In SK108, our students enjoy learning through researching and sharing their knowledge with their peers. They began conducting research in groups as they studied birds that live in the emergent layer of the rainforest. To draw upon the student’s interests, each had the opportunity to choose which bird they would prefer to study and research. Students wrote down their top two choices and were then placed into small groups based on interest. In the end, three groups were formed: macaws, toucans and harpy eagles. The groups spent time researching information about their chosen bird, sketching their bird and constructing their bird out of paper. For their research poster, they wrote and arranged their information and added photos and drawings to the poster boards. Finally, they had the opportunity to present their research to their classmates and answer questions about their chosen birds.
Conducting research groups in kindergarten fosters collaboration as everyone is working to achieve a common goal. When our students are given the opportunity to make choices based on their interests, the groups that are formed are curious about the same topic. This makes them more enthusiastic and driven to ask questions and learn more. Interest-driven instruction is differentiation in instruction based on interest. Through interest-driven instruction, the teacher builds instruction based on the interests that students bring to the classroom, or by offering students choices within a chunk of instruction that they want to dive more deeply into. As we study the remainder of the animals in the rainforest, we will continue to work in small research groups based on student interest. Our students are excited to continue researching and learning together!