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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Inquiring Minds Want to Know.
Inquiring Minds Want to Know…

HOW IT WORKS
Inquiring Minds Want to Know… is a social-studies-based nonfiction writing project celebrating Women’s History Month through interviews with selected female educators in the students’ school. Children’s skills in reading and writing nonfiction are developed while their knowledge of the role of women in history is enhanced. Work in oral and written communication is included and students are encouraged to use critical thinking to develop thoughtful interview questions. The children study published interviews and note the questions that evoke story-like answers. They differentiate between “inside” (those that delve deeply) and “outside” (those that elicit superficial responses) questions and make decisions about which to use and the appropriate sequence. They select the interview subjects and do shared writing to compose a letter requesting an appointment for an interview. After additional planning, interviews are held and first drafts begun. They turn responses into readable narratives, ending with a detailed written portrait of the subject. Appropriate writing strategies are taught in mini-lessons as children compose, revise, proofread, share, and revise again. Finally, they are ready to publish.

Using wireless iBooks and word-processing skills learned in the computer lab, students type their pieces and do a final revision and editing. Digital photos of interviewer and subject are imported for the cover, and dedications and “About the Author” sections are added. A celebration of the completion of this work includes sharing the interviews with the school community. Each day during Women’s History Month, a student reads portions of his/her interview over the loudspeaker during opening exercises. 

THE STUDENTS
Twenty-two heterogeneously grouped third grade students participate in this project, which is done in the classroom. Students receive instruction in technology during their weekly periods in the computer lab and though the classroom work is done using wireless laptops, it can just as easily be completed in the lab or in a one- or two-computer classroom. This program can be easily adapted to larger or smaller groups with children of any ability level and to any other projects that lend themselves to interviews 

THE STAFF
Lori Rosenthal has been teaching for 14 years and has taught grades two and three. She has been using the Columbia University Writers Workshop model in her classroom for about five years. Though this program can be done without assistance, a computer teacher helped with the iBooks and a Teachers’ Center teacher added her strong knowledge of the writing process. 

WHAT YOU NEED
Essential materials include biographies of famous women, which can be found in the school or public library, and samples of interviews from children’s magazines or newspapers. Any computer set-up is workable, from wireless laptops to a computer lab. Internet access is not necessary. Computers should have word processing software. If photographs are used, a digital camera and photo-editing software is needed.

OVERALL VALUE
The excitement generated by Inquiring Minds Want to Know… motivates students to learn the skills necessary to produce exemplary pieces of writing and, at the same time, meet the standards in English/language arts (reading, writing, oral language, conventions), social studies, applied learning, and technology. Many areas of the curriculum are integrated, thus making maximum use of learning time. The skills so easily acquired during this study can be built upon as students’ progress through the grades. 

 

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
Literacy
Social Studies
Technology

GRADES
2-12

MORE INFORMATION

Lori Rosenthal
P.S. 206 Queens
61-21 97 Place
Rego Park, NY 11374
Lrosenthal206@aol.com
Principal
Peter L. DeRise

IMPACT II 
Catalog 2003-2004

 

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