The research and Report Writing station in my classroom is like Grand Central Station.
One student is excitedly listing all the things a Corgi can eat.
Another student is writing their very own book about spiders.
My most hesitant writer holds a clip board with a web organizer full of words and sketches about baby ducklings.
Not bad for a section of my classroom that used to collect dust and cobwebs!
Six years ago, I set out on a trial and error make my research station more interesting.
My goal: To harness my students’ natural curiosity and motivate them to love researching and writing.
I’m sure you’re ready to have your report writing station be more like Grand Central station and less like a ghost town.
Here are the five changes I made that were most helpful in engaging my students:
Want your students to crave research and report writing?
1. Find out what they love- In my experience, most kids love learning about animals. They often would rise to the occasion and get some really great information from texts “above their level” when the book was about something interesting.
2. Use Research Companions – Having the topic and common organizers and writing pages to guide the research helped to build student independence.
3. Remember To Model – model(read and write about something together), practice together (I love to do partner research) and then send them on their own. This is great for writers workshop time or literacy centers. Place a few books and the book companion materials in the center. Then studentscan choose what to read and write about.
4. Use a Checklist- My students are so much more independent when they have a common checklist to follow. I used both a research and a writing checklist. This helps students to stay focused as they work. We also practice using these materials together, so they know just how to use them!
5. Give Choices- I mentioned this earlier, but I often like to give some choices about what students will research. This is especially important during workshop or center time. Besides the topic, I also like to give them choices for presentation. Some students prefer to have a booklet, others prefer to write more like a paragraph. I also sometimes leave students other fun options, like making shape poems to show what they have learned about a topic. Sometimes this is in addition to a formal written piece, and other times it’s not!
What we know as teachers is that when students are empowered with the tools, engaged with their interests, and working at a cobweb free station, they can find growth and success.
If you want to check out some free resources that might help you get started with awesome research stations, click below to get a free research starter pack!
To learn more about how I support research writing with early elementary students, check out this post!