FOSIL (Framework Of Skills for Inquiry Learning), put simply, is a framework developed by Darryl Toerrien that breaks down the stages of the inquiry process.  This framework, available at identifies six stages in the research cycle, and this can be used to support the process of a variety of inquiry-based learning scenarios.

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Taken as it is, the FOSIL cycle itself is helpful for Librarians as a way of breaking down the stages of the process, in order to inform the kind of support we can give in individual lessons at a small and focussed level as well as, more broadly, planning whole collaborative projects with teacher colleagues.  The cycle can help you to identify the specific elements that you want to plan for, providing useful terms for defining these stages to students and staff, as well clear descriptions that express what each stage means in practice.  I would suggest that these stages and descriptions can inform your planning, with the descriptions providing a learning objective upon which to base your lessons.  From these, you have the starting point to begin to create and develop learning opportunities that make use of you and your Library’s resources, whether it is to identify individual activities that address one stage of the cycle, a string of lessons that are focussed on a couple of stages, or going beyond that and all the way up to a full scheme of work that covers the full cycle. 

This is a great start, but the FOSIL website goes further than this and cements itself as a highly valuable website by providing resources for each stage of the cycle, that you can view and download.  The resources section of the site has a wide range of worksheets, forms and templates that are mapped to particular stages of the cycle and can be downloaded in, at least one but mostly both, pdf or docx formats.  This represents a valuable time-saving exercise, as these clear and well-designed resources could easily be used, off the shelf, in your own lessons, but with the option to edit the docx files there are many that can be adapted to suit your own needs too.  The ability to find resources here by free text searching, as well as by FOSIL stage or school level (primary or secondary) is a helpful tool for finding something specific to what you might be looking for.

The cross-curricular nature of the cycle, and resources, along with the differentiated materials, means that you can turn to the FOSIL website for ideas and inspiration for how you might approach a year 6 research lesson on Ancient Egypt, to developing a bunch of lessons to teach your EPQ students how to effectively assess sources of information.  In summary, I can see that FOSIL will be a great tool for helping you to support the planning and developing inquiry-based learning opportunities in your schools.