To really hook students in deep I like to teach inquiry skills using animals. Young students tend to have a somewhat large knowledge base on animals and there a lot of resources/material out there for elementary students to use. At this time of the year such animals as bats and spiders are pretty popular. This past Monday students in my class watched a time laps video of a spider spinning a web on Wonderopolis. Just this one video was enough to get them all talking about our creepy crawly friends. We also will do a modern day KWL chart on Padlet.com where students can put down what they think they know about spiders (great time to talk about fact and opinion). Check out our Padlet wall on Spiders.
The next thing I like to do is have students move between different stations where they can explore the topic we are wondering about (I mentioned doing this with maps in the last post I made).
Station 1: iBooks
Great non-fiction books that can be read to the beginning reader.
Station 2: The "old-fashion" book
I clean out the public library and school library of every spider book I can get my hands on. Our school library has worked hard to have a selection of beginning reader books. Students love looking at the pictures if the books are too hard to read. I try to get a volunteer during these stations to help read books to students.
|The table was full of books awesome spider books|
Station 3: Question Modeling
This is where the magic happens! I take a group of students and show them a video or something hands on (for spiders I had two spiders to let them look at). Then I start to wonder out loud for the students to hear my thoughts. I let them know that we aren't trying to come up with an answer right then and there, just questions. Younger students like to try to make up answers or give their opinions. No pressure to answer questions, we are just talking and wondering together. This is why I became a teacher.
|These girls are just full of wonder!|
The next day students work in pairs to come up with a question. They then write it on at sticky note and place it on a piece of chart paper that says "I Wonder...". My intent for this activity is two fold; students will create questions for research and it will help those that are "stuck" to find a question to answer. After the questions are posted I have students try to find answers to their questions. Prior to all this we have talked about how to search on the internet and have set up a "research" folder on our iPads (KidRex.org, Twitter, Time for Kids, Wonderopolis, National Geographic for Kids). I have showed students how to search for videos or pictures (ex: spider, videos) and how to have the iPad read text to you (settings, general, accessibility, speech, speak selection). We also create a Word Wall of words they will need to spell correctly to search successfully.
After students can find answers to their questions or other interesting facts we start taking notes on all the new facts we've learned. Students can write or draw the facts out.
The last piece is to share out what they have learned. For now we are just posting a fact or two on our KidBlog site. In the future we will turn it into a book, Keynote or Explain Everything video.
**Please contact me with questions, comments or ideas.