"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"How did this person make a difference?"

The first and fourth graders spent this week choosing the people they will be studying the next few weeks.  Here's an update with materials for both grades:

Grade One

After a quick review of PebbleGo, the students sat down to find a person that interested them. This is important because I think there are not enough opportunities for the students to follow their passions. I emphasized being thoughtful from the outset and modeled how they should listen to or read the categories and then begin exploring from a general area of interest. 
Here are some of the names that I saw: Galileo, Maria Mitchell, Benjamin Banneker, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ellen Ochoa, Wilma Rudolph, James Lovell, and John Muir. I am thrilled and excited for these students to share their findings with each other. You can read more about the unit in this post. 
I am learning how to chunk these units better to fit into a 30 minute lesson and so, the only expectation for this lesson was to identify a person to study and then fill out the top section of their information gathering form (their name, homeroom, and the name of the person the or she is studying). 

Grade Four
I admit to stacking the deck a bit and pulling a wide range of picture book biographies and displaying them throughout the library. When the students arrived, I explained the goal for the day: to work with a partner to find a person that both students wanted to study. I reminded them that this unit would have multiple projects and that they should choose wisely as they would spend a few weeks learning about the person. I instructed the students to peruse the displayed biographies and come up with three choices, which would be put on a sticky note with their names and homeroom. It turns out that there were not many overlaps in choices, so after the first class, I had the pair come to me when they had found two options and had them choose one and put a sticky note on the book with their names and homeroom. 
Students that were unable to find a biography from those displayed also went directly to the biography neighborhood and/or used Destiny, the library catalog. I could have embedded a Destiny lesson in this unit, but I tried this in the past and it was not as successful - too many unrealistic choices (people not in our library collection) and too small a space. 
I put out about 55 biographies and after the three classes had about 20 to put away - which means they liked my choices! The students will be using this information gathering form during the unit. One thing I am trying to work through is where to hang a timeline to which students can add events and their people. *wishes she had actual walls in her library*

More updates next week. Any feedback is always welcome and appreciated!

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