Students in Ms. Gill’s Grade 6 social studies/ELA class are working on a research project. Each student has selected a specific topic relating to how the economic systems of different countries interact through trade.
Teach with Tech
Teachers can differentiate instruction by drawing on different technology tools. In doing so, they need to consider a student’s interests, skills, motivation—and where they are in the research process.
- Provide Direct Instruction
- Help Students Conduct Research for a Variety of Purposes
- Engage Students in Ongoing Assessment
Step 1: Provide Direct Instruction
- Explain that the research process is an iterative, inquiry-based process that involves selecting a topic to explore, gathering information, analyzing the information, and sharing what is learned.
- Explicitly show students how to appropriately select and use digital tools to gather, organize, and analyze information.
Examples of Digital Research Tools
- Demonstrate different ways to share research results (e.g., written report, multimedia presentation, podcast, website, and visual display).
Provide direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction.
Step 2: Help Students Conduct Research For a Variety Of Purposes
- Guide students through a process that allows them to begin by broadly exploring varied topics, selecting an area of focus, and then identifying a specific research question.
- Help students assess the validity of online sources based on their purpose and topic of research.
- Based on the focus of their research, help students use appropriate technology-supported information gathering strategies.
Tools to Support Information Gathering Strategies
Help Students Conduct Research for a Variety of Purposes
Providing opportunities for extended discussion of text meaning and interpretation (In effective discussions students have the opportunity to have sustained exchanges with the teacher or other students, present and defend individual interpretations and points of view, use text content, background knowledge, and reasoning to support interpretations and conclusions, and listen to the points of view and reasoned arguments of others participating in the discussion.)
Step 3: Engage Students in Ongoing Assessment
- Have students elicit peer feedback to evaluate each phase of the research process.
Strategies for Peer Feedback on the Research Process
- Have peers ask each other prompting questions in order to refine research questions.
- Have students share their plans for gathering research, then request suggestions from peers on additional methods.
- In small groups, have students describe their information gathering strategies and invite suggestions for additional strategies.
- Have students help each other select effective methods and technology tools for presenting findings.
- Assess whether students are using effective strategies to critically evaluate online information.
- Have students write or record short summaries of what they are learning using blogs, mini-podcasts, the class wiki, or websites.
Assist students in monitoring and reflecting on the problem-solving process