Thursday, March 6, 2014

Research in 1st grade--SHARKS!

I am so energized by the enthusiasm students have shown about our study of sharks this week! Wow! They are so eager to learn, which making teaching about and researching sharks so much better. Learning to wonder about things and ask questions is an important life skill, which is also related to the Common Core State Standards. Learning how to seek answers for our questions involves research, and this is a skill that requires instruction and practice to develop. This week started on a Wednesday for students, which was a perfect time start "Wonder Wednesday," which will be a new part of our routine. This time I chose the topic--sharks--and students came up with things they wondered about sharks. Here's our initial work:

Students each wrote one or two wonders/questions on a sticky note after discussing their thinking with a partner. When we gathered together, I helped guide the class towards seeing themes in our wonders which would help us focus our research into topics. These topics became our Table of Contents for our 'All About Sharks' books. The sticky notes are a great way to generate student thinking, but I prefer to store information like this electronically, so I transferred our sticky notes to an iPad app called Lino It:

As you can see, students had great questions/wonders! I am excited to try an online version of this app called Padlet in which students will be able to post their own thoughts, wonders, questions, etc. to an online bulletin board in real time. Great collaboration potential!

Today, we began to research one of our wonders--what are sharks' bodies like and do they need special parts to swim well, catch predators, etc. Amazing! I cannot wait to show you the great book pages students wrote. Wow! They will be electronically publishing these newest books when they are done. Trust me--it will be worth the wait. :-) For now, here are some of the digital notes they took yesterday and today via Doodle Buddy for iPad. Students are learning that researchers take notes to help them remember what they learn...

 I think their note-taking is phenomenal, and even more impressive are the conversations I am hearing between students about their knowledge of sharks. No matter the topic, I hope to help instill a sense of wonder and empowerment to find ways to answer our questions through research. So far, so good. :-)

More to come, very soon! And check your child's Kidblog--many students have posted some shark information from our research. Be sure to leave comments! 

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