Teaching Students to Find Specific Information
I am loving the progress my students are making. This week, my grade level partner and I really took the time to make the most of the unit our students are learning about – the California Missions. During reader’s, students are learning to read not only with a purpose, but also with specific questions in mind. I find that when students know what they are looking for, they are more likely to find information.
Actually, we did a quick exercise (and this one is from a professor at UF that I loved…he was my business law professor…he was interesting). I made my students look for everyone who was wearing red in class that day. I told them to close their eyes and then recall who was wearing grey. The immediate response was: “We were not looking for grey. You told us red.” And that was exactly my point! You will ONLY find what you are looking for.
With this quick exercise, we got right to work. I modeled the strategy: How to look for something in specific when we are reading (some call it close reading). During our social studies time, my students and I had brainstormed some questions we wanted to answer for our research project on the missions. Then we used the reading block to read and do some research – basically we were reading social studies materials during our reading time and making the most of social studies by using the information we had gathered.
Teachers have a very limited amount of time; it makes sense to connect it all together: learn a reading strategy that will work for social studies (or science or any other content area), use it, and then re-use it. The more practice our students get, the better they will do (good practice that is). So, my kiddos are still researching and learning. I know who needs additional help and that is OK, but most importantly, I can plan accordingly and help those who need it and challenge those who are ready for the next step.
The following photos are a collection of the strategy with questions and another one called “read, stop, think, and write.” They knew what questions they wanted to answer so they broke their reading in paragraphs, stopping to find important information and answer the questions they had at the same time. Keep in mind that students are researching in Spanish, taking notes in Spanish but writing the report in English. Talk about working!
I also met in small groups and helped those that needed extra support.
How do you teach children to do research in your classroom? I would love to hear.