PYP, Teaching

Research Hub

Research Hub


I recently came across a fantastic website for research skills.  It has everything you would want in one spot.  Almost everything.  As I read through each section of UWCSEA Junior Research Hub, I did consider two things I would add:


Last week I shared a new site with my class: EasyBib  It is accessible through the students’  Riverstone gMail accounts which allows their work to be synced through Google Docs. In our current project, students have been asked to compare the fictional creature  they are creating with creatures that already exist.  They are to be specific in their comparisons.  This requires them to research information about animal adaptations and use this information in their project.

For example:

They might say: The kangaroo is known as the largest marsupial, measuring over 6 feet tall. My creature mimics the height of the kangaroo and in fact, has been recorded at heights of up to 7 feet tall, thus propelling it to the top of the record books for largest known marsupial. This piece of information about the height of the kangaroo, clearly came from some kind of information source: website, book, journal, magazine or paper.  EasyBib provides a simple to use, online way of keeping a bibliography of all sites sourced.

We were really impressed by the way in which we could:

  • just paste in a web address and it would reference it for you
  • type in the title of a magazine and the name of the article and it would find all the information about the issue number, year and author
  • punch in the ISBN number of a book and all the title, author, illustrator and publisher information would pop up.

Here is what an example of a finished bibliography looks like.



When gathering information from a collection of sources, I like the idea of this chart from READ-WRITE-THINK:

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 5.43.25 PM


From the RWT website:

The Inquiry Chart (I-Chart) strategy is one that allows students to examine a topic through integrating prior knowledge on the topic with additional information found from a variety of sources.  The I-Chart strategy is organized into three steps, each of which consists of activities meant to engage and aid students in evaluating a given topic: 1) Planning, 2) Interacting, and 3) Integrating/Evaluating.

I-Charts can be used with individuals, small groups, or the entire class, and are meant to strengthen reading skills and foster critical thinking.  This strategy can be used to differentiate instruction for each student’s needs, and can also be used as an assessment tool to measure student understanding of a given topic.


If the Junior Research Hub is more than perhaps your students need, consider using the simplified Infant Research Hub with it’s three step guide to researching:

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 5.48.15 PM


Speak To Inspire Action

Speak to Inspire Action

One of the key things I think the Exhibition excels at, is conveying a sense of action.  Action is one of the main components in a PYP curriculum, yet often is something that is hard to assess, hard to pin down, and yet something we as teachers REALLY want to happen!  As part of our previous unit How We Express Ourselves we became introduced to Charity:Water.  My kids immediately wanted to help and to them, that meant fundraising.  We had an elaborate plan but it didn’t make it off the ground.  Instead, we ended up trading FUND raising for AWARENESS raising – with great success.

Yesterday, I posted a video that my friend and fellow fifth grade Passion Project teacher, Kristen, had used with her class to discuss the difference between a hobby and a passion and how a passion can lead to action. This is the ultimate goal of the Passion Project – to inspire kids to act through their passion.

In my class, the culmination of the Passion Project is a talk by each child on their journey.  We are really fortunate to have a parent body who are incredibly generous with their time.  One of our parents did a number of workshops over the course of the Exhibition on presentation skills which proved to be enormously helpful to the students.  Today, Simon Sinek – our “Why” guy – posted an eBook: Speak to Inspire Action.  I couldn’t pass it up and downloaded it right away!

Speak to Inspire Action

I would highly recommend downloading this 11 tip book.  Not only does it offer 11 simple, effective tips, it also has considerations for you to ponder, and is written in a way that is accessible to (in my opinion) fifth graders.  The book is really good.  I keep looking for parts to share with you to prove how good it is but I really think you just need to read the whole thing!  If you want a comprehensive ‘how to’ on engaging an audience, this is it.  If you are unfamiliar with Simon and his work, he is the “Start With Why” guy – a model we use to get the kids thinking about their own and others passions. We use Simon’s Golden Circle to help us uncover WHY we do the things we do, the way we do them.  Click on the image to enlarge.  Click here to download a PDF copy.

Golden Circle

This is his company manifesto and something we keep in mind as we begin the Exhibition: