I'm a first year teacher and need help on the California Missions report from some experienced teachers. Do you give guidelines as to how long (pages, paragraphs, sentences per topic) the written reports are to be? I have found several outlines of questions to be answered. How much of the writing do you do in class and how much is to be done at home? How many class sessions do you spend on the entire process? With so much information on the internet, do you require other written sources? I saw a website aimed at parents ... they pay $17.50 and get all the information their child needs in ebook form to write the paper and do a model. Do you even monitor this type thing? Do you have a grading rubic for the written report? (Yes, I do feel overwhelmed). Thank you for any help.
Hi, I'm in CA so it maybe a little different but here goes. I have been teaching for 13 yrs and have found when students bring in books, or you give them a reference, a lot of it they just do not understand the resource so they just copy the whole thing, so I have been doing it this way for the past 2 years and love it. In CA we have to teach the kids how to write summary essays, so I teach that in the beginning of school on nonfiction short, one page articles found in non-ficition teacher resource books. So at mission time, I have written a two page article about one of the missions (we do San Juan Cap.) that we read out loud and discuss. Then the kids write a summary essay, map it, and draw a pic of something inside the mission. This way all kids get the same chance, no parents doing it for them, and I can grade it like a district writing prompt.
Part 2 is an at home project, they get a little over a month to complete and they get to visit a mission, take pics and present it on a poster board to class, build a mission - NOT from a store bought kit, or do a written report on 1 of the other 20 mission - all these they present in class and this gets a grade too. Hope this helps!
I like that you have found a way to do the writing part in class - keeps the parents from "helping" too much! Dividing the writing in school and the poster or build a mission part at home sounds like a great division. Thanks for the input. Our school requires that the students do their first research based written report during the 4th grade year - I thought this was part of the California standards, but don't have the standards here to check. Do you do some other written report project - the summary essay wouldn't meet this requirement?
Here is what I did for our project two years ago. In conjunction with this, we also turned our room into a mission. We then all became docents and gave tours. It was an amazing way for them to show what they learned.
Yes, we do have writing a research report as part of the CA standards, but since we do missions in unit 2 of our Social Studies book (Nov/Dec) we usually do not teach research reports until the end of the year as research reports are never on the state writing test which is in Mar. (the state writing test tests summaries, narratives, and response to literature - so that is the complete writing focus until the Mar test) So I don't usually have time to teach it until after the state writing test, and don't want to hold the mission report that long as then they won't remember what we have taught. (Although now apparently the CA state writing test in 4th has been canceled due to the budget. Hope that made sense! StephR - I liked your shoebox idea - I may add that to the mission project choices - thanks for sharing!
I am glad I read this because I was looking for a project other than having them build missions. As a class we will be taking the train to visit Mission San Juan Capristrano, and many of my students attended Living History Day at San Gabriel Mission last month.
Steph, good for you for turning your classroom into a Mission...I just finished turning mine in a museum for the Gabrielino Tribe and it turned out to be a nightmare. It was more than I had imagined.
I am doing my first major writing assignment with the Explorers of California. Found a great resource at the library with cards about each of the explorers. The students picked names out of a hat and have just completed their reading and note taking with my guidance, next we will use that information to write a five paragraph essay.
Now, I think I will use Steph's project #3 or #4 for the Mission project.
It's titled California Explorer Fact Cards...Here's the info from my library:
Call # x 979 C1535-8
Title(s) California explorers fact cards / [illustrated by Jean Tamminga].
Publisher Fremont, CA : Toucan Valley Publications, c1999.
Description 1 v. (33 cards) : ill., maps ; 30 cm.
Notes In loose-leaf binder.
Includes bibliographical references (card 33).
Summary Presents quick facts about the early explorers who visited California, beginning with the Indians who came and settled in California thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans in the mid-1500s.
Subject Explorers California Biography Juvenile literature.
Instead of having my kids write a lengthy report, they create brochures. they each research a different mission (I start by giving them a 1 page printout, then they use the internet for additional information). They create a brochure on paper. The outside is an illustration of their mission, and on the inside they put essential information, interesting facts, a timeline of events, and so forth.
For extra-credit they can build a model of their mission at home, and I emphasize that they are not to use the pre-made model kits. I've had some very creative models come in, using legos, clay, sugar cubes, styrofoam, pasta, and more.