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Teaching the student to work with multiple resources


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My youngest is in 8th grade this year and one skill that he consistently struggles with is how to pull information from multiple resources and to transform that information into a coherent written work.

 

We just started Classi Quest Biology. I had some initial concerns that there would be too much redundancy between the four main spines, but am delighted to discover that the small amount of overlap provides the opportunity to routinely combine information from a variety of resources in order to write a written report.

 

What we are doing is taking notes from the first reading and leaving lots of room on that initial note page. When we read from the second resource, we add any new information at the end of the first reading's notes. If the new information only expands on points in the first reading, then we add those notes in a different color of pen to the original notes. Each resource has a unique pen color. So at a glance, ds knows where the information came from and doesn't spend time writing redundant notes. Hopefully, when he writes a report, he will be able to see how all of the information goes together.

 

Does this sound like a workable process? For some reason, the last few times we have tried to compile information for multiple resources, it has been a failure. I don't seem to be able to describe the goal or process in a clear fashion. He is really at an age where he should be able to do this with history.

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I don't seem to be able to describe the goal or process in a clear fashion.

 

I don't think I could describe the process either. Somehow, it works best if my kids are working on a specific project: if DS has to give a presentation or write a report about a certain, we get different books, documentaries, websites and let him loose. He reads it all, takes some notes, and at the end synthesizes all the information he has learned into one final product.

I would not want to work with multiple sources on a daily basis, but it works well for specified projects.

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My youngest is in 8th grade this year and one skill that he consistently struggles with is how to pull information from multiple resources and to transform that information into a coherent written work.

 

Hopefully, when he writes a report, he will be able to see how all of the information goes together.

 

I don't seem to be able to describe the goal or process in a clear fashion.

 

My 8th grade son is currently going through SWB's new WWS (the 20 week sample). He finished week 5 today, and today's lesson was about sorting through notes taken from a couple of sources and putting them into a composition. Now - the notes were already there in the lesson, so he just had to figure out what was important to use. But (I haven't looked ahead) I suspect this is leading to teaching students how to get those notes in the first place. But it's just teaching one skill at a time. I think it's called scaffolding? Anyway, have you had a look at the WWS sample lessons? SWB also posted a link yesterday (on the WWS sticky thread) that has the scope and sequence for all four levels. And some advice for the future to those of us starting this with 8th graders.

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I haven't done this with my 8th yet but when I was in school (a long time ago) I remember being taught to work with notecards. We would read through all of the information first and get an idea of what topics overlapped. Then we would narrow our topic to one that was supported by enough information to create a paper of the length we were assigned. We would then go through source one making notes about our topic on notecards, then source two and then source three doing the same, and so on for however many sources we had gathered. We would then start combining notecards into order and creating almost a tactile outline. (We'd spread them out on the floor and shuffle them around). We would then write out an outline (because we were graded on our outline too), and then using the notecards, because they contained more information that the simple outline, would start writing the paper.

 

I haven't actually used this method with my dc nor have I used it myself in years , but I have always remembered this method as one of the best methods I was taught for writing. I still remember dreading having to write a paper using many sources, but by the time I was finished with the first draft I couldn't get over how easy it had been.

 

I think the thing about the notecards that made it easy was being able to shuffle them around and combine cards to make sentences and paragraphs. I'm very tactile and visual though so that may be why I liked it. I could see doing the same\similar thing with cut and paste.

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We don't use notecards, because I think they're cumbersome, but when my son is doing a longer report using multiple sources, I do have him make up pages with topical headings. He then reads through each source and makes notes on whichever pages (headings) are applicable. When he's done, he has notes from all sources arranged by topic and is ready to write....

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My 8th grade son is currently going through SWB's new WWS (the 20 week sample). He finished week 5 today, and today's lesson was about sorting through notes taken from a couple of sources and putting them into a composition. Now - the notes were already there in the lesson, so he just had to figure out what was important to use. But (I haven't looked ahead) I suspect this is leading to teaching students how to get those notes in the first place. But it's just teaching one skill at a time. I think it's called scaffolding? Anyway, have you had a look at the WWS sample lessons? SWB also posted a link yesterday (on the WWS sticky thread) that has the scope and sequence for all four levels. And some advice for the future to those of us starting this with 8th graders.

