A Fresh Take on App Smashing

 

Click here to read my introductory post in this series

Flipped Classroom. Formative Assessment. Differentiated Instruction. Blended Learning. These terms are just a few among the growing list of popular approaches gaining traction in today’s classrooms, either because they offer innovative twists on valued instructional methods, or uniquely pair new and old strategies that work effectively together.

Take Blended Learning, for example—a mash-up of familiar face-to-face instruction with technology-rich digital content or activities that offer students a way to learn that’s multidimensional, differentiated, and engaging. Then there’s App Smashing, another form of blending specifically involving technology tools—a mash-up of various tablet-based applications to “create projects or complete tasks” that play upon the apps’ strengths to augment the learning experience for students.

This kind of Conceptual Blending may be considered de rigueur, but is actually one of “six essential aptitudes” Daniel Pink spotlights in his book A Whole New Mind, coined as Symphony.

According to Pink, we no longer live in an Information Age, but are actually in the midst of a Conceptual Age—where the Symphony “aptitude” is one we will all need to flourish, student and teacher alike:

[Symphony] is the capacity to synthesize rather than to analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns rather than deliver specific answers; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.

In the spirit of conceptual blending, one way to embrace our own symphonic abilities and cultivate those among our students is to try blending or “smashing” approaches that might work together synergistically. Like chocolate and peanut butter, sometimes two great approaches can work well together, and as a result, become something more powerful as a sum of this new combination.

Pink calls this use of conceptual blending the “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Theory of Innovation,” which ventures that “sometimes the most powerful ideas come from simply combining two existing ideas nobody else ever thought to unite.”

Take the Question Formulation Technique and the Guided Inquiry Model―two approaches that make sense to “smash” together based on their complementary attributes.

What is the QFT and How Does it Work?

Just as the GID framework offers a fresh way to approach research with students through inquiry-based learning, the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) offers a fresh way to approach and cultivate the art of questioning with students.

The QFT “requires one small but significant shift in practice”—students asking the questions instead of the teacher. In Guided Inquiry, a parallel shift happens—from the usual norm of curriculum-dictated research questions to one where the students generate them on their own via a multiphase process of inquiry.

Blended together, these two approaches make for a powerful pairing, highlighting inquiry through questioning.

Developed by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana of The Right Question Institute, the QFT is a deceptively simple technique designed to get students to produce, improve, and prioritize questions centered on a Question Focus (QFocus). Through a step-by-step process, students engage in sophisticated, complex thinking and subsequently deeper learning.

Rothstein’s and Santana’s book Make Just One Change offers explicit instruction on how to put the QFT into action, providing examples of how other teachers have used the technique across disciplines. You can also join the Educator Network for free and gain access to the Educator Resources that include downloadable presentations, guides and handouts for you and your students.

I first discovered the QFT by happy accident, and since then, have become not only a huge fan but an active practitioner, self-taught facilitator and devoted advocate after seeing firsthand how effective it can be in transforming the questioning abilities and thinking capacities of those who try it. You can read more about my experiences with the QFT here. In the summer of 2016, I was lucky enough to attend one of their conferences, gaining a deeper working knowledge of the technique through lots of hands-on practice.

Since then, I look for every opportunity to use it collaboratively with teachers and students. During our October campus staff development day, I trained interested teachers in the QFT using our school mission statement as the QFocus. Last week, students practiced it to generate questions about the novel The Outsiders. In the upcoming weeks, all 8th grade students will use the QFT to generate guiding questions for their own Genius Hour projects. See this slideshow for examples of QFT questions generated by my campus students and teachers.


QFT in a Nutshell

Facilitating the QFT centers on following this step-by-step process:

{Note: The explanation of these steps is paraphrased from a more detailed document available in the Educator Resources}

  1. A Question Focus (QFocus)

A stimulus; a springboard you will use to ask questions; it can be a topic, image, phrase or situation—but it CANNOT be a question

  1. The Rules for Producing Questions
  • Ask as many questions as you can  
  • Do not stop to discuss, judge, or answer any questions  
  • Write down every question exactly as it is stated  
  • Change any statement into a question
  1. Producing Questions

Formulate as many questions in the allotted time, remembering to follow the rules!

