This week had been all about reading and taking notes. Sounds like a simple task, but there is more to this than you might think. One of the hardest things for a fifth grader, in my opinion, is take what you have read, organize it, and write about it in a new, fresh way.

Students are working in different learning groups on one of five different ecosystems- ponds, oceans, estuaries, forests, or grasslands. Students are using a variety of different resources- text sets, magazines, online periodicals, and even videos.

The task has been to teach students how to go about collecting and organizing the ideas they find as the collect them from their reading. To do this, I have shared what I call “The Method”, which is really something I picked up from former middle and high school students. The idea is to create two types of cards – source and note cards – using index cards. Source cards keep track of what you have read, and note cards collect small bite size pieces of facts, and interesting statements. Later these cards will make it easier for students to make a bibliography and piece together a project.