The first major step to take in any research one decides to undertake is research, and that is not an easy thing to attempt at any level, especially elementary. I found myself with a rather large challenge in our beginnings of research. How do I create opportunities to students to research what they are passionate about, continue to provide lessons on text structure and other content I needed to address, and ensure that my students were doing quality research.
When researching, I didn't just want my students to write down random facts about what their texts say. I wanted them to think about how what they were learning could be integrated within an ultimate classroom. How do I get them to learn about students to ADHD, schools around the world, 3D printing, and lighting and color design, and tie this all back into my classroom. I couldn't meet with all of my students if I was also trying to meet with small groups on skills.
I met with Deb, my savior in this experience, and we decided to look at bringing in some research mentors to help with the research. With Deb's help, I reached out to several individuals to share what we were doing and ask for their help as research mentors. With the help of Carol Winter, one of our board members, and several others, we have been able to provide valuable research guidance to my students. To ensure organization of this venture, I created a short introduction video and SignUp Genius to keep track of when different individuals were coming.
While it is only the 2nd week that I have had research mentors in my room. They have been invaluable to our research, reflection, and process. I have been excited to see the growth in my students' research notes, their ideas they are sharing, and their goals for what they want to do with their research. In the coming weeks, our research mentors will be helping us make the exciting jump into online and video research.