You have heard about Learning in Depth, now what is involved in getting started?
7 steps to starting LiD
by Linda Holmes
Step 1: Get a team together
- Colleagues (librarian, technician, administrator)
- School PAC
- IERG LiD team
Talk to them all about what LiD will look like in practice and what it is designed to achieve. Let the parents/caregivers know what you will be doing, and what they can do to help their child. Ask the PAC to help with resources. (One request for old National Geographic magazines produced hundreds.)
The LiD website can help with drafts of letters to parents, and much else: http://www.ierg.net/LiD
Step 2: WHEN will you do LiD?
Consider your timetable closely. How often can you manage to fit in a LiD session?
- Once a month?
- Once every two weeks?
- Once a week?
Most programs do well with a meeting for about an hour once a week. Plan LiD time for when it will work best for you and your class.
Step 3: WHERE will you do LiD?
Think of the best place for the children to have space to work, and for you to move around and support them when necessary.
- Do you have access to a library?
- Can you use a computer lab?
- Is your own classroom best?
- Can some of the work be done outside?
Remember to encourage students to work on their topic at home as well, and to seek help from parents, other adults, peers, etc.
Step 4: How will you use LiD time?
You will want to consider the level of your students’ skills, and spend some time enhancing them to enable students to research their topics better. You can:
- Teach library skills
- How to do a survey and questionnaire
- How to do simple experiments
- Computer skills
- Observation skills
- How to make presentations
- How to search magazines/newspapers
- How to incorporate their own art work
- Note taking
- Other organizational skills
You can find detailed help for organizing LiD time on the website: http://www.ierg.net/LiD
Step 5: What do you need to have ready to start?
- Letter to parents explaining the program
- List of topics for the students
- Portfolio for each student—folder, box, or files
- A clear plan for the opening ceremony
- A medal, badge, ribbon, or tile with the student’s name and the name of the topic
Go to the LiD website for templates of letters to parents and suggestions for how the ceremony might be set up: http://www.ierg.net/LiD
Step 6: What will YOU do during LiD time?
The teacher’s role in LiD is different and varied:
- You may work with one student at a time
- You may work with small groups of students
- You may work with the whole class developing skills
- You may be preparing for future LiD activities
- You may quite quickly find yourself able to get on with other work because the students are happily engaged on their own
Since there is no grading in LiD, your time is your own, as is the students’. You can make yourself available for consultations with students, for questions, and to be able to provide individual encouragement where it is needed.
It also gives you an opportunity to observe your students develop new relationships with knowledge and learning, and with each other. You can move from being “the sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side.”
Step 7: Don’t try to do it all alone
- Expand your network of colleagues by joining the on-line network and discussions on the LiD website
- Work with other teachers in your school or locally who are doing LiD
- Talk to other colleagues about LiD and help them implement it in their own classes
- Keep in touch with teachers you know who have already successfully implemented LiD