Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Behind the Books: Stepping Up to Research, Step 3

According to new findings from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, the best nonfiction writing occurs when early-elementary research experiences are scaffolded as follows:

1. Organize and categorize information 
     (a) based on personal experiences
     (b) on a topic students care deeply about

2. Organize, categorize, and compare observations.

3. Conduct guided research.

4. Conduct cold research.

For Step 3, students write about a topic the class is studying. This is a great chance to integrate ELA with your science or social studies curriculum.

At the beginning of the unit, draw your class’s attention to a Wonder Wall that you created on a classroom bulletin board. Let the children know that as they study the topic, they will probably have lots of questions. Encourage students to record these questions on sticky notes and add them to the Wonder Wall.
If a question is answered during the remaining part of the unit, jot the answer on another sticky note and place it next to the question. At the end of the unit, invite students to choose one of the unanswered questions or develop a new question. Working with the school librarian and a literacy coach, guide the children in researching their questions independently and sharing their findings with the class.

Next week I’ll take Wednesday off, so I can clean my house and go grocery shopping in preparation of for the Thanksgiving festivities, but I’ll be back on November 30 to look at Step 4.

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