 

Yes, at the end SWB explains to the student that the details she has been giving are notes. The student then takes their own notes and rewrites from the notes.

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What you describe is how I take notes from multiple sources when I am taking notes on a new subject I am studying. I have notebooks full of pages like that.

 

My dc learned the multiple source paper in IEW. It works well, too. They take notes from each source and then compile them. You end up with less, and you are closer to your finished work, because you analyze the facts as you compile them. That works really well for when you will need to write a paper based on what you have read/ researched.

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I haven't actually used this method with my dc nor have I used it myself in years , but I have always remembered this method as one of the best methods I was taught for writing. I still remember dreading having to write a paper using many sources, but by the time I was finished with the first draft I couldn't get over how easy it had been.

 

I think the thing about the notecards that made it easy was being able to shuffle them around and combine cards to make sentences and paragraphs. I'm very tactile and visual though so that may be why I liked it. I could see doing the same\similar thing with cut and paste.

 

I :001_wub: notecards. I love that I can shuffle and rearrange them. I did all my papers this way all the way through college, and had my kids start using notecards as early as 3rd grade...

 

Taking notes on a piece of paper where I have to be adding things and possibly running out of room and move it around or draw arrows seems incredibly cumbersome. Even on the computer, pages of notes still seem harder to me - with notecards, I could literally 'see' how much I had on a topic from just looking at the cards. once I'd organized my notecards, the papers pretty much wrote themselves, including the citations, because each card had a source and page on it.

 

But I know some people hate them. I think it's amazing how differently our minds organize information.

 

And that's for taking notes for a paper - for taking notes for a class - whether reading or lecture, on paper makes more sense to me. For that, I love the idea of the different colored ink. That Superstar Student video from TC suggested something like this - taking notes on the reading, then adding lecture notes to the same page in a different color.

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I am certainly not at this point yet, but inherently I am feeling that the note taking or outlining is really secondary to the student actually being able to take in the information, and form a coherent opinion that would guide his writing. Ultimately I would want my student to be able to write with a voice that was interesting, and tell me something I wanted to hear. I have tried the WWS approach with dd (we also worked through week 5 recently). Unfortunately, how it unfolded was to basically list the outline material off almost word for word, without ever finding her voice in the story. It felt a bit stale.

 

I know the directions were given to change the words around, but at her age I felt like just figuring out the order of things took away the style aspect. I know the directions were there for her, and of course, she is only in 5th grade and may not have found her voice yet.

 

I don't mean to hijack, but I would be interested on whether the voice comes with age, or with specific training in progym., or something else. Ultimately I want her to be a good story teller, even when it pertains to using multiple resources to do it. O.K.. Swimmermom, that is soooo not answering your question, and may be opening a whole other can or worms. I apologize..

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I am certainly not at this point yet, but inherently I am feeling that the note taking or outlining is really secondary to the student actually being able to take in the information, and form a coherent opinion that would guide his writing. Ultimately I would want my student to be able to write with a voice that was interesting, and tell me something I wanted to hear. I have tried the WWS approach with dd (we also worked through week 5 recently). Unfortunately, how it unfolded was to basically list the outline material off almost word for word, without ever finding her voice in the story. It felt a bit stale.

 

I know the directions were given to change the words around, but at her age I felt like just figuring out the order of things took away the style aspect. I know the directions were there for her, and of course, she is only in 5th grade and may not have found her voice yet.

 

I don't mean to hijack, but I would be interested on whether the voice comes with age, or with specific training in progym., or something else. Ultimately I want her to be a good story teller, even when it pertains to using multiple resources to do it. O.K.. Swimmermom, that is soooo not answering your question, and may be opening a whole other can or worms. I apologize..

 

That comes with maturity and then some training. I am working with my high school co-op students on that exact thing right now, for example. BUT they still have to be able to go back and document and support, so they need those notetaking skills. It's not an either or, and one isn't more important than the other.

