Spring Into Research

As I prepare to return from our spring recess, I am thinking about what each grade level has been working on.  We sprang into research a little earlier this year, starting in mid-February.  Most grades have finished the research and are moving onto sharing their knowledge.

Second grade is working on backyard animals again this year.  They will be creating Haikudecks when we return this week.  Haikudecks are a very easy presentation tool that include searching for images embedded right into the website – no worries about copyright. The students mostly worked in pairs on this project to help them learn to work collaboratively.  Look for some student presentations in a future post.

Third grade is researching countries this year, and I am so excited!  No animals this year!  I also revised the research product to incorporate more technology.  Students researched a country of their choice using several databases as well as online ebooks to learn about family life, school, holidays and geography.  After students found information on those topics, I encouraged them to think about some questions they now have about their country.  The last day of research they looked for answers to those questions. It is a great opportunity for students even at this young age to realize that research is not always a linear process and that their own curiosity can lead to amazing learning.  These students will share what they learned by writing a blog post about their country.  The students in their class will then visit each other’s posts and comment.  It will be the first time I hae used blogging as a tool with third grade, and the students are excited.

Fourth grade is researching natural disasters again this year, but with a twist. They are working in groups of four or five students.  Each student takes on a role of a news broadcast: newscaster, meteorologist, emergency responder, and relief agency.  Students researched their role and shared what they learned with their group.  Some of the research was done with the disaster group, other research was grouped by the role they have.  They will create a news broadcast with each person performing the role.  What is so exciting this year is the addition of a green screen to create the video!  Students will video using iPads and then add images using an app called Do Ink.  The students are very excited about the green screen video and I am eager to learn right along witht the students!

Fifth grade is researching careers again this year as part of the College and Career Readiness standards.  Students researched two or three careers based on their interests and found out what the job is like, what education or training is needed and how much it pays.  Students are now completing a budget that includes housing cost, utilities, entertainment and miscellaneous expenses to compare their anticipated cost of living with their salary.  There have been some interesting conversations among students – some deciding to room together to reduce expenses and others rethinking some of their housing choices.  After everyone has completed the budget, students will write a blog post about the career choices and reflect on the choices they made.

First grade will be starting their research when we return.  Both classes chose an animal to research.  One class chose the blue whale and the other class chose wolves.  We will be starting  with a KWL chart and listing questions we would like to find answers to. We will use a combination of print books as well as databases and websites.  The first graders are very excited about the final product:  creating a book of facts they learned!

Stay tuned for more information about the ongoing research projects here at TJ Connor Elementary Library!