On Friday, students worked to draft their lines of inquiry for their units. Each student will create three of these, with guiding questions to help them focus their learning over the next few weeks. All the thinking they’ve done over the last few weeks builds to this work, which then drives their research. And when it comes down to it, good inquiry involves a lot of research. How old do we sound with students when we talk longingly of the days when we went to the library, looked in the card catalog, and found books and magazines. It seemed so easy. Those days are gone.
As we know, the information world is now vast. During the Exhibition unit, we want students to reach for a variety of sources. We want them to move beyond book and website searches, where possible. So, we’re encouraging that students consider a wider range of resources as they begin their research:
- local visits
- print sources
- online sources
Looking for interviewees and field visit possibilities
Interviews can open up worlds for these students. At ages 10-11, they relate well to people. It is not necessary for someone to be an expert. We are looking for people with knowledge willing to talk with our young researchers. We recognize that students may need help finding these people. Once they do, however, we know from experience that they are excited and seem to be able to quickly relate the information an informed person shares with them to their growing foundation of knowledge. We hope to involve the school and parent community in our interviews. We will draw on the expertise of teachers and are looking for parents who are willing to share their expertise as well. Thank you to those of you who have already emailed teachers to offer help.
Below, see the list of passions that are the focus of this year’s student inquiries. If you have experiences or knowledge that make you a perspective interviewee, please let the grade 5 teachers know. In addition, if you know of a local museum or site that student researchers might visit for their inquiries, please share these ideas with your child’s teacher, who can pass ideas along to the specific students who may benefit.
For websites and magazines, students have been well prepared by our librarians, who have led a number of lessons throughout the year on some of the best web search tools and databases for young researchers. Students have a section in their PYPX binders with reminders of how to access these tools, including online encyclopedias and major news sources where students can find information.
Research is huge, and we have tried to simplify and support students work by giving them the tools and opportunities to practice their research skills. It’s challenging with so much out there. We appreciate any help you can give in identifying people to interview and places to visit as students explore their passions.
In addition, here is this week’s expectations list, Student Weekly Goals. The students will receive a paper and digital copy of these expectations today. They should refer to it regularly in order to monitor their progress.