Sunday, November 18, 2012

Questions Post-it Poster Research and Reference Idea Freebie

In our room, we have a lot of good questions. Something that my intern/long-term sub implemented during my maternity leave was a questions poster.

I think it is the best idea! I love how easy it is for us to jot down questions during guided reading groups or anytime throughout the day. We just scribble it down quickly on a post-it and move on. 

The best part of this poster is that it allows students to go back later and research the question that we had. 

Until now, this has been just fine, but I have been thinking of the best way for them to report their findings back to the class. I came up with this freebie:
It is a research reporting form that encourages them to cite their source, quote the cite, then restate it in their own words. With Oklahoma's new Common Core standard adoption, we are really working on using evidence in our writing. I really think the citing aspect will deepen our understanding of evidence and citing sources.

We went to the computer lab on Friday to practice researching. Each student got a form with a question that we (me and Ms. J) had written in. I am so glad I had decided to have the questions pre-written. We barely had enough time to finish researching after the instructions and answering questions at the beginning. We also stopped several times throughout the lesson to point out things that individual students noticed that might help others. The lesson would have run way over if they had been allowed time to think of their own question. Maybe next time.

Here are some things to consider if you decide to implement this in your classroom:

  • The actual lesson on how to use the form was so much more helpful that I had originally thought it would be. Maybe my favorite lesson all year. The kids learned so much about how to re-phrase the question into search friendly language and about persevering with their research. They all thought originally that they would get the answer after one try. It took some students over 5 different search engines or online reference sites before they got an answer. We even had some people admit that the internet wasn't the best place to look for the information. *Insert gasp here!
  • Try to not allow them to use search engines like Google or Bing. I know, I know. I Google everything. Keep in mind that, most likely, so do your kids. They probably feel pretty comfortable using Goggle. We used the reference links from our school media center page. They had a few options and were forced to use online encyclopedias and other reference sites that required them to narrow the words they searched for. For example, on Google I would type the full question, "Which mosquitoes bite people?" On the Encyclopedia Brittanica site, they would have to understand the key words in the question and type, " Mosquito, type, bite." This spurred some good conversation in our lesson.
  • Since some questions are easier to research, allow early finishers to help their classmates. I had one question stump 4 kids before they found the answer.
  • Have a discussion at the end about what they learned about researching. 
  • Create a book of their findings. Just bind together the completed forms for kids to peruse when they have time. 
  • Bring your media specialist along for the ride. Our librarian, Mrs. Carter, helped us so much. She is also who my class will be interacting with if they go to the media center to research, so it will be great that she is on board and knows about our format. 
  • Discuss the importance of citing exact words from the source. We talked about plagiarism in the context of intellectual property and they understood the concept. I asked the class to show me their understanding on our 1-4 scale, and I saw all 3s and 4s. 
  • Think about asking your class what they learned. I got a wide variety of responses, from "I learned that researching is hard" to "I learned that you have to read the article to find the answer." It was really neat to hear! When I asked them to raise their hand if they learned anything at all, every hand went up. I think I can call that engagement in the lesson! 
Here are a couple of examples from my class:

I will end with a handy tip for making your forms into a book. Use zip ties! I just put the forms in sheet protectors, or you can laminate them, and then zip tied them loosely. I used a pen as a spacer between the pages and the zip tie. I finished by closely trimming the tie. The best part? I think I bought 100 zip ties for like a buck fifty. If you use 3 ties per booklet, that is less than a nickle per book and you can make the book as thick as you want. Added ties are fun:)

Your teacher friend,

1 comment:

  1. I love your zip tie idea! I spend so much money on classroom stuff....this will allow us to make our own (without me eating Ramen for a month to afford those expensive binders!) LOL Do you have a PDF or other type form with your Question Research Form??? I would love to have a copy.


    5th Grade Tomfoolery


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