  1. Categorizing Questions

Identify open/closed questions; change one closed into an open & vice versa

  1. Prioritizing Questions

Prioritize your top 3 questions; if working together, this must be a consensus decision

  1. Next Steps

How will these questions be used?

  1. Reflection

Reflect on the process of generating questions; what have you learned and how can you use it?

In the Educator Resources you’ll find some very handy presentation slides to easily guide you and your students through the process. The QFT’s magic dwells within the step-by-step technique and the QFocus itself. Choosing an effective QFocus takes some finesse, hovering somewhere between an art and a science. But when you find that sweet spot, you will be amazed at the types of questions—and the types of thinking—that students share and show.


A Perfect Pairing: Where the QFT Connects to GID

When looking at the GID framework and the QFT together, their overlapping qualities make a strong case for interweaving them instructionally.

Asking Questions

Both GID and QFT move students beyond basic fact-finding questions to those that involve higher-order thinking by prompting them to develop their own questions about a notable concept, issue or problem. In GID, students “form their own questions through experiences, reflection, conversation, and writing in the early phases of the inquiry process.” In QFT, students utilize the technique to form their own questions through a systematic process that reflects their own curiosities and as a result, their own thinking.

Third Space

As in GID, the QFT has a similar intention to merge the worlds of school and student by allowing students to construct their “new worldviews rather than having to take on the teacher’s perspective or those mandated by the curriculum or textbook” via developing their own questions and using those throughout the inquiry process.

The QFT uses a streamlined formula that draws on students’ own world by allowing them to generate the questions without bias or intervention, versus answering those generated from the curricular world. In that sense, students can then begin creating the Third Space themselves in a way through the questions they are generating.

Self-Determination Theory & Zone of Proximal Development

Self-Determination Theory and Zone of Proximal Development are key players in making both Guided Inquiry and the Question Formulation Technique dynamic and impactful methods to use with students.

Self-Determination Theory is based on three conditions that underpin and foster intrinsic motivation: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The Zone of Proximal Development is that “sweet spot” between what students can do with help, and what they can do on their own.

Both GID and the QFT strategically place students in the driver’s seat of their own inquiry. In GID, students use their own gravitations and emerging questions to propel their inquiry, developing independence and control over what they learn during the inquiry process. Since the QFT doesn’t layer on stringent parameters as to the kinds of questions students can ask, this stylistic freedom creates autonomy.

Both approaches layer in competence (the feeling of being capable enough to reach success) and relatedness (the ability and opportunity to make connections to each other) through the structure and nature of what is asked of students. In GID, the Learning Team designs and plans specific guidance in the form of feedback and interventions for students as needed to ensure that they are still on track while comfortably struggling within a “zone of intervention,” based on the Zone of Proximal Development.

With the QFT, students can be grouped in a variety of ways that leverages interpersonal connections through collaborative brainstorming of questions, which are then classified and evaluated in a team-based format. Along the way, teachers act as guides on the side, facilitating without intervening, avoiding modeling the questioning process while keeping the students actively caught in that “sweet spot” of learning on their own, the only safety net being the technique itself.

Creating a Community of Self-Directed Learners

The QFT and GID work toward the same goal—creating a community of inquiring minds who want to know, and can learn on their own. Guided Inquiry provides a pathway to developing a “dynamic inquiry learning community” by creating a safe atmosphere that encourages consideration of “varied points of view” from both information and from learning peers. The QFT leads to a new kind of self-actualization and empowerment in the classroom by encouraging students to take learning in their own hands; this in turn helps create “an informed citizenry” that can move beyond questions to making decisions and taking action:

“This way of learning prepares students to think for themselves, make thoughtful decisions, develop areas of expertise, and learn throughout their lives.”

Just as developing fluid and sophisticated questioners doesn’t happen through one QFT experience, building an Inquiry Community will take practice and time. The QFT can be a lynchpin strategy to not only build questioning capacity in students and lead to thoughtful and provocative guiding research questions, but also play a significant role in building an Inquiry Community within GID. Using the QFT embedded within GID offers the Learning Team and the students additional opportunities to cultivate independence, divergent/convergent thinking, and metacognition via as-needed intervention experiences.

My next post will share specific points within the GID framework for integrating the QFT. As I’m guessing you can tell, I love to talk about the QFT, so feel free to connect with me on Twitter (@teresa_diaz) or via this blog to continue the conversation.

