Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 20
6th Grade 
Science Research
Targeted Skills: Access E-books; Distinguish between different search engines; Use Guiding Questions for note-taking

It has been a lean year for laptop research in the library because I have had a maddening time getting them in working order. After several work orders and lots of logging on/off, the laptops were finally ready for a test-run with 6th grade. And they worked well--for the most part.

I followed our district's science curriculum for this lesson and collaborated with my fabulous librarian friend at Austin Elementary, who generously gave me the notes handout and project rubric that her teachers designed (Thanks again, Tracy!). If you would like copies of this, please leave a comment, and I'll email them to you.

We used our district's Science Search E-Books Resources to research nine different energy sources. Students were divided into groups of 3-4 and worked together to answer the guiding questions over their energy source. The students navigated through the e-books easily and used the questions to find the answers. This was a great opportunity to discuss the difference between a physical book and an e-book. The sixth grade teachers helped tremendously and pointed out key concepts in the content while I taught the information-seeking skills. It was co-teaching at it's best!

After the students had some time to sift through the e-books and find the answers to their questions, we then discussed Google. I have preached to them about "Googling at Your Own Risk" since 3rd grade, but of course, they still Google because, let's face it, Google is COOL--it's its own verb--think about it. I showed them a Google search result for one of the topics (over 8 million results--seriously), and we then compared those search results to those we found using Kids Click (three), a kid-friendly search engine available through our district online resources. The kids think that 8 million results are great until they realize that they are the ones who have to sift through them to find the best. I think I convinced them that Kids Click is a great search engine to try first for school research. Hopefully.

This lesson lasted an hour, and the students continued working on their note taking during the week in class and in the computer lab. My goal was to get them started with the resources and then the teachers can continue it in the classroom. Gone are the days when all research takes place in the library. I think that's a good thing.
Lesson Frame: 

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Read to 4th Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss Genre, Theme, and Character Traits

I have been wanting to share this book with my students ever since I read it over Christmas vacation, and since it won a Caldecott Honor this week, it seemed like the perfect time. Even though the curriculum focus was literary nonfiction, I went a different direction and read this. It is a delightful story and will probably be on my fave read-alouds of 2013 list. This is another way that you can use a non-example to tie into the focus rather than just throwing examples at kids all of the time. We talked about why this is not an example of literary nonfiction but how the character, even though fictional, still shows admirable traits. Annabelle is one of my new literary heroes, and my students loved her, too.

This is a seemingly simple story with so much depth. It is perfect for a discussion on theme and character traits. Most of the 4th grade classes have read Wonder, so it was a great way to bring that fabulous book back into the discussion to tie the themes together.

Lesson Frame: 

3rd Grade Research
Various Topics 
Targeted Skills: Compare online encyclopedia to a real one; Compare Google to Kids Click: Skim and scan encyclopedia article for answers to guiding questions

The district's curriculum continued research for 3rd grade for the second week. Most of the classes decided to research U.S Presidents, so I helped the students continue their research in the library. We looked at our online encyclopedia resources and also discussed the Google vs. Kids Click search engines just like 6th grade did.

One third grade class did a "Diary of a Shark" project in which the teacher used Diary of a Worm as a mentor text and the students researched shark facts in class and wrote their final product like a diary with the facts embedded into it. The students in this picture came to the library to show me their great work, and I took a picture because I was so proud of them.

Pictured below is an example of a foldable that I used to help some of the classes take notes. This is much easier than making a worksheet or booklet. Students folded a piece of colored paper in a tri-fold and then in half and used the six boxes to answer each question.

Lesson Frame: 

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Read to 2nd Grade
Targeted Skills: Characteristics of a myth; Discuss Theme and Character Traits

Since I did not have a good example of a myth to share with 2nd grade, I made Extra Yarn work. Because it is a magical story, the kids thought it was a myth until I reminded them that it was written last year and does not explain why or how something in nature works. The second graders enjoyed this as much as the fourth graders did.

Lesson Frame:

Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Read to 1st Grade 
Targeted Skills: Elements of a Fable

Please see my Week 18 post about this lesson that I first did with 2nd grade.

I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems
Read to Kindergarten
Targeted Skills: Elements of Drama

Please see my Week 17 post about this lesson that I first did with 1st Grade.

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