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During the class’ animal unit, Mrs. Lefrancois’ pre-k students at City Springs Elementary/Middle School were on the edge of their seats, with endless questions during each lesson. There was no way the class could cover each of their favorite animals…unless they tried something new. 

So Mrs. Lefrancois assigned her students their first research project! 

“We work on early writing skills in pre-k, and I knew this would really challenge them,” says Mrs. Lefrancois. “They were so enthusiastic, I knew they were up for it.”

Page from a student's research report on sea stars

Since pre-k students are not yet reading fluently, the school librarian Ms. Rodowsky helped them find books about their favorite animals. Using pictures as context clues and seeking out letters and words they recognized, students were able to learn more about their favorite animals with a little help from Mrs. Lefrancois and paraeducator Ms. Maraj.

“Pre-k reading standards focus on the parts of a book and print features,” says Mrs. Lefrancois. “We want the students to recognize that books are a source of information; that books can answer our questions and extend our knowledge. If they know an octopus has tentacles and they recognize a “T” in the book, and they know the sound that “T” makes, they can identify the word.”

On the first day of the project, students focused on drawing their report front cover and creating a table of contents. The following days were spent detailing each animal’s body, habitat, lifecycle and diet. 

Page from a student's report on sea turtles

Once the reports were complete, the students showcased their hard work and knowledge. They took their reports to their older peers in Ms. Rollins’ seventh-grade science class. Seated in groups, the pre-k students went through each page showing off what they had learned and drawn. 

“When I got to go upstairs to show the big kids, I felt amazing,” says pre-K student Eli.  “I felt like I had pride.” 

The City Springs community emphasizes a different positive attribute each month. May's attribute was “pride,” and Eli was excited to use it in a sentence!

“Pre-k students have insatiable curiosity,” says Mrs. Lefrancois. “Whenever I’m worried I might be giving them more than they can handle, they always surprise me. They walked right into the seventh-grade classroom to present their work. They weren’t intimidated. They were confident.” 

Check out photos of students with their projects:

Students with their animal research reportsstudents with their animal reportsstudents with their animal reports


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