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Friday, October 30, 2009

Guided Inquiry Equals Inquiry Circles at the High School Level?

In a earlier post, I mentioned that a group of teachers from Livermore Falls High School, engaged in a 3 year literacy initiative, are reading and implementing the instructional framework from the new Harvey and Daniels book, Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action.  While this appears to be a huge leap for most high school staffs, this group had been working on implementing literacy strategies for 2 years and this text organizes the strategies and takes them to the next level - guided inquiry.

"Inquiry helps kids to think creatively.  When you capture their imagination they begin to think creatively and creativity solves problems for life."   taken from Guided Inquiry, Learning in the 21st Century.

We decided to take on this challenge for two reasons:  1. the literacy team's proven expertise in the area of literacy strategies and 2.a need for increasing student engagement.  We viewed this approach as a way to invite students in and make the mandated curriculum pertinent to them by teaching them how to make connections as well as ask and answer real, individual questions.  WOW! what a tall order and a lot of work!

Early on, I followed the conversations on the English Companion NING book club it became apparent that implementation of this format might look different at the high school level.  However, the staff decided to give it a go and on October 28, 2009 I coached 4 teachers.  Using the following framework from Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action.

"Students gain competence by being guided through an inquiry process by teachers and librarians...Guided inquiry is grounded in sound research findings and built on solid professional practice.  Through Guided Inquiry students gain the ability to use tools and resources for learning in and beyond the information age while they are learning the content of the curriculum and meeting subject area curriculum standards."

_ Immerse   _Investigate     _Coalesce     __Go Public    

__Student Voice and Choice
__Questions and Concepts
__Collaborative Work
__Strategic Thinking
__Authentic Investigations
__Student Responsibility
__Interaction and Talk
__Teacher as Model and Coach 

__Cross-Disciplinary Studies 
__Multiple Resources
__Multimodal Learning
__Engaging in Discipline
__Real Purpose and Audience
__Caring and Taking Action
__Performance and Self-Assessment

Following is a brief summary of three excellent lessons demonstrated as we start to implement this new instructional framework.  Stay tuned as we follow our students and teachers.

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