Previously, students visited the computer lab to find two articles on a topic they had chosen after the lesson, "Is This for Real?" I had each student print out and give me the articles so I could make sure they were from reputable sources. While doing this, I noticed that some students were not quite on track...(shocking, I know!) A couple of common threads that I noticed were 1) Kiddos finding two great articles on different topics, 2) Students using blogs instead of research articles, or 2) Students who cut and pasted a tiny part of the article and printed it. I had a few days before we were actually going to read the articles so my students could correct their mistakes.
Before we read our articles, I am going to ask my students to decide where they stand on their issue. I'll have them write a really simplified claim, such as, Video games help improve memory, or Having a pet can improve your quality of life.
I'll have them place their claim on the top of a tree map where they will be recording information and support later on today.
I have thought long and hard about how to approach this portion of the lesson. I want my students to really stay organized through this whole process, and I also want their support to be text based.
I am going to have the students do an initial reading of each of the articles. Because I want them to use color coding later on, I am asking that they mark important ideas with stars instead of highlighting like we usually do.
I will tell my students that we are reading to find reasons that support their opinions. The student will read article one, marking important ideas with stars. After, the student will make a list of the most important ideas on the back of the tree map. They'll repeat the process with article two.
I feel like an initial reading is going to be crucial in helping my students develop solid reasons that support their opinions. I want them to come up with reasons that they can support using the evidence they've already found. I know the research process can be frustrating, so I am hoping they can come up with some of their reasons as they read.
Most of my students will struggle with sitting for this period of time, so between the reading of the two articles we'll take a little break. When I notice that most students are finished with their first article, I will have them all stop. I'll explain that we will be finding a partner or two that we usually don't work with, and explain our claim and something interesting we've read.
I will play some music and have the kids mingle. I really make them mingle, which they don't want to do at first because they only want to talk to their friends, but once they are used to this strategy it is fine.
I like to do this every once in awhile as a brain break and a way to get my students to talk to someone new. I also think that it is really valuable to verbally process their learning as they go. If time permits, I'll do another "Mix and Mingle" round at the end of class.
Even though my students are in sixth grade, they all cheered at my song choice!