Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Final Update on Research

Once again, my students have hit a grand slam with their research projects.  I discussed in this post about how I set research up differently this year.  I am so pleased with the outcomes because every project connected their learning to a standard in 5th grade and most of them enriched their learning with going above and beyond. Sometimes I learn better with pictures so I want to take you on a visual discovery.  
 All students had to choose 10 vocabulary words from their science book that supported their project.  Several students randomly chose 10 words but through revision realized they need to choose better words.  This was powerful because they took ownership of the these words in their final project. 

Six students decided to do a science experiment that they designed and following the scientific process from the book. This student chose this experiment because he was reading Diary of a Whimpy Kid and one of the characters was wondering about this question. The light bulb moment for me was on the 2nd day of presentations several students commented they did not make this choice because it was too hard, but now after seeing the projects they wish they would have chosen to be a scientist.  

Most of the class chose to write a literary non-fiction project or write a book of poetry.  There were so many wonderful connections with our focus skills this year that I could not have been happier with their final projects.  It was hard for me to know how to share their writings, so I just started lifting lines as I graded on my iPad to share some with you.  
James:  The Close Call
Let's rewind a bit ... his opening hook for the reader
He flew to his parent's room.
Peter now raced to the computer where he found his brother.
Now all Peter could rely on was his bookshelf.
Peter did most of his thinking on the lawn.
Peter was about to admit defeat and be as melancholy as a pooh bear with no honey or a scientist with no research. 

Christine:  Yellowstone National Park Fires of 1998
The fire smoke turned the daylight into night in some areas of the park.
Flames still burned inside the trunks of the trees. (new fact for everyone including me)
"I'll go get my notebook and sketch the glacier lily and write a few new facts."

Finally a student in my class, who LOVES science and has never been able to choose his own experiment chose to research his favorite pond where he spends all of his time.  He collected water samples. Using his sister's microscope which he had to made "a deal" to be able to use, he counted up different organisims from his pond water.  Never in 25 years, I have seen such a thorough and well thought out presentation. He made a CD of the specimens and shared it with our class. You should have heard the oooohs and ahhhs- WOW is all I could say.
And we can teach so much through our feedback on projects-it's not always about the final grade. Although for C. he knocked this project out of the park!!

1 comment:

  1. Great work here, Maria - I love the synergy between language arts, writing and science. Bravo to all of you!