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Master Teacher Project Show & Tell by Christine Glandorf

April 1, 2014

Today’s guest blogger is BetterLesson’s Project Manager Christine Glandorf

Master Teacher Project Show & Tell by Christine Glandorf featuring Dr. Miranti Murphy’s lesson “Focus on Research


Dr. Miranti Murphy

Have you ever seen a 2nd grader engaged in thoughtful research?

That’s not a trick question. The Common Core emphasizes 21st century research skills from an early age.  In the 2nd Grade, students should “participate in shared research and writing projects”  (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.7) and  “recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.8).

On paper this sounds amazing, but the practicalities of engaging 30 seven year olds in a research project are daunting.

Thank goodness for Dr. Miranti Murphy, a National Board Certified second grade Master Teacher from Hollywood, Florida. Dr. Murphy has 30 years of classroom teaching experience,  and in her lesson “Focus on Research” she has her students investigating the life of astronaut, Mae C. Jemison.  The lesson lays out the steps and provides all the resources for introducing second graders to a shared research project.

Teachers always tell us that “seeing is believing”. You might be skeptical when you hear that 30 second graders can work collaboratively to uncover the life story of the first African American female astronaut.

That’s why we sent a film crew to Dr. Murphy’s classroom. We captured awesome footage of Dr. Murphy and her students in action. Not only can you read about how she gradually releases her students to work in groups studying Jemison’s life, you can click on a video to see her strategies in action. The footage shows her students are actively and productively engaged (emphasis on the active; we love seeing her students get excited about research) in the process.

This footage from Dr. Murphy’s lesson provides invaluable insight into the real world implications of the Common Core transition. It is not easy to translate the new standards to actionable, realistic lessons. What seems simple on paper is infinitely more complicated in the classroom. In presenting Dr. Murphy’s lesson, we hope to demystify the standards and inspire teachers as they work with them.

It’s clear from watching the clips, that this lesson was a successful one. Dr. Murphy’s students worked together to unearth the story of Jemison’s life.  To borrow another famous astronaut’s turn of phrase, this was one small step for Dr. Murphy and her students, but in sharing this lesson on CC.BetterLesson, it was one giant leap for teachers everywhere.

From → Common Core, ELA, Our Team

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