RESEARCH. It’s a terrible word, isn’t it? To this day, even though I actually enjoy finding and doing research, when I hear that word, my stomach reflexively does a flip.
I think it’s much the same with our students. They associate “research” with the words “hard,” “boring,” “difficult,” and something only old (or should I say “mature”) people do in a sterile lab. That is, if they know anything about the word “research.”
Today I’m continuing with my Writing Series with some ideas on how to break this skill down and ways to make it fun. Because let’s face it, it’s a really important skill for our students!
First, I break down four important steps to research writing:
1. Find a topic
2. Search for information on that topic
3. Organize that information
4. Present and share the information
And then of course I make them teach these four steps back to me. 🙂
Next, we set off in search of a topic. This is the fun part! If your student is mature enough to handle picking out their own topic to research, let them! Ask them what they’re interested in. Research could even mean they look up comparative prices online for a favorite toy they’ve been wanting. I love having my “Speaking and Writing Prompts” close at hand for those times I need a quick topic!
Once the topic is decided on, I usually have my students write down a few questions they would like to discover. My student here chose penguins because they are her favorite animal. Her questions were: What do penguins do? What kinds of penguins are there? Where do penguins live?
I found out a lot about penguins that I didn’t know after we Googled some information together!
The next part is perhaps the hardest part: Organizing that information. I created a few templates based on level to help with this. AND…it’s free!
You can download this freebie HERE.
The last part is my favorite! I have my students stand up in our little room and present the information they found out to the rest of the students. There is just something about this small activity that boosts their self-esteem and ties everything together. The look on their faces after they present their new-found knowledge is priceless!
Tell me, how have YOU worked on research writing with your students?