Friday, March 13, 2015

Biographical Research…So Proud!!!

Hi Friends! How are ya? I’m tired, but still floating somewhere around cloud nine…too excited to sleep…soooooo I thought I’d shoo the crickets away from the blog by sharing with YOU! This evening we held our spring open house. While it made for a long day, it was definitely a great one! Watching most of my students bounce in the door ready to tell their parents all about what we’ve been learning made for a filled teacher heart!

There are times when you wonder if your students actually hear anything you’re saying….(like over the course of 2 straight weeks of bad weather and NO RECESS). Tonight proved they’re listening. They’re always listening! The kids did an amazing job of walking their parents through the classroom and explaining how and why we use the things we do. The ONE thing they all had in common was being excited about the research we recently completed.

When the first parent walked in the door asking about Pocahontas, I just smiled. Then the next one walked in wanting to know about Sacagawea and the next one and the next one…..came in asking about the person their kiddo had been researching. I quickly realized my kids had been going home sharing what they’d learned at school. My heart was filled with pride! The smiles on each kid’s face proved they were too!


We have a required list of biographies that we must cover over the course of the year. I address those in whole group. When it comes to “kid work”…I’m a firm believer that choice equals engagement… for their small group {biographical} research projects, each student got to explore our online database to choose a person they were interested in.


We worked on this over the course of the last 4 weeks. I guess you really do grow to love something that takes you a whole month to complete! I precut the foldable. We completed 1 section each week during visits to the computer lab and during writer’s workshop. Students were split into 9 small groups of no more than 3. Each group was guided by a student leader.


Students took notes on a plain sheet of printer paper. From their notes, they recorded 3 facts they learned….


…then recorded life span dates and created a timeline of 4 important life events in sequential order.


After illustrating the 4 important life events, students wrote a short booklet [using the events on the timeline] to write about the person’s life.


Cite our sources? Yep! 1st graders can do that! Luckily, our research database has an option for students to click and the correct format for the citation pops right up on the screen! Students click it and its immediately available for them to copy neatly. We use for online research.


Have you ever seen kiddos so engaged in the computer lab…..away from the computers?!!! They absolutely loved learning about real people! This afternoon bottoms were bouncing into the share chair ready teach friends. Those that came to open house had a second opportunity by sharing with their parents!

Seeing parents just as excited as the kids about what we’d been learning was an added plus!!! My littles amaze me a little more every day! Have I mentioned how much I love my class?


Click the pic above to get a closer look at our little project! After having some giveaway fun on Facebook, a sweet friend suggested creating a second version for older kiddos without primary lines, so this product has grown and now includes two versions. One with primary lines for firsties and one with wide-ruled lines for older kiddos. Check it out and happy researching!

I think I can head to bed now. There’s more fun to be had tomorrow and THEN…….we’re off for spring break!

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