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Home : 2001 : Feb : 20

    By Cathy-Dee

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    A program I worked with called Blended-Sight Sound has a great component for research writing. I'll try to explain it here, but email me if it doesn't make sense to you.

    Basically the program helps children learn how to write a research report and avoid plagarism. Most children simply copy full sentences from books as it is difficult for them to figure out how to write the information in their own words. This is how the system works.

    You would start with introducing this type of writing via a short paragraph. Then moving into books, etc., I would do the first 2 or 3 together and then one on their own.

    Children would have a paragraph to work from.
    They would write down the heading - Lions
    then they would write down numbers 1 to 6 (this can be any amount of numbers, but it is better to limit them at first to no more than 6 sentences).

    Then as they read the paragraph they can write down 3 main words from each sentence beside each number. (I sometimes allowed 4 words).

    So a paragraph like this for example.

    Lions are usually found in open habitats such as grassy plains, arid woodlands, and semi-desert.
    Lions usually kill prey larger than themselves, such as zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo but will also take smaller antelopes and warthogs. Lions will eat carrion and often steal carcasses from other predators such as hyenas, cheetahs, and wild dogs.

    Would look like this after the children do their initial sentences.

    1. found, plains, woodlands, semi-desert.
    2. kill, zebra, antelopes
    3. eat, carrion, steal

    Then the children hand in their work. The next day they get back this form and now they are to write their own sentences using the words. What happens is they have the information, but not all the words so they do write the information using their language base. As well it teaches them to look for important facts. If they had chosen words such as in sentence #2, kill, prey, larger (they now have less information to work with). They also learn not to write down words like, and, is, etc., as those are not informative words either.

    Once they have this process down, then I showed them how to make several sections which would be their paragraphs.
    Where they live
    Food they eat
    How they survive
    The young

    Then as they read different books, they simply add sentences under each section (using the 3-4 word method). Once done they can rewrite all the words into their own sentences and paragraphs. As they work through the process they will learn as well that they do not have to use every word they wrote down either. And they can write down other things they just remember from their reading.

    It's a neat system and works even better if all the classes from grades 2 upwards do the same system. Then you can just expand on the process as they get older.

    Hope this all makes sense.

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