To see my first post for this 52GID Challenge, click here 🙂

-Teresa Diaz

And so on, and so on, and so on…

 

I don’t know if you are a fan of New Year’s resolutions, or if you’re more of a #oneword2018 tribe member—but nonetheless, with this new year comes new experiences, ideas, and connections, intentional or not. One of the intentional experiences I’ve set for myself this year is to put more of my own ideas into motion. For some ideas, that means tinkering with them and seeing where they go; for others, it entails sharing them so that they can grow, expand, and evolve as they interact with other ideas, creating new connections and likewise new ideas—“and so on, and so on, and so on,” in the words of the classic 80’s Faberge Organics commercial I was so nostalgically reminded of while watching the latest season of Stranger Things. (Those of you old enough to know what I mean get the reference, even if you aren’t a ST fan 🙂 )

With that said, I am happy to introduce myself and share my experiences and ideas connected with Guided Inquiry to this GID community, expanding my own ideas and connections in the process. My name is Teresa Diaz, and I am currently a teacher-librarian at “Tex” Hill Middle School in San Antonio, Texas. Home to the iconic Alamo and the Spurs basketball team, San Antonio’s rich historical past and vibrant cultural heritage make it not only a top spot for tourism but also for professional conferences, including ISTE in 2017.

Hill MS Learning Commons

“Tex” Hill Middle School is one of 14 middle schools total within a large district of nearly 67,000 students. Serving grades 6-8 with 1100 students, my campus reflects the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic demographics of our school district and of San Antonio itself. I’ve been at Hill since it opened in 2014, starting the learning commons from the ground up. Opening a new school can be challenging, but has offered me the chance to brand the library space as a learning commons and set the tone for learning among the students, teachers, and staff from day one.

Now in my 20th year as a school librarian after starting out as a high school English teacher, I’ve worked at both the HS and MS levels in Providence, Cambridge, Houston, Austin, New York and my hometown of San Antonio. Through these experiences I’ve learned of and experimented with myriad philosophies and methods, such as the CES Common Principles, Essential Questions, the integrated team model, Understanding by Design, and PBL, along with more recent approaches like Design Thinking, Genius Hour, and Flipped Learning. Woven throughout all of these instructional permutations is the ever-present Information Literacy thread that us fellow librarians know to be one of (if not the) most essential elements to developing thinking and learning among the young people we teach, now more than ever.

At my previous middle school campus, I also developed an information literacy strand embedded within a campus-level overhaul of 6th grade studyskills elective AIM (“Academic Individual Motivation”) which aimed (no pun intended) to teach essential technology applications along with other digital skills needed in their core content-area classes.

Like most of you, I’ve tried various Information Literacy (IL) and research process models too, like the Big 6 and MacKenzie’s Research Cycle. But finding them lacking, I came across Dr. Carol Kuhlthau’s ISP model on my own, hoping to find a better framework to use with students. It was then in the spring of 2012 when my district’s Library Services department gave each librarian a first edition copy of Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century and the then-newly published Guided Inquiry Design as the designated alternative for IL/research process instruction that I became a GID practitioner and advocate. Some of my fellow librarians attended the CISSL Institute that following summer, and shared their experiences through pilot projects on their own campuses, followed by homegrown district-level GID summer institutes in 2013 and 2014.

Starting in 2012, I’ve been piloting my own permutations of GID, specifically through the Technology Innovations Project (2013 version) as part of the 6th grade ACL (Advanced Contemporary Literacy) course, a pre-AP level reading class designed to heavily incorporate the research process as part of its scope and sequence. Since that first iteration, the Tech Innovations project has evolved at Hill to reflect a merging of GID with Design Thinking and PBL, and I am sure this year will continue to change just like technology itself does.

Along with this signature GID project, I’ve been lucky enough to collaboratively incorporate GID into other pre-existing and newly designed research-focused projects across all three grade levels, most specifically in reading and English. The most recent GID projects involved a cross-curricular exploration of World War II and the Holocaust to defining and demonstrating Creativity.

