I extend our reading of the novel entitled, Because of Winn Dixie, with research that focuses on the setting of this story, Florida. I create a Promethean Flip Chart that begins with a movie clip showing students' own back yard, the cities in Florida that are familiar to them. The movie discusses the endangerment of wildlife as Florida's population grows and we invade the territory of animals and plants indigenous to Florida.
Our discussion begins about what students saw in the movie clip. We elaborate our new knowledge to experiences beyond the movie clip. Common Core extends learning to real world applications and prior experiences. The discussions personalizes the lesson and students take ownership of their learning.
I further engage students in the learning process through an anticipation guide. Using responders to answer a pre-assessment, students begin to acquire a focus to find information that is relevant to the questions and answers. The purpose of the anticipation guide is to develop curiosity for learning.
After students activate background knowledge from the Flip Chart, we discuss shared research. I refer students to a past lesson to review this process: Florida Research Lesson. This lesson is a culminating activity for this unit. Students need to have the background knowledge from previous lessons from the unit in order to complete this project. I have modeled this process and given students opportunity to practice their research skills to prepare them for this complex task.
I conduct an interest survey to see which of the four categories students are interested in researching and displayed the results on our Interest Survey Bulletin Board. Students are divided into research groups based on their topic of interest. The Everglades sub topics of research are: reptiles, mammals, birds, habitat. We use the jig saw technique. Each group researches one sub topic, thus becoming experts on that topic. The intention is to share and put together each sub topic into one report topic: Everglades Wildlife. Students were given a large poster sized paper and art materials (feathers, construction paper, googly eyes, etc.) to create a visual display correlating to their research findings for an oral presentation at the end of this activity. Common Core integrates speaking and listening skills for the purposes of communicating conceptual knowledge, especially during shared research activities. Oral presentations are great opportunities to present and share knowledge.
The flip chart review the group norms, Group Roles, Note Taking Roles, rules, collaboration rubric so that each team works cooperatively and effectively. I also use Color Cups signal so that I can see the progress of each team as I facilitate learning. As the groups are engaged in discussions and collaboration, I circulate using my flip camera to document student progress and monitor the signals students give for needing my assistance. it is important for me to always be available for my students as I conduct formative assessments in this authentic learning environment.
We discuss and review the research process including note taking, documenting sources, multiple sources available, etc. I like to give students a variety of multimedia sources such as journal articles, books, videos, etc. I provide each team with jump drives containing these sources as well as references and links to related websites. Furthermore, each team uses guided questions to facilitate retrieving relevant information from these sources. Our goal is to locate relevant information.
This shared research lesson demonstrates the Common Core Reading and Writing Standards by students' mastery of the research process such as searching relevant sources, note taking, categorizing notes related to one topic, and producing a written report. The Common Core Speaking and Listening standards are evident in student collaborative discussions and oral presentations.
Each group presents their findings to the class. Members show their final project: Visual Display 1 and Visual Display 2 and discuss how it is a representation of their research. At the end of our sharing out, I ask students to complete a reflection and access where they are on the learning progression using the Cooperation Rubric and Reflection Exit Slip. Student feedback is essential in scaffolding and differentiating future lessons.