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but inherently I am feeling that the note taking or outlining is really secondary to the student actually being able to take in the information, and form a coherent opinion that would guide his writing.

 

Interesting, I actually think the opposite way. I think that pulling out the pertinent information and organizing it needs to come before, at this age, forming an opinion on it and being able to express that opinion or voice into their writing.

 

It's much easier to digest and analyze once they have filtered out all of the non-essential bits.

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Yes, I must be wired differently, because it pained me to see that type of stale writing. I am thinking that we will spend time discussing the material with her, asking questions about it, and getting her opinion about it. Hopefully this will help develop a bit more personal style. I just can't imagine doing years of this type of writing. I inherently want her to know the types of questions to answer in the paper, the way she would like to go about telling the story, and what she wants the reader to gain from it. Then I would discuss with her what resources she wanted to use, etc. I see virtually no point in the moving of facts directly from an outline to a story. ---- I know this is not what you are even talking about Swimmermom... ;-(

 

Of course I am not saying anyone else is doing this, only what happened when dd worked through the lesson. I am a work in progress myself, so we are all learning together.... and now back to the regularly scheduled OP. ;-)

 

I am certainly curious how people go about best organizing their resources.

 

 

**** Oh, and after two days of being sick and taking care of three other sick little ones, I may not be saying things with the level of grace that I would like. If I sound short, I am just tired. I appreciate hearing other views though, because I am continually learning and just wondered if this is something everyone goes through.

Edited by SaDonna
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Yes, I must be wired differently,

 

My ds is like that. I subscribed to this, because I do like the idea of different color pens, that will appeal to ds. I also like having multiple sources and will continue in that vein through high school. We're just beginning with the note taking and I'm not totally sure how to approach it either.

 

However, ds is like you, SaDonna, he organizes information differently. An outline does not work for him. Notecards don't either. I'm thinking Cornell note paper might be a solution. He can scribble in the main part and summarize neatly in the bottom portion.

 

My ds will hear something, read something and form an opinion right away. I can already tell documenting sources will be an issue for him. We've had the discussions on plagiarizing, but he reads the information and absorbs like a sponge. He thinks the knowledge about subject X is enough, that drawing from his own brain is all that should be required. We've been studying formal logic and he skips steps, he just jumps right over the very concept I struggled with this summer while pre-reading. I think part of it is his has a well developed intuition and some apathy. He doesn't care where he read it or learned it, he just knows it and that is enough for him.

 

We had a few discussions on audience in respect to his writing. I reminded so far to assume the reader of his assignment know nothing about subject X.

 

This is going to be another one of those threads isn't it. I'll grab my popcorn. :lurk5:

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Interesting, I actually think the opposite way. I think that pulling out the pertinent information and organizing it needs to come before, at this age, forming an opinion on it and being able to express that opinion or voice into their writing.

 

 

I am trying to see this. I just felt like her brain left her the minute all the information was outlined and organized in front of her. Then she went on automatic and began writing an identical story. Again, we have A LONG way to go. She is inherently a creative writer, but it just came to a screeching halt with the assignment.

 

I am thinking though it might have had to do with the facts being given to her, and possibly I will see a different paper when she is the one gathering them and reading all of the material. I get we are just practicing the art right now in the early stages of WWS.

 

I am all for learning the most effective way of organizing the resources though (this is almost comical now Swimmermom... I have completely derailed things), and also I see a need in being able to cite and direct quote things within the paper.

 

Honestly, I know not of what I speak. I was mostly just wondering if it was just my dd that wrote that way, or what? I certainly think along the lines of what ElegantLion was saying about her ds, so this will be interesting to teach. ;-)

 

I think we just need more practice. he he

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I am thinking though it might have had to do with the facts being given to her, and possibly I will see a different paper when she is the one gathering them and reading all of the material. I get we are just practicing the art right now in the early stages of WWS.

 

 

 

I had a thought about this as I'm sitting here listening to my oldest play the piano. She is playing a piece right now that definitely has her style\her voice in it. She has been working on it for a couple weeks, but when she started learning the piece it was very mechanical, very much just the notes she learned in the exact way she learned them for the composition. I've also noticed that the longer she plays the piano...the longer she continues learning, the less time it takes her to put her signature into those pieces.

