Saturday, April 2, 2011

Collaboration and Stretching Beyond Literal Research

I want my students to be able to collaborate with their friends about their research topic, so I set up a class Wiki site for the students to post their topic as well as their 3 reasons why they chose their topic.  One of the important parts was teaching the students to write strong comments to each other.  I was looking for more than "I like koala bears too." After lots of modeling, I am pleased with their comments to each other.  Here is a sampling from a koala bear wiki. 

Did you know that koalas sleep for 22 hours of the day? The rest of the time they eat but I am not sure what they eat?

Yesterday at 11:51 AM

I liked how you connected your reason with Wonderopolis and you put figurative language in your 3 reasons why.

Yesterday at 11:53 AM

I would like to know if they were endangered too. Who would want to endanger these animals? Also, did you know that in some places you can hold Koalas? 

Yesterday at 11:53 AM

That's cool have you ever been to the Columbus Zoo and seen their koala bears? Maybe you can learn some more at the zoo if you have a chance to go. Also my dad has a friend at the zoo so maybe i could give you his email or address.  
(this student did get an address from their friend)

Yesterday at 11:55 AM

This may answer your question: Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves (pronounced: U-ka-lip-tus)
(I like how this comment flowed from the top comment)

Examples of higher level questions

In addition to the Wiki, the students are working on their research based on the six questions/statements that they wrote using the different level of bloom's verbsI believe this will shift their thinking about research instead of just reading for facts they are reading for a purpose to answer their statement. Here are a few examples of statements as well as the different organizational tools.

I love the higher thinking with statement #1.

On a side note, I will be presenting at the National Conference of Family Literacy  next week on how I  use Wonderopolis in my classroom within my reading and writing workshop.  I am excited and nervous all rolled up into one.  Check back later for an update.


  1. You will do a fantastic job sharing the joy and excitement that lives in your learning community. Positive examples of authentic learning will really help the public understand the potential of all children across the country. Just think of your audience as parents at curriculum night and make them part of the learning partnership. (It takes away the jitters when you look at the audience as supportive families...)

  2. Good luck!! I can't wait to read about your presentation and discussion.

  3. Thanks friends-I have had a wonderful morning exploring many different sessions.