Sunday, March 10, 2013

Research projects and Spring Break WOO HOO!!!

Where has the past week gone??
I have been MIA again and besides being super busy with work and preparing for Vacay, I really don't have a good excuse. lol

So one of my big projects this past week had to do with compiling resources for my teachers on research projects.
They are working on standards RI5.4, RI5.7 and RI5.9
These standards include:
*  Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to agrade 5 topic or subject area
*  Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
*  Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Thus the research project...

Where a curve ball comes into play is incorporating the writing piece into this.
Our district has adopted Matt Glover's philosophy on writing workshop.
Do you know who Matt Glover is?
He is a truly inspirational presenter.
My teachers who were lucky enough to listen to him present left truly inspired to make changes to what they were currently doing.
I left completely missing teaching writing workshop.
Below is a screen shot of the book some of my K-1 teachers are reading.

To briefly sum up Matt Glover's philosphy, I have include a blurb from the Heinemann website.
Click on the image below to get more information.

In Engaging Young Writers, Matt Glover (coauthor of Already Ready) presents ways to encourage students to pick up the pen and share their remarkable thinking. With multiple entry points for writers, he helps you match your teaching to children’s individual interests and patterns of learning. Glover shows how you can:
  • nudge writers into action through meaning, choice, and purpose
  • invite preschool children to write through conversation and invite primary students through units of study
  • spark imaginative writing through read-aloud and dramatic play
  • inspire kids to write stories from personal experiences
  • give students the chance to share their passions and interests through nonfiction writing.
Engaging Young Writers features teaching tested in real classrooms and the student samples to back it up. Glover takes special care to address how his ideas can be applied to the unique developmental needs of writers in preschool, kindergarten, and grade one.
Inside every child is a writer. Inside you is the desire to give children a great start. Inside Engaging Young Writers is the teaching to help you create that wonderful moment when your students decide to become the writer within.

With that philosophy in mind, as well as how strongly Matt Glover feels about providing the students with a vision of what they are writing through exposure to mentor texts, research projects just got trickier.

Matt believes that if you are asking children to write something, you need to provide them with a vision of what the final project looks like.
For instance, if I want my students to write a narrative, then I spend the first 2-3 immersing them into what good narratives look and sound like.
During this immersion, I would read them a variety of published narratives giving them exposure to what the end product would look like.
So if I am reading picture books, then my students will be writing picture books.

This is where research reports get tricky.
Matt Glover himself says that you can't find a "stack" of research reports because that is not what published authors write.

So the task is what vision can we provide our students for their end product of a research report?

One group of 5th grade teachers is doing state projects.
The students get to choose a state to research.
That sounds easy enough...
Travel Brochures

Another group of 5th grade teachers are allowing the children to have complete choice (which is another part of Matt Glover's philosophy).
They are to write about something they have questions about or a problem situation.
I am absolutely behind giving them choice.
If I was in the classroom, I would leave it open to them also.
The problem lies in the vision we provide them with...
What mentor texts do we put into our "stacks"?

At this point, we are going with writing nonfiction books which would mean exposing them into a variety of styles.
We had a difficult time coming up with a vision.
Do you all have any suggestions?

Okay... Enough with school talk. lol
I am on SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!

I leave Wednesday morning for Temecula, California.
Have you ever been there?

Wednesday and Thursday are mostly relaxing and enjoying the beautiful area.
We also will be helping out with my niece's wedding craziness prep some during those two days. lol
Friday and Saturday will be wedding fun!

Below is a screen shot of where Temecula is located.
Be prepared for some more exciting photos upon return! :)

The weather is suppose to be high 70's/low 80's!

What are your plans for spring break?

Antoinette :)


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