 

All that to say, I do think in time, once the mechanics are second nature, your dd will find a way to integrate her voice into her writing.

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I had a thought about this as I'm sitting here listening to my oldest play the piano. She is playing a piece right now that definitely has her style\her voice in it. She has been working on it for a couple weeks, but when she started learning the piece it was very mechanical, very much just the notes she learned in the exact way she learned them for the composition. I've also noticed that the longer she plays the piano...the longer she continues learning, the less time it takes her to put her signature into those pieces.

 

All that to say, I do think in time, once the mechanics are second nature, your dd will find a way to integrate her voice into her writing.

 

Great analogy!

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I haven't done this with my 8th yet but when I was in school (a long time ago) I remember being taught to work with notecards. We would read through all of the information first and get an idea of what topics overlapped. Then we would narrow our topic to one that was supported by enough information to create a paper of the length we were assigned. We would then go through source one making notes about our topic on notecards, then source two and then source three doing the same, and so on for however many sources we had gathered. We would then start combining notecards into order and creating almost a tactile outline. (We'd spread them out on the floor and shuffle them around). We would then write out an outline (because we were graded on our outline too), and then using the notecards, because they contained more information that the simple outline, would start writing the paper.

 

I haven't actually used this method with my dc nor have I used it myself in years , but I have always remembered this method as one of the best methods I was taught for writing. I still remember dreading having to write a paper using many sources, but by the time I was finished with the first draft I couldn't get over how easy it had been.

 

I think the thing about the notecards that made it easy was being able to shuffle them around and combine cards to make sentences and paragraphs. I'm very tactile and visual though so that may be why I liked it. I could see doing the same\similar thing with cut and paste.

 

Yup, this is what we do. The old fashion note card method. And sometimes the student takes redundant notes. That's okay. They learn.

 

I teach this method, but don't require it past eigth-grade. At that point, my students can use what ever works best for them. Different kids have moved on to different methods.

 

Someone more tech savvy might know of a program with online notecards--that would be ideal.

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I teach this method, but don't require it past eigth-grade. At that point, my students can use what ever works best for them. Different kids have moved on to different methods.

 

I think this is one of the ways that an outside class can possibly be helpful, and if dc aren't going to get any other teachers, the homeschool parent needs to be industrious. Seeing different methods, and not just the method that works for mom, gives a student more options, and then they can pick what works for them. I have three dc, and I know not one of them thinks just alike. One is just like me in most (not all) ways, and what I do works for her. But I have sought out and teach other ways to approach things (expecially those logic skills, like this,) because the others need different ways.

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I think this is one of the ways that an outside class can possibly be helpful, and if dc aren't going to get any other teachers, the homeschool parent needs to be industrious. Seeing different methods, and not just the method that works for mom, gives a student more options, and then they can pick what works for them. I have three dc, and I know not one of them thinks just alike. One is just like me in most (not all) ways, and what I do works for her. But I have sought out and teach other ways to approach things (expecially those logic skills, like this,) because the others need different ways.

 

Excellent point, Angela. My kids have picked up a lot from sources other than me.

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I just wanted to copy this over from another forum where I just posted this -

 

"The other day I posted about being frustrated with an assignment in WWS, and how it looked compared to CC. But when I stand back and look, I think these curriculums are always going to hit on a different spot within their instruction, at least initially. Case in point that I am seeing better writing in CC right now than in WWS, but then I look down the road at WWS and see other types of instruction that will bring something else to the table.

 

I just have to keep to the big picture here. I want my dc to be able to articulate themselves well, organize their thoughts well, and say SOMETHING within their essay that moves me. They have a lot of years of practice ahead of them, and I am at the point where I am not closing the door on anything." ;-) I appreciate your patience. I am sorry I derailed your OP Swimmermom, I hope someone gives you more helpful answers than I did.. so I am giving this a bump. ;-) Have a great week everyone.. my cold is gone and I am feeling SO much better!

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