The Research Center
I have always had some form of form of research in my classroom but a few years ago a changed happened that made the center something special. The improvement can be blamed on our class Twitter account. Yes, tweeting is what makes the research center so powerful in my room. It was nothing I planned and really just evolved on its own. Most of our first tweets were with friends from Canada so I put some books about Canada in our bookshelf. The kids actually would fight over who would get those books each day and I was taken back by how interested they were in these non-fiction books. I quickly realized their interest had something to do with the fact that other kids were “leading” the discussion. Naturally I decided to capitalize on that interest. Curious about how to tweet with your class? Start with this great post.
Here is how it works: We have twitter friends all around the world (see map below) and those classes tweet about what is happening in their room and about their learning. We have seen tweets about howler monkeys, batik, migration, snow, golden eagles, hurricanes, life cycle, pumpkins, growing plants, eggs, squirrels, pacific salmon, butterflies, horned owl, killer whales, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, and the list could go on. Each week as we read these tweets we write down topics or words that we are interested in knowing more about. I simply write them down on a sticky note that stays right next to my computer. Then on Friday I read the list to the class and they vote which one they are most interested in. The topic with the most votes becomes our research center for the next week and I find as many books as I can on the topic. Simple as that. Every week this center is one of the most popular because their friends have tweeted about the topic. I believe strongly that “where interest lies, learning occurs” and this center is a great example.
The Job: In the beginning of the year the kids look for their favorite pictures in the books and write the words on that page. As the year progresses they are asked to look for facts and summarize what they are seeing and reading depending on their ability. It is very easy to differentiate in this center. The main thing I am concerned with is that they are excited about research and understand that they can get information from books. I use this paper for the center-> Research Journal
Here are some ways to collaborate with other classes around the world – Global Collaboration in Kindergarten