In Search of Knowledge

Last week, my kiddos and I embarked on the great animal research adventure! Yes, I know! It is the old cliche of either a state or an animal project. In my defense, we are planning a trip to the North Carolina Zoo at Asheboro next month, and I wanted the students to have an idea of what to expect. In planning this project, I was struck by how many of my CCSS objectives were going to utilized.

  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.A
    Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.B
    Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.C
    Use appropriate transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.D
    Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.E
    Establish and maintain a formal style.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.F
    Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the information or explanation presented.
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.7
    Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.8
    Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.9
    Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.10
    Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1
    Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.A
    Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.B
    Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.C
    Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.D
    Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.E
    Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others’ writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2
    Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2.A
    Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2.B
    Spell correctly.
  • Knowledge of Language:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3
    Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3.A
    Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3.B
    Maintain consistency in style and tone.*
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4
    Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4.A
    Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4.B
    Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4.C
    Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4.D
    Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.5
    Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.5.A
    Interpret figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.5.B
    Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., cause/effect, part/whole, item/category) to better understand each of the words.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.5.C
    Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, unwasteful, thrifty).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.6
    Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
  • Key Ideas and Details:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.1
    Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • Craft and Structure:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4
    Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.7
    Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.10
    By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
  • Comprehension and Collaboration:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1
    Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1.A
    Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1.B
    Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1.C
    Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1.D
    Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.2
    Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.4
    Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.5
    Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.6
    Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 6 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)
  • Conventions of Standard English:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1
    Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.A
    Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.C
    Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.D
    Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1.E
    Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others’ writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2
    Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2.A
    Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2.B
    Spell correctly.
  • Knowledge of Language:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3
    Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3.A
    Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3.B
    Maintain consistency in style and tone.*
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4
    Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4.A
    Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4.C
    Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4.D
    Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.6
    Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Whew! No wonder we were so tired by the end of the week!

My students were so excited to be doing this research. Wait a minute. Did I just say that students were excited to do research? Yes! You should have heard the room buzzing with the sounds of students talking and sharing and asking their peers for assistance. I heard phrases such as, “I didn’t know that!” and “Hey! Did you know…?” It was wonderful to see them so engaged in the writing process. I had very little to do to start out with until they had really sank their teeth into the research.

IMG_0549

Alexandra and Karlie help each other with citations.

IMG_0550

Memphis and Alex discuss information about porcupines. 

IMG_0553

Francisco listens as Ashton explains his use of a particular photo. 

The hardest thing for my students to do was to cite their sources AS THEY FOUND THEM! So many times, the students would be so excited to share a piece of information that they had discovered, only to hear me ask, “Where did you find that?” They struggled a bit to remember to use the citation maker that I had shown them on the first day of our research.

The next hardest was their struggle to paraphrase the information they were finding. So many of them wanted to copy the information from a website and paste it right into papers. We had to really work to make sure we were paraphrasing.

This truly was a group project, even though they all had a different animal. They discussed options for everything from sources to publishing.

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One thought on “In Search of Knowledge

  1. Michelle Todd says:

    Roxanne, I too have found that many of the writing activities that we do in the classroom cover a great deal of ELA standards especially a project based assignment. You have created a research activity that with help your students learn or reinforce skills they will use many times in the future. Even though an “Animal unit” seems elementary for sixth graders, there is so much to learn and explore that they will learn new material. Your students will remember this project for years to come.

    Like

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