DEC Scan Journal : February 2013
Volume 32, February 2013 17 Contents Editorial Currents Teaching & learning Research Curriculum support Share this Resource reviews 4 Using the posters greatly assisted with students’ expectations of their research progress, particularly with how they felt throughout the project. 4 The project focused on students’ critical thinking skills. Weaknesses: 4 Much lesson time was spent assisting students with locating websites on their topic at their level of understanding. 4 Extra teaching on questioning technique was necessary. 4 Some students took a long time to establish their chosen topic, which added to their frustration. 4 Even though most of the students were considered very capable, some found researching their topic difficult owing to a lack of readily available information at their level of comprehension. 4 There was little information about the particular focus questions in nonfiction books, or it tended to be information based at a superficial level, when the students wanted to know why certain issues existed. GI at Thirroul PS Sharon McGuinness, teacher librarian, and Andrew Mathews, Stage 3 teacher, conducted their project during a two hour weekly research session in the library. Stage 3 students were studying the Connected Outcomes Groups (COGs) unit Symbol systems and the students were given the broad topic of China from which to select an area to research. Strengths: 4 An extra hour each week meant that students were not rushed. 4 Plentiful and reliable technology was beneficial. 4 The majority of students were keen to experience a new way of research. 4 Most students enjoyed being responsible for their own learning and were committed to the end. 4 A few students decided on their topic quickly and were focused immediately. 4 The focus questions the majority of the students developed were open ended and required them to dive deeper and really think about the topic. 4 A number of students commented that, even though they felt challenged, they enjoyed this type of research as they felt more independent. 4 By using the familiar PowerPoint to present information, students were more focused on their research, enabling them to answer their contributing and focus questions. 4 Some students began to use the term diving deeper when talking about their research. 4 Some students found the task too hard and some did not cope well with the dip and wanted to give up. 4 Many students did not engage with the questions from the skinny toolkit. 4 Little time was left to view and celebrate completed work. 4 Giving feedback, marking work and collating surveys was difficult with three classes. Future plans: 4 Spend less time on exploring. Some students felt they needed to continue with the skinny toolkit questions even when they had already decided their focus question. 4 The initial topic need not be as broad — this proved difficult for the teacher librarian to source suitable sites. 4 Perhaps not focusing on the persuasive text so much as some students had difficulty with this. Work samples A number of students commented that, even though they felt challenged, they enjoyed this type of research as they felt more independent.