This is a series of Language Arts lessons that I run concurrently with a Native American literature week. The students love researching tribes that they are reading about in folktales and other Native American literature. Pairing informational text with literature is an awesome combination! Please watch this short video to hear some of the highlights of this lesson. Thank you!
Being that this is the last day of our Native American research project, I make sure to let the students lead in the review of our academic and content vocabulary, as well as the research process itself. We discuss the steps we took over the last two weeks including building background knowledge, note taking, researching, drafting, editing, publishing, presenting, and listening. It's important that the students see the big picture of all the parts day by day and how it led up to the final project. I ask the students to reflect on the last two weeks, and ask them what's important that we make sure we do with our next research project.
Prepare for Presentations:
The tribe is very excited, and maybe a little nervous, to share what they've learned about their tribe and topic. We go through our rubric again, just like yesterday. I want to make sure the students know the expectations for presenting and listening. We read the bold sentences in the the rubric boxes:
Using "I" statements with my students makes them take ownership into the statements, as it applies directly to them!
I give my students a chance to turn to a neighbor and read through their book pages again for practice.
Present, Listen, Ask Questions:
For this set of presentations, I randomly chose students to go by using a randomizer on my SMART Board. The students love the randomizer and we use it whenever we can.
Before we begin each presentation, we give the students presenting a "Lights, camera, action!". We do this by holding out one arm horizontally, straight ahead, and saying "Lights!". Then we hold our other arm directly vertical toward the ceiling, and say "Camera". Lastly we snap our vertical arm down onto our other arm and say, "Action". My students know that as soon as we say "Action!", we are focused and ready to watch and listen.
I have the students place their Native American book page under my document camera. If you don't have a document camera, the students can hold it, or you can clip it to your board. Then, they read through their page. We give appropriate praise when they're finished, and then the students ask the presenter questions about their tribe and topic. I have about three students ask a question of the presenter. I randomly choose students to ask questions.
While the students are presenting, I complete the rubric to assess their speaking and listening skills. (See Resource File: Native American Research Book Page Presentation Rubric)
We have a lot to celebrate, as this was our first research project of the year! I let my tribe know how proud I am of them by gathering together in our carpet area, where I have a pretend Native American fire we are using during our reading block. I recap many of the great facts they've presented and we have a conversation about the similarities and differences in the tribes and topics presented.
As a token of their accomplishments, I present my tribe with a small gift. It's just a simple pencil that I've bought at the store, but I give it a fancy name, "researcher's pencil". When I pass them out, I say things like, "This is for teaching me so much about the Cheyenne homes!", "You really filled my schema bank with information on the Seminole and the wars they fought!", or "You're such a great researcher, I never knew that the Navajo had so many unique clothing designs!". The students love the praise, and will cherish the pencil (which is very inexpensive), because a special memory was attached to it!
We have a research project for every unit in our grade level, so I'll be saving all of the posters and other supplemental materials to use for unit two, when we research ocean animals. The students have attached meaning to the posters we've created and will allow them to pick up where we left off when we begin our next research project!
Lastly, I staple the students' Native American pop-up pages together to make a class book that becomes part of our classroom library. Students love to read and reread their own and classmates' work! At the end of the year, I'll disassemble and pass back all of the individual pages to be sent home.
I've included an additional research practice packet to help students practice reading for information, note taking, drafting, and publishing. Offering my students additional practice will help reinforce the standards we've worked so hard on the last two weeks. These pages can be used with any informational text, at any level. I plan on having my students complete them as a research center during our literacy centers and guided reading block. (See Resource File: Research Rocks Practice Pages)