Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our Kindergarteners Are Starting Their Iowa Animal Research Projects......The First Steps That We Are Taking This Week

We have three amazing kindergarten teachers at Van Meter...Lynne Caltrider, Brooke Gadberry, and Christa McClintock (who is my most favorite cousin too).  I love visiting their classrooms and love when they come to the library.  I see them the same as all of the other elementary grades for 65 minutes on a 4-day rotation.  I like our new schedule because I can really get into some great projects with these little people.

I also so enjoy collaborating and connecting with the three of them.  It is fun thinking of ways we can do new, creative, and challenging projects with the students.  They are always excited to try new things and have brought amazing ideas to me throughout the year.
I am especially excited about the project that we are starting this week with the kindergarteners....the Iowa Animal Research Project (Animal Report). 

They will be researching an animal that can be found in Iowa.  They will choose one that they find interesting and that they want to find out more about.  One they perhaps have connections to.  
This week we are sending home information with the students.  The teachers will be sending a letter and the "Animal Report" packet, which includes a great space for gathering and synthesizing the information that they find, home for them to share with their parents.  After we go over the resources this week, they will be working on the research at home with their families too.  
I will be including this letter, which gives links to the "Iowa Animal Research Project" Smore (included at the top of the blog post) and the Kindergarten Symbaloo, which contains six different tiles or websites for this project. The six tiles are located in the right-hand corner.  You can see these websites in the Smore too.  This will help the students, teachers, and parents during this project.  
I also went into the Van Meter Elementary MackinVIA and created a new Group called "K Animal eBooks and Resources."  I included 12 animal eBooks that relate to Iowa animals and habitats.  I also included the Britannica database.
Today in the library I will start teaching the kindergarteners about their Iowa Animal Research Project.  We will do an activity early next week that takes them through the beginning steps of the inquiry process....I will be using Barbara Stripling's Model of Inquiry.
I will go over the packet that they will be bringing home and show them websites and books that will help them find the information that they need.

Then I will show them the websites that I have included on the Kindergarten Symbaloo.

This will be the first time we spend time in Britannica and an encyclopedia, so we will spend lots of time exploring together and by ourselves.  All of the students love going to Britannica.  They always find something that connects to their interests and passions.  I want them to be very curious and to love learning about their animal.

They will also have time to look at the books we have in our library and at the eBooks within MackinVIA.

The teachers and I are still brainstorming ideas for the project they will create from the information they collect.  We are thinking about using TuxPaint to have the students draw their animal and then Wordle to have them share phrases and words pulled from their research.  We could take these pages (TuxPaints and Wordles), save them as PDF's, and upload them into FlipSnack to create a flippable eBook for each class....or maybe even the entire kindergarten group.

I even thought using Smore or Animoto would be really great teaching them about.  And perhaps we could get their 3rd and 5th grade buddies involved to help us with our research and projects too.

And who knows....We might even come across a new idea or tool to use before next week when we discuss the project with the students.  They will be working on these during their time with me after the research is complete.

I am so excited to see what our little ones create.....I just know we will be impressed, proud, excited, and motivated by the work that they do.

And I can't wait for them to share what they have learned about Iowa animals with all of us...

One more idea....have them present these to others at Van Meter, or maybe even globally.  :)


  1. Hey! I recognize that Animal Research Project Rubric. =) So glad you are able to use it with Kindergartners. One of my next blog posts is actually about the research packet that the rubric came from. Too funny! Spring really is a great time for animal research.

    1. Hi there,

      So happy you said something about the Animal Research Project Rubric. Where can we find you blog? Thank you for sharing your things and for letting me know who to credit for it.

      Hope your day was wonderful Jo, Shannon

    2. Thanks Shannon! You can find the link to packet on the freebies page of my blog, The Book Bug That link actually takes you to the packet in my TpT store, but it's also listed in different sections (rubric, graphic organziers, etc.) on the freebies page of my website, A Teacher's Bag of Tricks. I love seeing how what I've created and shared is being used. =)


  2. Hi Shannon,

    One thing I wonder about is how teachers using IT tools manage student accounts. It seems in most tools like Animoto or Kerpoof, etc., if students want to save their work, they need an account. Does each student in your school have an email account that can be used when registering for an online tool? Just wondering how others manage this?

    Hilary in Victoria, BC, Canada