DEC Scan Journal : November 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 4 November 2011 26 Introduction unit of learning for the NSW Science and Technology K–6 syllabus titled, Endangered animals: beyond the rainforest,was developed for Stage 3 students, and planned for collaborative teaching with each class teacher during lessons in the library. Since the 2011 NAPLAN writing task for Year 5 required students to demonstrate their ability to work with the elements of persuasive texts, this suggested some explicit teaching strategies and interventions that were required to scaffold the students' learning. A cumulative weblog provided support for each week's cooperatively taught lessons, and continues to showcase the final group-constructed digital slideshows to the extended school community, and beyond. The SLIM toolkit (Todd, Kuhlthau, & Heinström, 2005) was used to collect and interpret research data from the students. One group of students gave impromptu oral feedback on video. Written evaluations on the process were also sought from the classroom teachers. How effective is Guided Inquiry in enabling students to create original information products that would persuade an audience? What were some of the success stories of teacher interventions that maximised the students' experiences with their higher order thinking and authentic learning? Literature review Kuhlthau’s Model for the information search process (Figure 1) provided a framework for intervention in the investigative process, assisting the teachers and teacher librarian to support students through the phases of the process. Using the SLIM toolkit to collect and analyse data during three critical points in the research task enabled the teachers and teacher librarian to map the changes in students’ knowledge and experiences and recognise that the Formulation of a focus or a personal perspective of the topic is a pivotal point in the search process. At that point, feelings shift from uncertain to confident, thoughts change from vague to more clear and interest increases (Kuhlthau, 2004). Investigating in small groups (Figure 2) provides students with opportunities to accept peer ideas, make friends and comfort others (West, Denton & Reaney, 2001, p. 14). Contributing to online searches, storyboarding activities and the creation of digital content for sharing on the Endangered animals: beyond the rainforest, 2011 blog extends their social connections with peers and family. Rather than being passive receivers of information, the students participate in texts and become content producers (Greene, 2011), who care about others’ opinions about what they create (Jenkins, 2009, p. 12). Scan’s Research columns values research as a process which: • strengthens the theoretical basis for the practice of teacher librarianship • informs practice, through the application of findings, questioning of assumptions, and identification and analysis of practical problems • is informed by practice as part of an essential professional practice cycle. In this issue, Ian McLean presents the findings from a guided inquiry collaborative journey. It demonstrates the learning resulting from explicit scaffolding and exciting use of online tools for Stage 3 students, highlighting their improved ability to work with the elements of persuasive text. Taking the plunge: Guided Inquiry, persuasion and the research river at Penrith Public School A Researchcolumns Ian McLean is the teacher librarian at Penrith Public School. In late 2010, he attended professional development sessions on Guided Inquiry (GI) with Ross Todd and Lee FitzGerald (2010) and was keen to implement more fully Carol Kuhlthau's Model for the information search process (ISP) at his school.