All 7th and 8th graders in my school participate in the annual science fair, and a formal, traditional research paper on a topic related to their experiment is a required part of entering the science fair. This is my least favorite unit because of the beast that is a formal research paper.
After going through teaching research on this particular topic for the the first time last year, I knew I needed a better way. A better way to approach it, to teach it, to engage my students in the process, and definitely a better way to get a more interesting end result. There's not much that can be done when the traditional, formal research paper essay is required, but thanks to Chris Lehman and his professional book, Energize Research Reading and Writing (Heinemann, 2012), which is 160 pages of logic and smartness, I have found so much more I can do to remedy the rest of the process of teaching research.
|If you teach research in any way, you're going to want to get this book.|
So, thanks to this book, for the very first time in my nine years of teaching, I haven't hated or dreaded teaching research, but I've actually been looking forward to each new lesson to see how it would be received by my students through this new lens.
A lens of thinking about research as Reading to Learn & Writing to Teach.
A lens of realizing that it doesn't all have to be one set way, there's room for choice and inquiry in teaching research.
That mantra and focus has gotten me into it this year and we've had several successful lessons so far, and I'm looking forward to reading what my students will come up with as they teach through their writing.
|I no longer dictate what type of notes to take, the information and purpose does.|
So, if you teach research in any way (hello, CCSS!), I highly recommend you get Chris Lehman's book, read it, and use it to guide your teaching. It's been a game-changer book for me and my teaching.