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Written by Traci Fong
April 30, 2015

We continue to fine-tune our efforts, but overall we are very pleased with the quality of work and thinking we saw from our students in both activities. We’re excited that this strategy worked the way we hoped it would and impressed by how the students used the strategy to move from Point A to B in a thoughtful and more deliberate yet organic way with their search strategies and terms/phrases. It was also exciting to “feel” the student interest in their topics and their discovery process as some of them made some really interesting moves from broad topics to more focused subtopics. We invite you to watch and listen to the feedback some of our students shared with us as they eloquently explain how both activities helped them find, refine, and engage with a topic of authentic value to them.

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In conclusion, we continue to see something very powerful about students using writing processes to engage in metacognition and inquiry. While so much of search itself is now done through digital means, the act of “unplugged” writing technologies to not only slow down student thinking but to also help them wrestle with the challenges inherent in information seeking tasks in presearch. Jennifer and I are excited for opportunities like these to incorporate activities that help students question, wonder, and explore as part of the topic selection process. As we continue to work with our teachers and students, we hope to better develop our formative assessments to identify specific learning outcomes and processes of the presearch stage of inquiry and research. We look forward to seeing how we can continue to integrate writing literacies into all stages of inquiry, particularly as we look more closely at ways of information inquiry (Callison and Baker 18).