November 07, 2016

We're "building" our research skills!

Last week's text of the week was all about a gerbil who wanted to escape his cage. He used a lot, I mean a lot of tools to find his way out. Sadly, he escaped, but not the way he intended. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't read it yet.  
This is a really funny poem and there's a lot we can do with it as readers. I mean, you have the rhythm of a poem, that alone makes it fun for kids to read and thereby develop their fluency. But there's also lots of compound words, a focus on visualization and even parentheses -these things →() I especially love the new way to ask questions presented by this poem. Students in my class learned last week that we don't always necessarily have to begin with a "question" word.  

Well...having said all that, we're really taking things up a notch! Today, we're going to "build" our research skills. The boys and girls worked with their elbow partner and chose one of the tools in the poem to research. Non-fiction writing is the most widely read format and being able to research for a specific purpose is a skill that needs to be explicitly taught, and this little activity is the next step in this process (our "How to make applesauce" guides were the first).  
After a quick lesson, students used the i-Pads and got to work completing this graphic organizer. They learned about and revisited concepts and skills such as: 

  • how to use bullet points or take point form notes 
  • how to find reliable information online 
  • the importance of citing sources 
  • how to present precise, factual information 
  • working with a partner on a shared task
  • accountable talk between partners 
  • making sure everyone does their share of the work 
We're not quite finished our reports, but we're off to a great start! I'm not sure when we'll get back to this, but the practice alone this afternoon proved to be a very rich learning opportunity for everyone! 


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