Throughout my own evolution in using GID in tandem with other models and approaches, I have come to see the beauty in recombination. As Leslie so aptly shared in her introductory post about the interconnectedness of things in connection with sharing our practice of and excitement about GID as a change agent in education, I found that what makes GID such a strong process is its inherent ability to connect to and leverage other specific strategies and models to augment its own strength as an overarching framework.

With this in mind, my next post(s) will share how one of my favorite tools, the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), beautifully weaves into various phases of the GID framework. My final post will most likely be a reflection on/exploration of the power of embedding the QFT and other strategies within GID, as I continue figuring out how to make Information Literacy both an embedded and overt facet of my own teaching approach with today’s learners.

And to reconnect with my initial intent of putting ideas into motion, I welcome connecting with you online about your own experiences, permutations, and ideas regarding GID and related strategies that work towards making Information Literacy relevant. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@teresa_diaz) or via this blog. I also blog intermittently at Curious Squid, if you feel like reading a bit more of my own observations and reflections on learning “in real life.”

-Teresa Diaz

Lead, Reflect, Inspire: 52-GID in 2018

I’m Leslie Maniotes- co-creator and author of the Guided Inquiry Design process and book series, leader of this blog. I’m taking the blog, for one post, to welcome this new year, set the vision for this work and inspire engagement.

Get a cup of tea or your favorite beverage, I’m here to tell you a story.  I made this post a pretty hyperconnected document so you can dig in more deeply to the details of my story, if you are so moved. Enjoy!

As many of you know I live in Colorado.  My husband and I moved out here from North Carolina, when I was accepted to the Doctoral program at CU Boulder in 2000.  Having lived in North Carolina for 15 years prior, we loved exploring the Boulder area and showing our new digs to friends visiting from the east coast.  One time, back in 2004, we were in Boulder, on the famous Pearl Street mall, with some friends from our Guilford College days, and as we crossed Broadway, a man on a bicycle was zooming by.  Being the observant guy he is, my husband recognized that this was not just another fit conscious Boulderite or Boulder professor scooting off to class, but it was the famous David Byrne from the Talking Heads. (wikipedia is good for some things)

Having graduated high school in the Stop Making Sense era – he was an icon we all recognized. We all shouted “Hey David!” To which he turned, smiled, and gave us a big wave as he bumped down the curb. This was back in 2004 and David was beginning his quest starting with riding bikes in the cities he was visiting. Turns out, he loved the experience as it gave him a new perspective on the cities and so he got involved in the bike sharing movement.

Well, 14 years later, David is telling a larger story with his new record album  which he says is about looking and asking . (Fitting for Guided Inquiry, right?) And, he is finding new channels to tell this story about Reasons to Be Cheerful.

In his talk at the New School this week, he shared some really inspiring “cheer worthy” stories, that he has been a part of across the globe.  In this speech, he also named a few key qualities to all that he found. These good ideas;

  1. Typically arose from the bottom up
  2. They were not specific to any one culture
  3. They were proven to be successful by the people themselves.
  4. They were not singular isolated incidents of goodness, but could be replicated

It’s pretty inspiring to hear about ordinary people becoming more engaged in their communities through libraries, community events, and organizing. There’s great possibility in when a group of people believe in something- they declare “THIS IS IT!!” and spread that feeling by taking action and replicating the results in their own contexts.

A little sidebar- in his talk at the New School he showed this graphic (at about minute 34) of a UPenn study in New York neighborhoods. It showed how cultural resources, libraries and community arts centers, postively impacted the people who live in those communities. Byrne mentioned this and then said all things are connected. Things that you think might not be connected, actually are. He specifically named that child abuse, obesity, crime went down, while student test scores in schools rose 18% in these vibrant communities with rich cultural resources.

So, you may be wondering why I’m mentioning this here.  Well, this blog is our community of practice!  You have decided that Guided Inquiry is IT! It has helped you reach students in new ways, teach the way “you’ve always wanted to teach”, engage students, lead others, and be a better professional!  This blog is how we share that practice. This blog serves as a space that is changing the narrative of what is happening in education.  Through your stories, as we raise our voices together, we are sharing many things to be cheerful about in education.

Many people don’t know about Guided Inquiry, but through your stories, people are learning that schools can include more voice and choice. Students can create inspiring and creative works to share their knowledge and understandings with others, and that through inquiry, our students learn to be connected to their world in ways before unimaginable.

