Yes, they can! It’s been a while since I finished Coetail but I’m still putting in to practice the concepts that I learned so I wanted to share.
This year in September the first graders did a unit on Living Things. My preference would have been to do this later in the year when the students can read better but when you’re the librarian you don’t have much choice. Since this is the perfect unit for learning how to do research I just had to go with it, and I’m very happy with the results that were achieved. I think the first graders were as well.
The girls went through the whole research process from locating to publishing our information. During class we talked about the features of non-fiction text, contents page, looking at the pictures and captions to find information as well. The next part of this process was to give the students time to look at books on any kind of creature that they wanted – insects, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals. They practiced using the Contents page to locate the information they needed.
The girls selected the information that they needed and recorded it on small note-sized paper. They recorded such information as what kind of creature it is, what it eats and where it lives.
Differentiation is a popular topic and this was a differentiated activity as you can see, because those that couldn’t read could look at the pictures and write that the creature ate plants or meat.Those that could read could get more specific in their note-taking. For where it lived they can write grass, ocean, tree or they could also write a country. The students were given a couple class periods to practice their skills with several different animals, creating note-cards for their favorites. One concept the classroom teachers taught the students was to classify the animal so they also had to tell what feature made it a mammal or fish. This definitely enhanced their learning as they thought about what they had learned in their classroom and applied knowledge to the library for their research. One of the teachers came in to help crowd control and she remarked that it was interesting to see who understood the concepts they had taught. I loved the collaboration.
Next the girls chose one animal they liked from the cards they had finished and then organized their information into sentences. The simply wrote their sentences on the back of the note-cards so there wasn’t so many papers to organize and use. They used these sentences to read for their report.
To publish their reports the girls used Chatterpix Kids. They used this app on the ipad to take a picture of the animal from the book and then recorded their information. The girls liked the fact that with this app they can draw a line on the animal’s mouth so it looks like the animal is talking. You can watch their movies here.