Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Celebrating and Sharing Nonfiction Research with Others

The Friday before our winter break, we celebrated the culmination of our nonfiction reading and research unit.  It was time for the mini-research clubs to teach others what they learned through their research and to share their new thinking with their classmates.  As Melanie shared in her previous post, audience is so important to writers.  It is equally important that writers know what their purpose is for their writing - is it to persuade, inform, or entertain?

Prior to working on their presentation, the mini-research clubs met to decide their purpose and audience. They had to think about: What do we want the reader to think, feel, and know?  Who will be reading, listening to, or viewing our research presentation and findings?  Once students identified their purpose and audience, they decided how they wanted to present their research and share their new thinking and learning with others.

Here are some of the ways the clubs decided to teach others about their research:
  • Write an informational text, using one of our hybrid nonfiction read alouds as a mentor, to teach the reader how global warming is effecting polar bears in the Arctic.  This club used One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies as their mentor text.   
  • Write a persuasive nonfiction text, arguing both points of view, about whether or not animals should be mixed together with other animals in zoos or separated by type of animal.  This club used the text Should there be Zoos? as their mentor text and set it up the same way to showcase both arguments.  Both arguments were balanced throughout the text and at the end they set up a page for the reader to develop their own opinion and also have a debate with others.  We bound their book at Staples and made multiple copies to share with others.   Below are some photos of their book: 

  • Write an argument text showing both points of views about whether or not elephants should be entertainers.  This group adamantly believed that they should NOT be used as entertainers, but they still argued the other side because they wanted to teach the reader and let them develop their own opinion at the end. This club used Should there be Zoos as their mentor text.  
The research clubs that chose to write a book, read their book to the class during our read aloud time and immediately set up a chart for their read aloud just like I do each day - without any prompting from me!  They took turns reading aloud the parts of their book and writing on the chart and even had their classmates turn and talk and/or stop and jot - it was great! :)

  • One group chose to create an Animoto video to teach their audience that chocolate milk is indeed healthy for children and should not be banned from school cafeterias.  They used photos, comparisons, and statistics in their Animoto to help prove their argument.  

The clubs became very passionate about their research throughout the process and voluntarily stayed in for recess to work on their projects, call resources to acquire more information, and collaborate with one another using Google Drive.  Students were deeply engaged in this research because they had choice, a purpose, and an audience.  Those are three critical components to increase student engagement - they wanted to work on this research! 

Happy New Year! 

1 comment:

  1. I really like how you start with students recognising the purpose and audience - so important!

    It sounds like students were able to pick topics that were important to them and do authentic research. Authentic projects like these do not allow room for research plagiarism. Instead, students have to read for meaning, form their own opinions, and back up the opinions with evidence.

    I suspect students will remember this project!
    Janet | expateducator.com