It's great...we do some brainstorming about topics and then students rank their favorites and rule out topics they REALLY don't like. I work to put them in groups with people I know they enjoy working with and we are off to the races! We research together...students share resources (we never have enough for 24 students to work alone anyway--especially with all 4 fourth grades doing this at the same time!), read and discuss together, start note taking and planning together--and then after a few days, we break off and they finish the process on their own. It's the best of all worlds...they have GREAT academic discussions, they get the support of peers as they learn, but then they are EACH accountable for taking that new learning, organizing it, and doing all their own writing and presenting.
So...I always feel like there are papers and books flying EVERYWHERE during this process so I decided to invest in some new storage materials and "doctor them up" a little bit! Here's what I did.
|I love me some Dollar Spot supplies!|
|Step 1: Assembly|
|Step 2: Create fun labels on the computer and contact paper them on.|
|Step 3: Quality control|
|Step 4: Color coding! Each team will easily be able to find their supplies!|
So this solved part of my problem, but I also wanted ALL of their supplies in one place so each group could just grab their stuff and go.
|This way they can keep pens, highlighters, their magazine holder, and books they are using all in one spot.|
Then I started thinking about how CRAZY it gets while we are working and how I don't always have good systems for helping students...so I made some coordinated laminated cards. I'm not sure how I'll use them yet...to display with names of kids in groups? A place for them to list their resources so we can make a bibliography? A place to list questions that come up during research? A way for them to hand me a card to let me know they need help? I'm not sure yet--but I HAVE them!