Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Teaching Tidbit--Research Project

This blog is by no means a 
"teaching blog." 

Yes, I love teaching blogs, and love finding new and fun ideas on pinterest, but this blog is more of my outlet from my job than it is a place for me to talk about it.

However, with that being said, I have decided to post some "teaching tidbits" every so often. And here is the first of the tidbits.

One of our standards in SC for third grade is to identify the characteristics of biographies. So, we took advantage of this during February for Black History Month. I am very lucky to be in a school where technology is always at my fingertips. We have 4 iPads per classroom, and a set of 10 MacBooks that are available for check-out. The students worked in pairs to research famous African Americans in history. We mostly used the website Fact Monster, which had an extensive list of people to choose from.

Once we had all decided on who to research and write about, the real work began. I got this idea from a workshop I attended last year. It's a great way to help students organize their information when doing research on a topic.

I gave each student 4 index cards: pink, orange, yellow, and green, which were bound together using a brad. They used these to organize the different information researched.

They wrote these questions on the front: 

1. When and were was ___ born? 
2. What is _____ famous for?
3. What are some interesting faces about ____?
4. What is something important _____ did or said?

And as they found information, they would record it on the back (paraphrasing is also a standard so we discussed this in the process as well.)

After the research was made and we all felt that we had gotten enough information (I of course checked this and helped students find information if they were struggling), I displayed an outline to help them organize their biography essays (I didn't get a picture of that.)

From there we proceeded with the writing process: drafting and editing and revising. I then allowed the students to type their final drafts in computer lab, which made them feel very official.

I will never do a research project any other way. This really helped even my most unorganized and "all over the place" students organize their thoughts and research. It also really helped in the organization of their essays.

I hope you all try this, if you haven't already, the next time you grimace at the thought of doing a research project with 8 & 9 year-olds.

p.s. sorry to my followers who aren't teachers! :)

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