Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Wonder Wheel

Guided Inquiry and the Wonder Wheel

I love that people are so creative and like to synthesize their thoughts into maps that support the work they do.

Here is a research model from West Cary that supports teachers and librarians in research.  It's pretty comprehensive. I call it the WonderWheel.  It includes details about how to learn through research and some great ideas at a conceptual level of inquiry.

West Cary Instructional Resources (Where I found the model)
Resources for the model

My life has a sound track- many times when I have an idea it connects to a song (see my last post for another musical link).  The cool thing about a blog is that you can bring all those pieces together in one place.  And so for your musical enjoyment, I give you Dan Zanes WonderWheel. It's the soundtrack for this blogpost. I enjoy all kinds of music and have really enjoyed Dan Zanes with my daughter. You should check them out!

Back to this model... It has everything- evaluation in the center, student indicators, teaching tools for each part and big ideas that shape each stage in this Wonder Wheel!  So Kudos to the West Cary Middle School in Cary, NC.

As an author of Guided Inquiry and Guided Inquiry Design, I see clear alignment with this wheel and our phases of Guided Inquiry Open, Immerse, Explore and Identify in the Wonder section, Gather, Create in Investigate; Create in Synthesize and Create, Share, and Evaluate in Express.  It's interesting how much attention is spent in the Create phase through this model. Create is explored in depth recognizing what it takes to shift to new understandings. In Guided Inquiry we think of Create more as creating new understandings than creating a product. This model reflects that kind of thinking as well and values the work it takes to do so.

Guided Inquiry emphasizes the Open, Immerse and Explore phases mainly because so many educators rush these phases as they don't recognize the amazing pay off when focused time is spent in the beginning that later enables creation and learning. The traditional research assignment completely ignores these early and essential phases.  I think some of these items in create happen earlier as well, such as rich academic vocabulary development.  The Wonder Wheel asks to "tap prior knowledge" but doesn't make the commitment to build background information together as we suggest in Guided Inquiry.  This important step helps students to generate informed questions for deeper learning through the rest of the process.

In our new edition of Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century , we describe how the writing process connects to the inquiry process. The complexity of create in this model can be explained by that complex nature of construction of new understandings that occurs in that Create phase of Guided Inquiry.

It's interesting to see how different people visualize the inquiry process and how it weaves in so many different kinds of learning.  Always a fun mind puzzle for me to make connections to our work and implementation factors of Guided Inquiry Design.

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