Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taking Note
Note cards? Notebook paper? Organizers? I have tried many different ways through the years to help my students organize notes. I think I have figured out what works for me and my students.



For my students to truly understand what they are researching we had to establish the purpose of our research.  The project at hand was a cross-curricular project so my teaching partner and I were tag teaming lessons.  I taught note taking lessons and she allowed additional time for researching in her room.  This worked out great and allowed us to finish the project in two weeks.

Students generated a list of questions on the planet they were researching.  They understood they needed key facts about their planet, but knew to keep it interesting to their reader.  Majority of students worked on finding out the following information

  • where the planet is location in relation to the earth
  • could the planet sustain life 
  • did the planet have or has water
  • the number of  days/years it take to orbit the sun
  • size in relation to the sun and earth
  • how it was formed
  • if it has rings how they were formed and what purpose they have
  • how old the planet is
Some students took things further and others did less.  It really depended on what they were interested in knowing.  These questions guided their research.  Now it was time for students to learn how to find these answers. I then taught how to skim and and scan. I used a lesson from Read, Write Think and adapted it to fit my topics.  This was huge for the kids. Giving them permission to not read the entire book was such a relief to them.  We did however have to have some practice. Students had to really think about what they were looking for and where to possibly find it by using the Table of Contents and Index.  This was NOT mastered, but I plan on using this same researching outline later on in the school year so students can acquire more experience using this method. 

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