Sunday, September 17, 2017

Making Learning Relevant in the Inquiry-Based Learning Workshop

When we think about inquiry based learning in the classroom, it looks like a workshop where students are actively engaged in learning through researching their own questions. In Guided Inquiry Design, we have a simple session plan template for planning for the workshop time.  Workshops begin with a short "starter," include a longer worktime, and conclude with reflection (see figure) 
The "Starter" is often a mini-lesson or can be a grounding exercise that links the learning from one day to another.  In each phase of GId, the starter works to accomplish the intention of the learning goals in that phase. (See more on the phases of Guided Inquiry Design in our books or website.)
  For example, the Learning Team starts in the classroom with an Inquiry Journal ‘quick write’ in the Immerse phase.  Students connect to the concepts of Migration with a teacher prompt like; Who migrates?, Why do you think they migrate?, What are some problems with migration?  These prompts offer an opportunity for students to connect to their own understandings of the concept of Migration before delving into particulars of the content. Students in this unit would go on to Immerse using the Colorado History LaGente online exhibit showcasing the complexities of the latino experience in Colorado from historical, cultural, and social perspectives. (See more  If you're lucky enough to live close by, you could enjoy a visit to the “El Movimiento” exhibit in person to experience more on this topic for an even more powerful Immersive experience!
The Starter would look very different in Explore.  Short mini-lessons on relevant topics during the Starter connect students to concepts or skills needed to accomplish the day’s work. Here, the team would begin in the library with a mini-lesson on skimming and scanning strategies that get students in the mindset of browsing the topic for personal interest rather than reading deeply and finding answers. 
As the examples show, the the Learning Team guides the learning by matching the starter to the phase of inquiry in the GID Framework, providing relevance to each day’s work. (More examples in GuidedInquiry Design in Action: Middle School, Maniotes, Harrington, Lambusta, 2016 Or Guided Inquiry Design in Action: High School and GID in Action: Elementary (2018). When students see relevance in the instruction, they engage deeply during the worktime.  The GID model provides major supports to teachers to increase relevance for deeper learning. 
Happy Learning!
Leslie Maniotes, PhD

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