Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Room Full Of Kindergarten Researchers Connecting To Eric Carle, Global Read Aloud, Cats, PebbleGo....and of course a whole lot of curiosity!

We have such wonderful kindergarteners at Van Meter....I love working with them in the library every week.  This week we are starting our first research project with them.  

As we all sat on the floor together, I asked them...

"What is research?  What does it mean to be a researcher?"  

Their answers were the best!  

"Looking in a dictionary."

"Kind of like a spy." 

"Finding out a little more about it."  

"Being curious like Curious George" the time not knowing they had read and talked about Curious George that morning in their classroom. 
Last year, we did Iowa animal research projects towards the end of the year within the classrooms, library, and homes. It was a wonderful project and so much fun for everyone.  Since it is so early in the school year I wasn't sure how this would go.  But I wanted to give it a try because during my planning this week I found the perfect connection!

And after hearing the discussion about research and being a researcher, I knew that they would love this project with that natural sense of curiosity and discovery.  

I saw the connection with animals as we continued to participate in the Global Read Aloud Project for the second week with the kindergarteners.  Within this project, over 138,000 students are reading, discussing, and interacting with other children all around the world.  
This year the youngest readers are focusing on Eric Carle books for the 6 weeks of Global Read Aloud.
One more perfect fit for these students since they are studying Eric Carle in their classroom during the month of October.  We always focus on the same authors and illustrators within the library too.  
For week 2, everyone is reading Have You Seen My Cat. We didn't have the book in the library so I found a YouTube video to show of someone reading the book.  

As I sketched out the next five weeks of Global Read Aloud, looked at my curriculum within library and technology, and connected it to the Common Core and curriculum within their classroom, I thought that their first research project would be a natural fit for everything else taking place.  

Also, I have the perfect online resource that I could introduce and use with this project and the kindergarteners.  
We would learn all about PebbleGo from Capstone Digital, an amazing "database for prek-3 researchers that supports literacy and builds a foundation for a lifetime of learning."

Since the Global Read Aloud book focused on cats this week, the kindergarteners would research cats within the PebbleGo Animals database
They would find several cats under "Wildcats" and also domestic cats under "Pets".  
On each page, there is a button called "Share What You Know", where these awesome PebbleGo Printouts are attached for printing.  I printed the one from the cats under "Pets", so the little people would have an option of what cat they wanted to research.  
Each child will use PebbleGo Animals to find a cat they wanted to learn more about.  Their learning target for the day was to draw the animal in the top box and label it by writing the name somewhere within the box too.  They will complete the rest of the printout with their Third Grade Buddies that come to their classroom to work with them.  

As I continued to plan, I was very excited to see all of the Common Core Standards that we will cover throughout this project.  

R1.K.1 Reading: Key Ideas and Details....With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.  

W.K.2 Writing: Text Types and Purposes....Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic. 

W.K.8 Writing: Research to Build and Present Knowledge....With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.  
After we learned the basics about PebbleGo and understood the printout, everyone set off to be little researchers.  I put a new tile onto the Kindergarten Symbaloo so they will be able to to the website easily.  
The kindergarteners love to "Listen" to the sounds that the animal made.  You can play these on the right hand side of the animals window.  
They also enjoy the videos about the different animals.  These can be found in the right hand corner under "Watch." 
I love seeing them being curious little researchers collaborating with their friends around the room.   
They were not only drawing an illustration of their cat and labeling it, they were also helping one another be successful.  

As you can see from their super work, every one of the kindergarteners learned and created something awesome as they became researchers! 
We will continue reading and connecting with The Global Read Aloud Project which will take us to four more books by Eric Carle.  

During each week, they will be researching something new within PebbleGo and filling out a sheet to show what they learned.  These topics will tie into the Eric Carle books.  We will be connecting to other classrooms who are also reading the GRA books and will share what we are learning about the different animals too.  

At the end of Global Read Aloud, we will bring all of this together by creating an online eBook or video to share with friends all around the world.  
I love how our friends even made connections to the books they checked out to take home.  Bella couldn't wait to go to the shelves with all of our books about "Cats".  She got one that was perfect for her to take home and share with her family.....and she couldn't forget to bring the PebbleGo login information.  They were very excited to use it at home too.

Bella told me...

"I am so glad this library isn't like others where you have to be quiet.  We can be noisy and curious here....and on the computers too."  

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