With that, won’t you please join me for another year of cheer, of leadership, and of reflection where educators across the globe are inspired by the possibility of Guided Inquiry Design, where others might come and replicate your ideas, to make their community and schools more vibrant with questions and student voice in learning, like yours.

Here’s to another great year! We can’t wait for you to tell your story. Thanks for being a part of it.

On January 21st, we welcome Teresa Diaz who will kick off the new year.  She is new to the blog, a middle school librarian from San Antonio, Texas. She will share her learning about using the QFT within the framework of GID.  Stay tuned folks! And sign up , if you haven’t already! 

Peace and Joy to you all!

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

Author/Education Consultant for Guided Inquiry Design

Creator of Guided Inquiry Design (with Dr. Carol Kuhlthau and Ann Caspari)

NEW YEAR, New Challenges, Continuing the great work!

Over the past two years our 52GID blog has been a great boost to people practicing inquiry based learning, and we would love to continue the momentum in 2018. We can boast about some of our awesome stats. Currently, thanks to you, we have 145 regular subscribers and about 50 authors and the blog has logged over 13,000 views worldwide over the past 2 years.

We consider this to be a growing community of practice committed to sharing best practice in inquiry based learning, as we grow together as professional educators.

This year we have learned all kinds of new things from you all- like

  • getting great questions from students is not as easy as you might think, and
  • Guided Inquiry is a great way to differentiate instruction, and
  • through GID many educators are filling the role of teacher leader in their school as they share the practice with others – and so much more…

We are learning from each other and want this learning to continue and grow!

One of our active 2016-2017 bloggers called blogging for us one of the best professional development experiences of her year! (Thanks, Kelsey Barker!)

Here at BLV Consulting, we value professional development, and personalized PD. I learned through my National Board for Professional Teaching certification experience that reflecting on practice is one of the best ways you can improve your practice.  Blogging is a great format for that reflection where you can learn through your reflection, and we can learn from you when you share it! Since we value professional teachers and reflective practice, we want to get more people involved in this blogging effort. Together we can lead the change needed for our students.

So, to grow our base, we have a special challenge this year that we hope encourages past bloggers to continue and adds new bloggers to our list!  Read about the PLUS ONE Challenge by clicking that link above. This year with free poster giveaways for anyone who encourages a colleague to share their practice on our blog, we hope to have a full schedule and lots of learning!

Thanks for your participation and for encouraging your colleagues to learn with you!

If you’re ready to sign up for this year’s blog please sign up using this form to get started.

Looking forward to a great year!

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

Top Posts in 2017! Thanks to all bloggers and readers!

Hi GID’ers!

As we close out another year of our blog we want to celebrate all the innovative educators who committed to sharing their reflective practice with us and our community! We are making a difference, telling positive stories about our work in schools and helping others to find new ways to innovate and think differently about teaching and learning in their schools.  This year our 52GID blog had almost 4,000 new visitors with over 13,000 page views!

THANK YOU!

In this second year, we had over 30 participants with 100 posts from all over the US, Canada, Australia, Finland, Pakistan, and Croatia! There have been all kinds of cross curricular examples in all areas math, english language arts, arts, psychology, history, science, leadership and more. You’ve had a great year of growth and as each person shares, we all grow in our understanding of the process, its multitude of variations, and how it looks with different learners.  If you’ve missed some posts, relax over your holiday break and take some time to search some topics interesting to you. There’s  a lot to read about here!

SHOUT OUTS

Congratulations to our top bloggers of the year:

Coming in at #3 Marc Crompton Teacher Librarian, St George School, Vancouver, BC

Marc came in third and had more than 100 views on his entry called “The Questions that Drive Me Forward” where he reflected on a topic near and dear to him- connections between Design Thinking and GID.  These two processes are mutually informing and Marc continues this conversation on his own blog later in the year.  Read more from him on his own blog Adventures in Libraryland – here

#2 is Trisha Hutchinson – Teacher Librarian, Monroe Elementary School, Norman, OK

Almost 200 readers enjoyed Trisha’s reflection on moving from Librarian to leader through collaborating with teachers working with Guided Inquiry Design.  Trisha is a librarian in the district in Norman, Oklahoma where over 400 teachers and all librarians have all participated in the GID Institute and the process is becoming the way students learn across the district.  In her post “From Teacher Librarian to Leader” she explores how GID grew across her elementary school building through her leadership and knowledge sharing on the process and through various attempts at different grade levels.

