Thursday, January 31, 2013

Research, Compare and Contrast, Using Graphic Sources, and Presentations

My 6th graders have been busy learners these last few weeks.  Upon completing a passage called Dinosaur Ghosts: The Mystery of Coelophysis, I challenged my students to some research.

I don't know what it is about dinosaurs, but my students LOVE learning about them.  I think it is that they lived so long ago, were so massive, for the most part, and no longer exist.  As soon as I shared with them what we would be doing, they truly couldn't wait to get started.

Upon completing the passage from Reading Street and identifying main idea for each section of the text, the students were then allowed to choose a packet of information about a dinosaur.  The list included: Omnithosaurus, Ultrasaurus, Xiasaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Kronosaurus, etc.  I selected and printed out information on 24 dnosaurs that I knew my students had NEVER heard of.  I wanted them to complete authentic research, rather than read and write about something they already knew a great deal about.

Upon getting their packet, they were given a Venn Diagram and asked to find/identify/organize the following information about their dinosaur and Coelophysis...

They gained knowledge of words like locomotion, anatomy, etc.  We incorporated our work with prefixes and suffixes discussing the difference between a biped and quadruped.  We used graphics to identify more information.  All in all, so many learning targets were part of this project.

Next, they had to combine the information about these two dinosaurs into two different paragraphs-a comparison paragraph and a contrasting paragraph.  Each paragraph had to have an introductory sentence, three supporting details, and a concluding sentence.  Upon editing them and rewriting, they were typed on the laptops.

Upon printing out their paragraphs, students created posters to display their research.  Their posters had to include the following: a venn diagram, graphics of both dinosaurs, a map where their dinosaur fossils were found, and their published paragraphs.  

Other items could include an Encephalization chart or other graphics found.  Here is an example of one student's finished product.

Today the students present.  They will stand before the class and share information about their dinosaur compared to Coelophysis.  They have been given a rubric in order to earn their 35 presentation points.  I am eager to hear their new knowledge.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how you incorporate research into your classroom.  Keep me posted on any cool tools you use or fun ideas you have!  Happy almost February!  

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At Thursday, 14 February, 2013 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this! I teach 6th grade in Alabama using Reading Street. We had this story back before Christmas, and I wish we could go back and do this. Thanks for sharing!

At Sunday, 17 February, 2013 , Blogger Northern Mama from the South said...

Do you have the newest version of Reading street? We just met up with some teachers who have implemented it this year and seem to like it, but I'm trying to find more schools who've switched to the newer version!

Love this activity! Such a fun way to get writing in!

At Monday, 18 February, 2013 , Blogger Erin Beers said...

Thanks for your kind words. We have had the Reading Street series for a number of years. I have learned to tweak things as I have gone in order to make it work best for my students. I tried this for the first time last year and it was a hit! I love when that happens! Hope all is well in Alabama! Best of luck to you the rest of this school year! Please keep me posted on any of the cool things you do with your students and these different passages.

At Monday, 18 February, 2013 , Blogger Erin Beers said...

We do not have the newest version, in fact, I think we have the first edition. Thanks for your comment. I am always looking for ways to enhance Reading Street to make it more impactful and applicable for my kiddos. I have not had time to check out the newest edition, but would love to hear your thoughts and insights on what you like about it. I am assuming passages have been tweaked for common core, but I have no idea.


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