The third graders are researching Australian animals and learning how to work with a partner. Collaboration is an important skill for students to learn, but I sometimes wonder if eight-years-old is too early. Some students work well together; others view the collaboration as a time to have fun rather than work. This has been a learning tool for me as well. Last year after taking a class on collaboration in the classroom, I worked on collaborative projects with second, third and fourth grades. Students are collaborating in the same grades again this year. Similar projects, different topics. What a difference a year can make!
I am glad to see that the students are engaged in their work. They are excited about the animals they chose and are finding some exciting things to share. Our final product will a class book on the Australian animals researched with each pair of students creating a two-page spread. This year I added something new to the project. I used Blendspace, a great curation tool, to gather all the resources for students in one place. Here is a link to the resources the students are using: https://www.blendspace.com/lessons/_C8QdL560PR6fg/australian-animals
I like to review the students’ research packets after each class to see what types of notes they are taking and to identify where I can support them. This is where I am reminded that all students are different and what works to motivate one student might not work with another. Reviewing the packets is also a great way to conference with the students, albeit asynchronously! I don’t always get to visit each student during class, and reviewing their work keeps me informed. I will even write notes back to the students if corrections are needed, (hoping they read them!) and to say “Great job!” when things are going well.
We should be moving on to creating the class book in another week or two. We will use Bookemon to create the book online and then purchase a copy for our library. The students love reading last year’s books.