I was planning to begin our next long-term project late Jan. or early Feb. The project is a lengthy written research report on any topic of interest to the student (a topic that they know little about and/or have not done before). Well, when I proposed this to the class on Friday, I had an overwhelming response – we want to start now, today!
What a class!!
So, we began on Friday to begin the first steps toward making the students’ research reports. We’ve completed more work on this today. Each student now has a separate duotang for their research report work. They have selected a topic and begun brainstorming (“MindMapping”) possible topics for their reports. For homework tonight (as well as studying a bit for their Thurs SS test), I asked them to build a “WonderTree” from their topics. This is a graphical organization of the topics they think they will most want to research and write about.
They also received a one page sheet that outlines in detail how they can earn top marks for their reports and a special two-sided form for recording where they got their notes (i.e. websites, magazines, books, interviews, etc.). This form will later be useful when they make their bibliographies. Please remind them to complete an entry for every research source they use!
Over the next days I will teach them how to take notes, how to organize their notes, how to estimate the time it will take to complete each step, how to make a workplan, and so on. I will also be providing them with an outline of deadlines, a writing guideline and other materials, so keep checking their research report duotangs!
I plan to give the students time almost every day in class to work on this project – as well as some homework time (including some weekend work). I expect the project will take about 8 weeks to finish!
For now, if you are able, please encourage your child to soon visit to the public library – as they’ll need materials from which to take notes in class!
Many of the kids have been looking forward to this for months and are quite fired up. It’s so great.
I hope you can tell from this blog posting that students will be getting a lot of in-class support to complete this project. This is not a “here’s-the-big-assignment-now-do-it-at-home-with-your-parents-it’s-due-in-a-month” kind of project!!