English I & Inquiry Based Learning

Before beginning this post, I would like to say that I am forever grateful for Buffy Hamilton and her willingness to share (in depth) what she does with her students. Much of the inquiry based learning activities and written conversation activities I do are based on things she has so unselfishly shared with the world! This is why she is at the top of my librarian shero list!!

An English I teacher, Ms. Page, and I have worked collaboratively to create an engaging, inquiry based project for her English I students. Over the course of the semester, her students will use themes, archetypes and issues from their self selected reading books to completed inquiry based learning. After meeting a few times to talk about the goals of the learning experience, she and I began the project on Mon., Sept. 28th with topic exploration. Students came to the library with an umbrella topic and two narrowed down topics under that umbrella. I then taught them how to utilize the databases located on NCWISEOwl.org and we let them spend some time exploring their topics. This time is instrumental in helping students create good driving questions for their inquiry because they are able to spend time fleshing out their topics and seeing what types of resources are available. The topic exploration lasted two days and concluded on day two with students mindmapping their topics. These mindmaps included the two narrowed down topics. For each narrowed down topic, students were expected to:

  1. Find two resources/information sources (at least one had to be from a database)
  2. Include three facts/interesting things from each information source
  3. The search terms used to located each information source
  4. The title and location of each information source

These mindmaps helped students to visualize their search process and will be used to formulate their driving question for inquiry.

We will continue this project over the remaining months of the semester. Our next step is formulating inquiry questions and giving them time to research these questions. The outcome of this next step will be an annotated bibliography.

Project Documents:

​Student Example:



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