Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stepping into Guided Research

We're revising the endangered species unit once again to meet current educational needs and potential. To begin with, students and teachers will model the main actions of the unit for each other in the following ways.

Close Reading and Reading Response
The teacher will guide students through close reading activities related to introductory complex text. Students will preview, define/identify central questions, "read to find out," and then share that information aloud and in writing with mini posters. The posters will be hung on the class bulletin board as a reminder of the main ideas of the unit. Reading fluency, speaking, and presentation skills will be emphasized during the share.

The teacher will introduce the main vocabulary of the unit through a number of online and offline vocabulary activities. The students will use the 7-step vocabulary method to introduce the words--partners will introduce two words to the class using this presentation guide.  Once again reading fluency, speaking, and presentation skills will be emphasized during the share. Then we'll create a large vocabulary board that students can refer to throughout the unit to inform their study.

Visual Presentations
Students and teachers will discuss what makes an inviting visual display, and students will use the noted elements when creating vocabulary and introductory posters and information.

Speaking and Presentation
The students and teachers will list what makes an engaging, fluent presentation. Students will practice those skills as they present their posters and initial information.

Research Teams: Choice and Voice
Once a background of information and vocabulary is set, students will study the project/reservation list and make choices related to team members and study focus.

Writing Questions
Prior to the start of the team research project, students and teachers will discuss the importance of writing questions, and letting those questions lead the research.

Also prior to team research, students and teachers will identify a large number of online and offline resources for the project. The resource links and titles will be hosted on the class endangered species guided research website.

Backend Design
Once research teams are created, students will start their project with a backend design process where they visualize and chart their end project, and then work backwards listing all the important steps in the project work.  After that, they'll add dates to the project steps to lead their work.

Project Steps
Teams will then research an animal reservation, create a Google presentation, write a script, create a learning service project, practice the script, present to friends and family members, conduct their service learning activity, assess and reflect.