Our #1 blogger for 2017 is Jamie Rentzel – Norman High School Math Teacher, Norman OK

With over 450 views, Jamie Rentzel topped the readership this year with her post on using GID in math.  Her post Guided Inquiry in a High School Math Classroom, Really? was a huge hit with readers.  In this post she connected the need to link students of mathematics to real world applications and GID is just the platform to do that important work. She goes on to explain how she did just that in her unit on  Sequences and Series.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful reflections throughout this year of growth, helping our readers expand into new thinking about GID as a means to dig deeper into design thinking, leadership and new ways of approaching content learning for big gains with our students.  Win win win!

We hope you’ll join us for this year’s challenge!  Who know’s where 2018 will take us!

Cheers to all readers and bloggers alike!

Leslie Maniotes, PhD

Author and Consultant for Guided Inquiry Design

 

Evaluating and Improving Guided Inquiry Outcomes

Happy Friday! Here in Oklahoma it is freezing and windy outside so I am spending my last Friday of 2017 curled up with a cup of tea and a good book. Quick recap of my last blog post: I wrote about a GID unit implemented by myself (Teacher Librarian) and Elyse Hall (Psychology teacher). The unit was the first of two planned for the Psychology II (Abnormal Psych) class where we explored all types of brain disorders. Inquiry questions covered a wide range of issues including eating disorders, disorders that stem from trauma, social anxiety and schizophrenia. At the end of the unit we surveyed the students over the process and the product. Overall, students wished they had:

  • Taken better notes in the inquiry journal
  • Written down more questions at the beginning
  • Practiced their presentation

Elyse and I took the feedback students gave us, added in a few of our own observations and tweaked our second planned unit. We set up an Inquiry Journal assignment in Google Classroom where students took notes every day and kept track of their questions and observations all in one document. This worked well for us because it streamlined the journal process by only having one document per student and because it was an assignment in Classroom and I was listed as a co-teacher, we could both see all their questions without students having to take the extra step to share their document with me. Elyse also created “check-in” assignments where students turned in (via Classroom) their top questions of the day/week and occasionally turned in their current favorite resource. In our first unit we spent some time doing mini-lessons on how to find articles in databases and reliable websites. This go-round we focused on how to read beyond the abstract with journal articles and scientific studies. A few days before the final presentations we divided our students into small groups and had them do a practice run and receive feedback from their group. Our final product also changed slightly. Students still turned in an annotated bibliography and did a presentation, and they created educational materials that presented their research to a ‘real-world’ audience (patients, teachers, parents, coaches, etc) Instead of limiting students to an infographic this time, they were given a choice board of ways to convey their education materials that included creating a blog, video, podcast, newsletter or an editorial/letter to elected official.

Having the freedom to design back to back units with the same students was very helpful for me as a teacher to see how different techniques and tools improved the research process for my students. While we had the benefit of a very small class (only 12) we were able to brainstorm how to create the same experience and discussion for a much larger class (next semester the class has 35).

Student evaluations were positive and had a very favorable view of Guided Inquiry.

A quick snapshot of some of our evaluation results:

When asked to compare the amount of CONTENT (facts and information about psychology) learned in this class using GID instead of traditional lecture and assignments:

42.6% reported learning more content with GID

42.6% reported learning the same amount of content

14.3% reported learning less than with traditional methods

When asked to compare the SKILLS learned in this class (how to research, write, cite, present)

85.7% of students reported learning more skills than in a traditional class

14.3% of students reported learning about the same

0% reported learning less.

Taking into consideration the fact that class size can skew percentages to look either really good or really bad (in this case, for the better), I found it affirming that when students connect to the content the research skills they master increases drastically. Really reaching to provide the opportunity to connect students to third space increases the overall outcome of success.

A big thank you to Leslie for allowing me to share my GID journey with all of you!

Amanda Kordeliski

Teacher Librarian, Norman North High School

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

GID and Me: A Love Story

Hello fellow GIDers!

