To build upon the previous day's lesson, where students read an article about school sports, I begin this class by asking the students to work with their table groups to create a list of pros and cons related to school sports. I know they will likely start by listing the points addressed in the article, but fully expect them to reach beyond that. Since they have had time to process the information they read, many of them have already been thinking on some level about this topic. I have a large number of student athletes in my classes this year, so at the very least, I expect they have been giving the topic some thought outside of my classroom.
As it turns out, a large number of students shared that they had discussed the topic with friends and family members since reading the article in class.
(Reflection:I do not have the student groups share out with the class. Instead, I have this spark some thought in the students as individuals in order to motivate them in the next task.)
After getting the students engaged, I introduce the task to them. Today they are expected to begin researching the topic of school sports relative to student achievement in school. I inform them, and reiterate throughout the explanation of the task, that they are not to plan to be on one side or another of the issue. They are to compile information that addresses both sides in order to prepare for the writing task before them. I explain that I expect them to each find a minimum of 2 resources, but that they may find as many as 5 total. I try to keep the number of resources low when doing shorter term research projects, to ensure that the students really know the material in each of the resources rather than simply creating a stack to please me. I also provide them with the Source Info Graphic Organizer to help them organize their notes and findings.
After laying the groundwork for the task, I show the students the EBSCO website and the process for searching for texts. This helps me to know that the resources the kids find will be high quality and legitimate.
After explaining the expectations, I let the kids get started on their search for resources. As they are working, I move about the room and offer support and suggestions to make sure all students are able to successfully complete the task. Some students are rather savvy about this, while others have little to no prior experience, and thus need much more support. My goal is to only provide as much support as is necessary for students, so they are building self-reliance.