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

Friday, January 6, 2017

5th Graders' shark research yields many interesting facts...

My fifth grade students spent the few weeks leading up to the break researching sharks while also learning about being good digital citizens. You can read about the project at its outset here. 

Working in pairs or small groups, the students crafted a researchable question about sharks. Using our library resources they worked to find answers to their questions. This project provided an opportunity to practice using our note taking and sources documents: 

They then presented what they learned on a Google Slide (or more if they wanted). The students used Britannica ImageQuest to find an image that reinforced the content of their slide. Being good digital citizens they also worked on presenting their information in a clear and concise manner. (We talk a lot about not letting the message get lost in the medium.)

A huge thank you to Heather Lang for the inspiration for this project. We started off by reading her new book, Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark. 
Both narrative and art shine in this very cool and engaging biography.  I had never heard of Eugenie Clark prior to reading the biography. The students in my school are likely tired of me talking about the power of the picture book biography to inspire and inform. Heather Lang does a wonderful job of balancing her narrative by providing enough details about Eugenie's life to understand her contributions while also giving insight into the personality and character traits that made her successful in her ventures. The author's note fills in a few more important details about Eugenie's life, details which got a few of my students fired up about the obstacles she faced.
Jordi Solano's beautiful (in both depth and detail) illustrations make the reader feel as if he or she is swimming with the sharks, bringing us right into Eugenie's world. The images of Eugenie portray her as the serious scientist she was.

Below are the slides my students created. Thanks for taking the time to watch!

Please share your feedback. What did you learn from them? What did they do well? 
Student reflection and feedback on this project:


What else should I know
to make this project better in the future?
I would like this project to be a little longer
Let people choose their own partners.
I think we should use powerpoint in the future.
Make sure that everyone is doing work and including each other and letting everyone do the work.
Nothing! Just do it more in the future
Choose a different topic
Cool effects such as music and other things 
Cool effects such as music and other things
Give more time to create the slide but otherwise the project was great.
You should have more time to make it.
well I loved the idea of letting us feel more free, but I think next time we should have a more engaging topic.
I think the topic we were researching (in this case shark) should be something else. I already know a lot about sharks because of my sister
larger slides!
more freedom
to have everyone use the same source
I think you should give us a bigger project to complete and more time.
Make this project more fun.
More freedom 
We should work on something we want to research on and get to pick our partners
Use google images from the research tool
Maybe a little more time to develop presenting/more practice time
A little bit more explaining but otherwise I really enjoyed it!
I think the project would be even better if all the computers worked. Thanks!
To get all the computers to work
you should let us pick the topic that we research and pick our OWN partners that we will work well with.
Let people pick the subject they want
It wasn't my favorite project.

I can see that this project helped students feel more confident as digital citizens and that we need to spend more time on citing sources. Opening up the topics would have made many of them happier, but I think keeping it contained for this project was a good choice. 

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