I am Amanda Kordeliski and I am currently the teacher librarian at Norman North High School in Norman, OK (yes, I am yet another of those Norman GID fanatics). This post is lagging behind when it should have appeared on Leslie’s fantastic blog because this is the first week of winter break for us. You know how you have all these good intentions of how your winter break is going to be the most productive week ever and then you set your computer and your planner aside and don’t touch them for six days? That’s me this week. I stepped away from the crazy of holiday planning and shopping to look at my “real” to-do list this morning and panicked at the thought of not getting my stuff up on the blog!

I have always been an advocate for student centered learning. I see the difference it makes in my own kids at home and with GId I get to see the impact at school as well. Long time readers of this blog will already know that my district adopted Guided Inquiry several years ago and we are in the process of training all our teachers in GId. My journey started alongside the other librarians back in 2013 when all the district librarians did a book study of Leslie’s first Guided Inquiry Design Framework book. Reading this book and seeing the how the framework followed the flow and design of the Information Search Process was my lightbulb moment.

When I say I had a lightbulb moment, I know everyone pictures a thoughtful librarian with a little lightbulb over her head. This is not what happened. See, in grad school when I was studying all the different Information Search Process modules and writing papers over their pros and cons and which ones worked and for what kinds of knowledge users etc, etc, I fell in love with Kuhlthau’s ISP. It spoke to me. I saw in her process exactly how I learn, and I was smitten. So when I say I had a lightbulb moment as I was reading Guided Inquiry Design for the first time, I mean I had a moment when I was jumping up and down in my living room trying to explain how exciting it was that all the things I had written about in grad school about learning and information searching were suddenly packaged in this amazing process with steps and a clear path for students to become inquiry based learners. It crystallized for me all the things I didn’t even realize I needed. It was exactly the thing I was searching for and this was a full blown fangirl moment. There might have been dancing and cheering involved.

I took this new, bubbling  enthusiasm to school with me (Up until last year I was the teacher librarian at Irving Middle School in Norman, I just jumped to high school in 2016) shared the book and a slew of ideas with a sixth grade teacher I had a great co-teaching relationship with, and our first Guided Inquiry unit was born. I will say looking back at the unit now and all the things I did wrong kind of make me cringe, but it is great way to look at the evolution of a unit and how I’ve grown as a teacher librarian to compare my first lesson to my current ones. The next school year I attended Leslie’s Institute and learned how to truly plan a successful GID. At school GID slowly spread from one grade to another and then began moving across content areas. 

Now that you know my love story with Guided Inquiry, in the next blog (the last two will come fast and furious in the next two days) I will share my experience working with our psychology teacher this past semester. We had the opportunity to shape the Psych II class into a complete GID semester long experience. I can’t wait to share!

 

Amanda Kordeliski

Teacher Librarian

Norman North High School

Research findings in the Finnish core curriculum, issues related to GID

Well, we have ended up to my last blog writing for now. In the previous blog post I gave a sneak peak to my doctoral research results. There are interesting findings in many perspective. Finlands core curriculum is rather versatile in information literacy issues. The problem will not be in curriculum, when we are working on teaching our students to be information savvy. The challenge we face is in teachers’ skills and use of tools; how to enhance the learning of students information literacy skills. This has been a challenge for a long time. And what are the tools?

The studied core curriculum presents issues, which function as preliminary phases before entering the information searching part. There is for example the inquiring mind. This idea is very similar with Guided Inquiry Design. The text in general changed from the 2004 core curriculum to 2014. The earlier often stated, that ‘the student will learn’ and ‘the student is taught’. The new 2014 core curriculum states ‘the student is encouraged’ and ‘the student is supported’, and so forth. This is pointing to a more student centred learning approach. The encouragement and supporting the students to find their own strengths and best learning styles is also about learning to learn.

The least interesting issue in 2014 core curriculum results at the moment is the part of information searching and critical thinking. These themes came out strong in the interviews. But what was emphasised in the core curriculum but not in the interviews was working with the found information. In my opinion the tools in GID could be extremely useful also in the context of the Finnish core curriculum.

