Last week, I introduced you to Heather Bitka, a Lockport Elementary Teacher that I have been co-planning an integrated writing unit with this spring. This experience enabled Heather, myself, visiting instructional coach Sheri Barsottelli, and classroom aide Kay Shanley to pursue a variety of questions as learners.

Who were our teachers?

A classroom full of very curious and energetic kindergarteners, who were pursuing very similar questions themselves.

Here are the prompts that guided every learner in this experience, regardless of their age, title, or role:

  • Why are facts important to our work?
  • For this work, which facts are most important?
  • Which tools can help us research facts?
  • How do we record the facts we find best?
  • When does it make sense to revise our thinking and work?
  • What did we learn that we didn’t expect?

This unit was rooted in the scientific study of the life cycle and specifically, creatures that hatch from eggs. What did we want students to know and be able to do as a result of this experience?

  • Describe what it means to be a researcher.
  • Define what facts are and how they are important to the work of a researcher.
  • Discover different tools and resources that researchers might use to find facts.
  • Understand their purposes as researchers.
  • Locate 3-5 facts about a creature of their own choice that hatches from an egg.
  • Define what it means to organize their writing.
  • Make and organize effective visual notes.
  • Revise their thinking and their work.
  • Create a multi-media presentation of the facts located through research.
  • Learn something they didn’t expect.
  • Teach us something we didn’t expect.
  • Connect with other learners using social networking tools
  • Use the content they have created to teach others.

Tomorrow, I’ll share more about how the questions above connected our varied experiences and purposes as learners. Throughout the rest of this week, I’ll share greater detail about how this unit unfolded and what we’ve been learning along the way.

I’ve taken a lot of pictures as well, and I’ll include as many as I can here. Media releases for all of the children included in these photos have been collected by the Lockport City School District, and we have permission to publish them here. If you would like to use any of these images elsewhere, please contact me in order to secure the same permissions first.

Ready to read more? You can click through to the next post here.



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