Teaching Research Skills in Middle School

 

Use this creative idea to teach research skills to your middle school students!


One year, around this time of year, my middle school students were needing something more active and project based to keep them engaged.  


I thought it might be fun to have students research what Christmas was like in other places around the world.  So I made a flipbook with 5 different countries that focused on 4 aspects of the celebrations:  the gift bringer, the foods, the customs and the language.  The idea was to incorporate reading, writing, thinking and talking every day. My students learned all about the writing process and enjoyed(!) practicing research skills including locating evidence.


Here's how I did it:


First, I had the students assemble the flipbooks.  These flipbooks guide the research by asking questions for each of the categories:


Introduce students to the concept to research by providing them guiding questions.




Next, the students chose their favorite country and I placed them in groups of 4.  Then in the group, each student chose one of the 4 aspects and began their research!  I provided a website (http://www.santas.net/aroundtheworld.htm ) and brought some books from the library to class to help them find their information.

After the students completed their research by answering the questions in the flipbook, it was time to put their answers into a paragraph.  I provided a paragraph organizer and walked them through the process with "my" country.  Students each wrote their own paragraph and then had a peer in their group edit it.  The final paragraphs along with pictures were placed on a group poster.  


Providing models helps all learners understand how to organize their work.



To add a little excitement, I turned the poster part into a contest and judged them as they gave a presentation with (hopefully) music and maybe even some food.  

Finally, as students presented their posters, the rest of the class filled in their flipbooks with the information that was shared.

Students learned the entire writing process along with using textual evidence with this fun topic and all with minimal "sit and get".   I think this is so important for students who struggle because this project allows them to experience writing in a more engaging and genuine way. It's like Mary Poppins said "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."  :)


Want to try this with your own students?  It's ready to go in print and digital formats!


Combine Christmas activities and research using this interactive and creative flipbook with for your middle school students!   It's an authentic holiday research and writing experience!


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