I am a Middle School librarian at an international school and we have recently completed a professional development day when we were required to modify our units for distance learning between now and the end of the school year. To do this we were first asked to identify “priority standards” and I’m just wondering what your thoughts would be with this and FOSIL. Any insights are appreciated!
These are my immediate thoughts, which I’ll develop more fully over the weekend. When is your deadline?
This question needs to be considered from two different perspectives: (1) the inquiry process and (2) the underlying continuum of skills.
Aside: Your context is rare and adds a vital dimension to this discussion, which is that you occupy a vital transitional space between the Lower School (ages 2-10) and the High School (ages 14-18). Am I correct, then, that Lower School is Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 4 (Reception-Year 5), Middle School is Grade 5 – Grade 8 (Year 6 – Year 9) and High School is Grade 9 – Grade 12 (Year 10 – Year 13)? Also, am I correct that while the Middle School prepares students for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) and/ or the Advanced Placement (AP) Diplomas and courses, you do not offer the IB Middle Years Programme?
From the perspective of the inquiry process we need to consider how familiar students are with the process, in this case FOSIL, at their point of entry (i.e., the extent to which it has been internalized or needs to be explicitly taught). For this some sense of the differences between controlled (closed), guided and free (open) inquiry is necessary. This is not simply a case of progressing from controlled through guided to open, although it not possible to effectively carry out an open inquiry without having progressed from controlled through guided inquiries.
From the perspective of the underlying continuum of inquiry skills, we need to consider to what extent students have mastered foundational inquiry skills at their point of entry, and to what extent they need to be explicitly taught and practised across the curriculum. We also need to consider how these foundational and further inquiry skills, which will become foundational for the High School, are developed progressively and systematically over time in the Middle School. What is helpful here, is that the IB DP Extended Essay makes undeniable demands of students in terms of the inquiry process and underlying inquiry skills. I imagine that the AP has an equivalent?
Both of these are made more difficult in the absence of a national model of the inquiry process and underlying framework of inquiry skills, so being in a PK-12 school is presents an exciting opportunity to think through this.
In the FOSIL continuum of skills (ESIFC 2009 – still finishing off ESIFC 2019), skills in bold are priority skills (see also below). We have begun to consider which of these and others should be priority skills for us, as well as to what extent they need to relocated to different Years. It would clearly be beneficial to discuss this more broadly, especially now that FOSIL has been endorsed by the Great School Libraries campaign.
This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Darryl Toerien. Reason: Added images of FOSIL skills continuum
I can’t thank you enough for your detailed response. You have the grade breakdowns of the divisions at my school spot on. We have four campuses and my Middle School is the only one that has written its curriculum–the other three MS divisions use MYP. We are preparing students to enter the IB in 10th grade, take AP classes, or graduate with an American high school diploma. Because we are an international school, at the moment my patrons hail from nearly 70 different countries and around 30% are either in Learning Support or are learning English as a second language.
My division has not been introduced to FOSIL yet, but I plan on doing this next August when we return to school. I learned about the framework from your keynote speech at the IASL conference and felt it was ideal for our needs and evolution as a division. I took the SLA course in March with Elizabeth Hutchinson and there first came into contact with the standards document above. Due to the current circumstances, I had so little time to feedback to my Admin about my priority standards that I thought I would use the FOSIL framework to assess where we were right now. It enabled some much-needed practical time with them and made me realise that I was on the right track! But maybe I put the cart before the horse!
What would help me now, especially given my current distance learning environment, would be some recommendations for diagnostics that I can give at the beginning of the next school year to assess where grade levels currently are with their information literacy skills. I especially feel that we will need to do this with the 9th graders. Any advice on moving forward with this is so appreciated at this busy time for all. Best wishes, Anne
I was sure that we had met – the IASL conference passed in a bit of blur – and now I even remember exactly where we were standing. To my shame, your email with your contact details is languishing in in my Inbox, so I am very pleased that you posted to the Forum as it is still my hope to visit you, if I may, when things return to some semblance of normal.
As a matter of interest, do you know why your campus chose to write its own curriculum rather than offer the MYP like the other 3 campuses?
Because our main intake is in Year 7 (Grade 6, although for historical reasons we have a growing number of Year 6/ Grade 5 students), Year 9 (Grade 8) and Year 12 (Grade 11), we’ve had to approach the question of diagnostics with two things in mind at each level of entry, which are consolidating the gains that we have made with existing students while laying a solid foundation for new students in terms of the FOSIL process and skills at the appropriate grade level.
What I didn’t mention in my previous post, and what you probably already know, is that the skills in bold are priority skills, all of which are linked to 1 or more assessments (see below). I mention this for two reasons:
Given the very steep learning curve that I was on, these assessments helped me to better understand what many of these skills actually looked like in practice.
Our FOSIL resources then grew out of these assessments, although we are currently using them more for instructional rather than diagnostic purposes, although use of the resources does reveal a range of student competence that can serve a diagnostic purpose.
I will share something more concrete on this later from the perspective of our Year 9 (Grade 8) Inquiry Skills Project.