Sunday, December 30, 2012

Slowly They Turn (Step by Step) Into 1st Grade Researchers

About a month ago, I decided I wanted my 1st graders to start research skills while working on writing. Well, I came across a pin from Swersty's Swap Shop entitled "Datapillars" and I was sold! The original pinner used the book, Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom De Luise, but I didn't have that book in my library. I used Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards instead. My first graders were fascinated by the book...but, I'll review the book in another post.

I explained to them that while I was reading the book, I needed them to put on their thinking caps (that's right, hand motions are involved) and pay attention to real facts about caterpillars. In the original, Swersty asked the 1st graders for fictional information about the caterpillars, too.

The next part of this project involved me asking them to recall facts from the story, so that I could write fact sentences on the Promethean Board. They were more than willing to volunteer facts...hands went up at every table. I ended up writing out five facts, which went something like this: "1. Caterpillars turn into butterflies. 2. Caterpillars make chrysalis. 3. Caterpillars eat cabbage and carrots. 4. Crows eat caterpillars. 5. Some caterpillars and butterflies can camouflage themselves." I did ask the students for the parts of the book that are fiction, just to establish that component.

It was the 1st graders turn to write the fact sentences down on multi-colored construction paper strips (cut about 2.5 inches thick). They had four strips to use. When they were done, they received a green construction paper circle to make a caterpillar face on. The fact strips were stapled together like a paper chain and then the caterpillar face was stapled to one end and VOILA! Datapillars!!

1st graders enjoyed the project and it helped get them to their next step in becoming researchers.

By the by, the title of my blog is a throwback to the vaudeville act...I love the Stooges, so that's the clip I'll post.

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