Thursday, March 20, 2014

Taking a Stance on Magnets: Using Padlet for Collaborative Learning

One of the big Common Core standards states kids should be able to form an opinion, or take a stance on a topic, and use evidence to support their stance. This lesson was an awesome way for our 2nd grade students to practice doing this, and incorporate reading, writing, listening, speaking and collaboration!

In our new Wonders curriculum, there was lots of nonfiction text about forces and magnets. Specifically there was a text about how magnets work and how they help us in everyday life.

First, we used the Popplet app to organize our ideas and learning.

I wanted to get some more sources for the kids to read about magnets, so I Googled "Magnets for kids." What came up surprised me- there were a ton of articles about how magnets can be harmful when kids swallow them!

So this got me thinking....

With Common Core and all, this was the perfect opportunity for students to research and determine whether magnets help or hurt more! 
(W.2.1 Write opinion pieces in which students introduce a topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, and supply reasons that support the opinion.) 

We did lots of shared reading and close reading and guided reading and video watching, etc. to learn everything we possibly could about magnets- both good and bad. 

First, students used the organizer to either write or draw what they knew about magnets. This was a quick, 7 minute activity to get the students thinking about all we had already learned about magnets from previous research. 

(Click to download!)

Students then worked with a partner (I strategically grouped them this time to make sure I had a strong reader with a struggling reader so they could support each other) to determine and research whether they felt magnets helped or hurt more. The pair had to agree on which stance to take- help or hurt? 

They then created a Padlet wall to put their reasons down, while citing evidence from the text! Padlet is essentially a virtual wall where you can post sticky notes! 

One student in the pair (dubbed "peanut butter") created the Padlet wall by going HERE. Peanut butter then shared the wall with their "jelly" so both students were working and posting to the SAME wall. This allows for students to collaborate and build off of each other's ideas! It was easy for jelly to scan the wall using the Qrafter app

and the easy share button on the Padlet site:  

Once students are on the same wall, they are able to see the stickies their partner or group is posting, thus allowing them to build upon each other's ideas. 

Students even started to add photographs from the text to their walls, and links to their evidence. 

Pairs then shared these walls with the rest of the class. We learned that the students who used more evidence from the text had much stronger arguments than those who did not!

You can see a video of this lesson here!

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