I love informational texts, and so do my students. But, we also love informational videos. We can gather information on just about any subject from both types of resources. Think about the way you learn – besides a person standing in front of you. I’m guessing you mainly use two forms of media, text (of all kinds) and videos or images, like infographics.
So as my students worked to gather information for their animal research projects this past year we used several forms of media. We recorded information in several ways, and published it two ways. I want to share our research first. Then, in the next post, I’ll share our publishing process.
Lots of CHOICE in Research –
We start by choosing a topic. I give them a list of about 10 animals. You may be thinking “Hold the train! She doesn’t let them just pick anything?” But, I do this for a reason. I need to be able to support the needs of my 1st graders as researchers, readers and writers. It also allows them to support each other and share what they learn.
Then we gather materials, both print and digital.
I use Symbloo to organize some of our digital resources. It’s a really nice jumping off point for them. The QR code in the picture above takes them to this resource so we can easily use it on iPads or computers. Each animal group’s resources are grouped and color coded. (Click here for a tutorial on grouping in a Symbaloo webmix) There are lots of videos and Wonderopolis links for each one.
Then we start recording our learning. Here’s where choice is so important. We use shared iPads, sketchnotes, sticky notes and real paper to record our information. Whatever combination works best for that student.
Let me paint a mental picture for you. There’s students in groups all over our room. They’re watching videos together and excitedly sharing what they learned. Questions are being asked. Database articles are being read to students. They’re passing books back and forth. Some are on the floor, some standing, and others sitting. Me, I’m passing through each group asking questions, discussing notes, reading to students, and more. We’re talking about what they want to include in their books and videos. There’s music playing. It’s a big mess of learning. There’s paper, books and iPads all over!
I really believe that choice is an important aspect in every step of this process. Choice allows students to take ownership of their learning. Don’t get me wrong, there are expectations for the project, and standards being met. But, my students are choosing their path to meet those expectations. Each product and process was unique.
I can’t wait to share their books and videos with you, but I hope you’ve gotten a sense of how choice and organization can work together to make research successful, and less stressful.