Okay, I'm trying to get a head start on our animal reports we'll be beginning in January! I am using this as a topic for my class to practice writing a 5 paragraph essay (which we have been working on this quarter). I'll also be teaching research skills, as well as trying to model sentence fluency (i.e. sentences that don't all begin the same way, or that are two short ones combined)
Since I'm new to 4th, all organizers I have are very primary. Does anyone have some kind of graphic organizer or form that could be used to take notes on, or as an outline for the essay? I did animal reports in 1st grade, but it was just so basic!
I almost posted the same request...
I too am planning on doing animal research projects in January after the break, and in the past they have been difficult for me b/c the kids did eveything in school and I helped. I never had a guidline for them and was wondering if anyone uses some kind of concrete framework for research papers? something that can painlessly take a student, and a new teacher, through the process of writing a research paper...
The rubric is very good and could easily be adjusted by our science teachers who require a report. Our GATE students have a longer report that covers three animals - one who lives in very cold country, one in very warm country, and one migratory.
The letter home is PERFECT. Thank you for sharing all of this.
Why would you do animals in 4th when you did animals in 1st? Animal and state reports are so common. I know it is because we have resources, but what about explorers or inventions or just letting kids read a book and create a report about something that interests them. Why do they all have to do the same idea?
The hardest part about students choosing their own ideas is creating the thesis statement and ideas for body sections of the report. Once you get that set up, they will do great. I have my students use 2 column notes. They set up a T chart with for three pages. Each page is a body section of the report. If they were reporting on an invention the first page might be a description of the invention and its use. Left side of the column would be the word "description". Right side would be "caveman" style notes to describe the item.
Here is an outline that I made together with the students. We used books from the library and focused on the table of contents. Not all the books contained all the info on the outline but I told them they could skip those parts, as long as I could not find it their book either! I'm required to teach research skills which should apply to any topic. The topic is not as important as learning how to do proper research. (They make note cards for each heading on the outline.) I hope this helps!
Do your students do only one report all year? Of course, inventions/inventors, explorers, etc. are good report subjects - and don't they also get used in lower grades?
Thing is, what a student will write as a 4th grader is so different from the perspective of one 2 or 3 years older. In addition, there IS more than one animal a student might want to learn a lot about.
I hope none of you has the book in your library that says, "During mating the male can thrust up to seven minutes." A young girl - who hadn't been speaking English very long - brought it to me asking what it meant. I do not remember my answer.
I'm sorry if I came off sounding brash. Animal reports is one of my hot buttons. At our school every teacher does animal reports because they are easy, lots of resources, etc. There is probably nothing wrong with animal reports, I would just like people to challenge the kids more or give them more options.
I scaffold my report writing with a structured biography project, in which I provide the thesis statement: "Hero or not?". They read their biography and then produce a poster and writing about the question. We do other short reports related to our history lessons throughout the first part of the year. Third quarter I feel students are read to choose their own subject and determine their own thesis statement. It is a ton of work, but worth it.
We're also doing animal reports in 4th grade. DaisyGirl94, love your rubric. I agree, it's an easy choice because of the amount of resources available (i.e., we actually have enough books on animals in our library for students to check out at least one!). The majority of my students don't have access to computers at home, so the only access they have is during computer lab time (30 minutes per week). We're primarily focusing on research skills and writing a well-balanced report. We've already started the research and the students are sooo excited!!
Imalith, what grade do you teach?? I'd love to have my 6th grade daughter in your class!
imalith - do you have any organizers or info on this report? It covers both research and persuasive writing standards and I think it would be great for me to use with my 7th graders Thanks fo the good idea!
I do an animal report focused on 4th grade science and endangered animals. I found a list of threatened and Endangered animals on-line, print it in columns, and cut the paper into 30 squares. Students pick from a hat and can choose any animal on their paper, usually a choice of 8 or so. I do this right before we go to computer lab. Students take their papers and look up several of the animals, and then choose which animal they can find enough information to make a report. I write down what animal each child is researching. They are only allowed to switch animals if they have a very good reason and talk to me. We focus on what adaptations the animal has, what is its predator, its prey, its habitat, what caused it to be threatened or extinct, what we can do to change it... you get the picture. I also require cue cards, presentation, and visual aids/posters/PowerPoint (depending on ability).