initially struggled with question-writing, like many others, the benefits of GID were apparent with on-level and advanced classes. The process made so much sense because GID was a way of organizing research in a manner that would scaffold our students’ metacognition, differentiate the process, and guide our students to success. It was what we were unknowingly looking for to deepen our student’s curiosity about the world around them and love for learning. Utilizing students’ excitement and curiosity about the 2012 Olympics, we invited Josh Davis, a local Olympian, who willingly addressed our students and shared his story during the OPEN phase of the process. This was a synergistic opportunity to share GID with our 8th graders! We were extremely pleased with the results. Our students voraciously researched, read, and shared their newly found knowledge about Olympians, Olympic sports, or Olympian history. Students’ reflections demonstrated their pride in their inquiry journals and the project overall.
After becoming a high school librarian in 2014, I strongly believed that I need to incorporate GID into research projects as I collaborated with teachers. In middle school, it is acceptable and common for teachers to spend 3-4 weeks on a single project. For factors that would take up an entire blog of their own, our high school teachers do not have that sort of flexibility in their scope and sequence. I could not abandon GID, so I found ways to introduce it to teachers in small bites throughout the school year. During my first year I asked a lot of questions like:
- Can I help your students find that information in the databases?
- What introduction would make this topic more appealing to your students?
- What questions do your students have about that topic?
- Where do you see students doing the most thinking in this lesson?
- Do you want your students to write a research paper or a report?
Reagan’s English teachers quickly realized the benefits of critical thinking required by GID process for students in their future post-secondary education. Understanding that college and career readiness is imperative for our students, the English IV on-level team worked closely with me over the last four years to take our seniors through the GID framework. Incorporation of other resources, such as Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog by William Badke, helped us create Research Road, on which we travel from November to May, as a visual for students to understand the pace and process. Research Road is an on-going work in progress, however I believe we’ve needed fewer major changes as our experience grows.
So, that’s what I’ll be sharing with you about this week: some of my experiences on how to bridge GID from middle school to high school.