The teachers in my study say, that the students have difficulty expressing their doings and thoughts in writing; especially when they would need to reflect on their learning. The tools in GID provides help in the construction of learning and making the progress more concrete and easier to follow for the student. Issues like reviewing, summarising, combining and constructing information is expected in the core curriculum. Students very often forget working with the information, since they are used to making homework like small tasks: finding facts and listing them on a worksheet, presentation or paper. As we know, this is also an issue of how to give and formulate the given assignment. It is also challenging for the students to learn a new way of working.

Learning to use the inquiry logs and journal is crucial in making the leanring concrete and in keeping the collected sources organised. These are magnificent tools for teachers to use. The recording of students learning and the tools to support the learning process are the core. When I tested GID in a small-scale project, the teachings during that process were remembered afterwards.

The assessment – the new ideology of continuous assessment by the teachers could be greatly benefitted by these tools as well. With the tools the teacher will know how the assignment result was reached during the process – not to mention to get the understanding of moments of possible interventions if needed during the process.

This was just a quick glimpse to the issues of how to combine GID and the Finnish core curriculum. The issue is as important as it is interesting. During 2017 I have also been involved in the research of false media, or fake news, whichever expression we want to use. Me and two other researchers have studied the use of sources of the most popular Finnish false media. We have with the same crew also written a book called Valheen jäljillä (On the track of lies) and it will be published in the beginning of 2018 (only in Finnish).

Seems like there are powers in the world at the moment, which try to divide people in case after case. Whether it is politics, sports, nutrition, or society. Even social media kind of got out of hands, as former Facebook manager Palihapitiya stated just now in December 2017. Our students have to reach a high enough level of general knowledge, reading skills, critical thinking skills and research skills to be able to come to a decision in whichever issue they face. In my mind, a lot of these issues could be set to a better track by implementing GID ideology.

I will be coming to Denver in the beginning of February 2018 for ALISE conference. In case one of you readers will be there too, please contact me! It would be very nice to exchange ideas! In case you are around, let me know: anu (at) anuojaranta (dot) com

Wishing all of you warm seasons greetings and a very happy new year!

 

GID greetings,

Anu

 

Research of the Finnish core curriculum and information literacy

Greetings from Finland! The snow finally arrived and made the dark time of the year a little bit lighter. The winter solstice is just days away and then we will be again heading towards longer days.

All right, now let us move forward in my blogging week. I wrote about Finland’s situation at the moment in the field of education. Many of these issues have pushed me to work with schools and libraries and to try to make a difference.

Turku Cathedral

I am interested in information literacy and how it is present in the Finland’s national core curriculum, and how teachers and school librarians understand these terms. The curriculum is not giving any definitions for information managing or information literacy. Five teachers and five school librarians in the same schools were asked how they understand information managing, information literacy and multiliteracy (to clear things out, they more or less have the same substance, but still with clear differences). The results were very interesting. Information literacy is a term of information science but the other two are more from the pedagogical side. I assembled a model of the answers and saw that both professions concentrate in their understanding to information searching and critical thinking. Librarians even more than the teachers.

Then, what about the core curriculum? In an open analysis I was able to come up with a model with 13 stages. I then divided the model into three parts, pre-information searching, information searching and post-information searching. With this I want to emphasise, that information seeking needs preparation and the found information needs to be worked with.

There has to be some preconditions how teachers in the learning situation should prepare the class. One of the most interesting findings was the phase inquiring mind. The 2014 core curriculum is emphasising student to be curious and study issues from a new perspective and with an open mind. A teacher is expected to encourage students in this.

Santa Lucia, the bringer of light,  celebrated in Turku.

The interesting finding is that most of the times when information literacy issues were mentioned in the curriculum findings belonged to the post-information searching part. This was different from both teachers and school librarians. The core curriculum is however emphasising how the students should be taught to work with the found information. This finding gave me a lot of joy, since my experience and also the research literature shows that this is the difficult part with student. Reviewing, summarising, comparing, compiling, and not just trying to get ready ASAP. The very interesting finding in all this was, that the 2004 had exactly similar emphasis with a little bit different terminology.

The results in full can be read in the thesis next year, but personally I am very exited about the results. The problems in students’ information seeking has been proved in the classroom and in research for the last 20 years. It has also been named, that teachers don’t have tools to meet these difficulties in students’ information behaviour.

Now Finland has a good curriculum, only thing is to make this work! And in my mind, GID has really a role to play!

With best greetings from Finland,

Anu