Sunday, April 29, 2012

Research Revamp

A focus for me the last couple of years has been two-fold -- to work more with teachers collaboratively and to show them new avenues to complete research projects. Despite this, there is still a need for the typical research paper. Students need to learn skills that help them complete this task. To be honest, I have a difficult time teaching students to write research papers. The research part is easy. It's the writing part that is hard. While you monitor students throughout the process, you might not notice errors until later on in the process. 

This project led to a new approach in research papers. Eighth grade language arts students are working in pairs to create their papers. We chose to have partners write their paper on large sheets of chart paper.

This might seem unwieldy, but it has turned out to be a great strategy. Each paragraph is color-coded to match the section of the outline the students are working on, thus making it easy to see where they are in the writing process. The size of the paper allows the partners to easily work on it together, and it allows us to easily check student work without disrupting the writing process. Seeing issues with student work is a cinch because it can easily be seen as students work. If we see errors, we can sit down and discuss them with students. I carry a black marker (a color they are not allowed to use on their papers) to make corrections right there on the paper. The best part is that students seem to enjoy writing in this way as well. 

Now, these papers have not been typed yet, so I am not sure how well these large sheets will work when students move to the computer to type them. Here's hoping that doesn't become too cumbersome. 

No comments:

Post a Comment