“Can my primary students actually conduct research and write a paragraph on their findings?”
“Where do I (as a teacher) even begin?”
“How do I guide my students?”
“Will they really be able to do this on their own?
I was asked all of these questions when I met with a LRC teacher a couple weeks ago. She wanted to have the 1st grade students research an animal of their choice. The project would require them conduct actual research, take notes and then write a paragraph that included a topic sentence and a wrap-up sentence.
My response…???… “YES! Of course they can.”
Let me start by saying, this teacher has wonderful ideas, welcomes collaboration and is always looking for opportunities to improve the classroom experience for her students. For this particular project, as her Instructional Coach, we planned and discussed multiple instructional strategies that would work best for her various groups of students. From there, we started planning her lesson using the Gradual Release Model: “I Do, We Do, You Do”.
- She modeled what the students were going to be asked to do: How to get to PebbleGo, select an animal, listen to the information, and how to choose a fact from what she heard/read. She wrote down a fact on a similar graphic organizer the students were going to use.
- In the “We Do” stage we all listened to the “Food” section of the book. Then we chose facts from the food section (shared as a whole group) and she wrote them down on the graphic organizer.
- The kids were asked to choose their own animal and write down a fact for each section of the book on their graphic organizer (You Do.) The students loved using PebbleGoto help them research. Several of them listened and read about other animals when they were done!
The following week we used the same model to show the students how they would use their facts to create a paragraph about their animal. We emphasized that their topic sentence had to have the name of their animal so their audience would know what they were reading about. Then the students turned their facts into a complete sentence and wrote a paragraph about their animal. They concluded with a fun fact about their animal. They were so proud of their writing and illustration…(of course) so were we!
Next year, we are planning to have the students type their story and record it in Book Creator. They will have the option to use the photographs provided or create their own. Some of the students have chosen to put their story into Book Creator already!
Interesting Read: Rapid Release of Responsibility-This model is focused on putting “You Do” FIRST then “We Do, I Do”
Instructional Coach Nicole Ring