Tech-Based Research from the Very Beginning

How Do You Get Kindergarteners to do That?

When visitors walk through the hallways of Wilson Primary Center, they immediately notice the student work on display.  The first questions they ask are, "How did you get your students to write like that?  Can this kind of research really be happening in Kindergarten?  How do they know how to navigate on their i-pads?"  We've decided to showcase Ms. Connors and her students with some tips on how it's done.  

Designed for Differentiation
Tech-based research involves major challenges.

Students must be able to move through complex texts and complex thought processes in order to digest and reteach new information.  

"I've been working with research notebooks to create animal projects.  I especially like studying arctic foxes.  When I learn something new, I feel excited." 

 - Angel (Kindergarten Researcher)

In Ms. Connors' classroom, this highly complex work is done only with intensive teacher support and the use of small groups.  These kindergarteners spend time each day reading Non-Fiction texts in their Guided Reading groups. They review written findings in one-on-one conferring sessions.   And they work alongside their teacher to creatively share their investigations with classmates.

Ms. Connors crouches down low beside a young author.  "Can you share your thoughts with me today?" she asks.  By making time for one-on-one conferring, Ms. Connors ensures that each of her students receives the differentiated instruction they need.

Intentional Integration
In this classroom technology is the tool - not the teacher.

"I am using the computers to look and read.  I am becoming a better writer.  You read to learn."  - Juan (Kindergarten Researcher)

This is brave work these Kindergarteners are doing.  Becoming an expert on a topic and sharing your new knowledge with classmates takes skill and courage. 

"Rainforests, toucans, butterflies, monkeys, birds.  With the tablets, video projects and books - I'm learning about all of it."
 - Jacob (Kindergarten Researcher)

When you are looking at 

a videotaped digital research project, 

you are looking at layer after layer 

of deep understanding.

"Mrs. Connors shows us how to create our projects.  I love being her student."
 - Kindergarten Student at Wilson Primary

this article was written by Sandra Berlin


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