In January, our Second Grade goes Around the World by applying science and social studies themes to other countries. Over the past few years, a standard list of questions have been developed to go along with a series of country books. This is only the second formal research project that these students have ever done and it is simpler to meet the needs of the students and the curriculum if students are following fairly prescribed steps.
I have worked with teachers on this project for a few years now and each year I try to bring something new to the table. During the first week of their unit while teachers are teaching landforms and geography themes, I pre-teach the process of gathering information from a text with an example country. I let students see their questions in advance and we discuss the questions, use the table of contents, and identify text features. We practice using reading strategies that will help us identify information needed to answer our research questions. I use the document camera for this lesson and it’s so nice for students to see the text enlarged so that we’re all on the same page.
This year, as I’ve worked on developing research guides for use in classes. I asked the teachers if I could take their list of questions and put them into my Super Three Research Guide. You can find a copy uploaded to Google Docs. The Research Guide is 11×14 for the outside page and 8.5×11 for the insert page. I customized my generic guide for this project and made copies for each student. During the lesson when I previewed using a text to search for information, I showed them their research guides.
The students did well with these guides and I think it helped teachers to have it all together in one stapled packet. I was really glad to sneak in the research steps and do collaboration in a way that didn’t require a lot of extra time. Students learned the process with me, and then for the next two weeks brought their books and papers with them and I gave them time during library to work on their questions. It worked out well for all of us!
Coming Next: PowerPoint and Digital Voice Recorders