Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Your Schoolby Carol C. Kuhlthau, Leslie K. Maniotes, and Ann K. Caspari

Chapter Nine: Create:

"Creating a way to communicate what they have learned about their inquiry helps students to articulate what is important about the subject and requires them to integrate the ideas more firmly into a reporting and to summarize, interpret, and extend the meaning of what they have learned and to create a way to share their learning. Create sessions are designed to guide students to reflect on all they have learned about their inquiry question, construct their own understanding, and decide what type of presentation will best represent their engaging ideas, controversies, and theories, which were generated through the inquiry, for a particular audience." (p. 125)

Reflect on Learning

1. "The main task in Create is to synthesize all the ideas and pull together a personal perspective on the inquiry question. Before students begin to synthesize ideas, Create sessions are designed to help students reflect on the information and ideas they have accumulated in their inquiry journals.

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Inquiry charts pull disparate ideas together and help reveal themes in the inquiry journals. When students are ready to create, they learning team guides them to survey their journal entries and look at what they have. Students can take everything they have and literally lay it out and look at what they have with the purpose of looking for things that go together and things that don't seem to fit. From that initial look, students begin to see ideas and make connections. (p. 127)

Go Beyond Facts to Make Meaning

2. "Students begin to see even more clearly once they chart their ideas and information. Charting enables them to organize a large amount of information in a compact way. Themes arise, patterns emerge, and connections come to the surface. Here is where they go beyond facts and information to interpret what the information means. In Identify, students chose a question to pursue that framed their search through the Gather phase of the inquiry process. Their inquiry questions continues to frame their thinking in the Create phase as they interpret the information they have gathered for meaningful connections.

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The third step is to imagine. Once an inquiry chart is developed out of all the information, the team guides students to ask "so what?" This is when students begin to extend their understanding into their own lives. They think of the world and relevance of the idea to themselves and others. Charting is a useful tool in the prewriting process. Once students have considered "so what", they can begin drafting and composing to Create." (p. 127).

Create to Communicate

"The inquiry process is the process of getting ideas from new information to write about. The inquiry process is closely related to the writing process described in Janet Emig's (1971) groundbreaking research. It is the prewriting stage of the writing process when students are exploring and formulating ideas. Writing blocks are actually thinking blocks where thoughts haven't been sufficiently formed to present ideas. The inquiry process precedes the writing process to prepare students for writing by giving them something to talk about and in turn write about. It is during the inquiry process that students build constructs for writing, composing, and creating." (Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century, Kuhlthau, Maniotes, Caspari, 2007, p. 22).


1. Limited Choice:

With our Kid's Inquiry Conference we give students a choice of the product they can use to communicate their findings. The Inquiry teams provides structure by limiting the choices students may use. The Librarian and the Instructional Technology Specialist will train students individually, in small groups, or by class to use each of the products determined by the inquiry team. Then individual, or small groups of students may choose from the products presented.

2. No Choice:

In some cases students are tasked with learning a specific skill. The Art teacher may be a member of the Inquiry team and she may need to teach the students how to use a digital camera, or use Claymation. These may be incorporated as part of the Create stage especially if the project lends itself to a story format.

3. Free Choice:

Students sometimes are given free choice to choose how to present their learning during the create stage. This could be anything from creating a video game for a high school student to using a web tool such as Puppet Pals for an elementary student. Then the skill the student needs to learn is what product is most appropriate to present their learning.

Finding Authentic Audiences

"A critical step in creating a product of the inquiry is to identify the audience or audiences that will engage in the sharing. This step must come early in the process of creating a product, perhaps as students identify their inquiry question. Different audiences require different approaches in presentation. Students may create more than one product of their inquiry. They may have a letter writing campaign to politicians, a puppet show for younger students, an oral presentation using PowerPoint for parents all about the same subject...Each of these ways of sharing information allow the learners to articulate important information about what they have learned and provide ways for the learning team to assess the learning. (p. 130).

Based on the material from:
Kuhlthau, Carol C., Maniotes, Leslie K., Caspari, Ann K. Guided Inquiry Design A Framework for Your School. Libraries Unlimited. Santa Barbara, CA. c. 2014.