Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pushing The Outer Limits in Research

The Sky is the Limit!
Since we spent 2nd trimester focusing on reading Non Fiction, and we did this primarily through Wonderopolis and our Scholastic News, I have decided to push the students thinking this trimester in research. I have decided to use Wonderopolis as the mentor text/site since the students have enjoyed the site so much. Let me explain why this is a HUGE shift for me on teaching research.  Through PD this year and reading so many different blogs, I have really tried hard to find out where my class is currently as learners with research.  I spent an entire class period discussing what research looked like in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade. This was time well spent. Some students even brought in their examples from previous years to share-that was really fun!  I have to admit I was pleased with what I heard.  First all students had a choice in their topic (LOVE that idea) they all used a wide variety of resources (books and internet for facts primarily) and finally most of their final projects were traditional reports/posters.

As I reviewed my writing expository and research indicators, I decided that this year our focus is going to be push the limit-go beyond the "average" research.  I have decided to allow my students to choose their own topics based on 3 reasons why they want to learn more about their topic.  Once they have their topics, the students are going to write 6-8 questions that they have about their topic.  This is going to reinforce the higher level questions we did with Wonderopolis.  I am excited about this because I believe this will push the students to higher thinking as well as a higher level of research. I am going to encourage the students to go beyond typical research tools like books and internet (facts).  They are going to have to interviews, find videos/podcasts, graphs/data, and write a letter of request to someone for information. When they use their iPods for their research, they are going to bookmark all the sites so later for the final project they will be able to use the links etc. I am very excited about this shift in my thinking as well as the opportunity to differentiate their instruction for research. Check back in two weeks because we are spring break this week-


  1. I'm agree. Wonderopolis is a greate tool. @IvetteRiveraPR

  2. Just love the idea of expanding the students' research beyond facts on the internet. Using primary sources in research is so valuable (not always easy to find, which makes it more enjoyable when they do.).

    Thanks for sharing this and getting my wheels turning!