Empowering Student Voice Through Individual Projects: A Kindergarten Research Project


My library uses a flexible schedule.  This means that I don’t see classes at a set time every week.  Instead, I collaborate with teachers and schedule lessons and projects as they fit into the curriculum each week.  This flexibility allows me to work with more than just homeroom classes to include classes like art and music, gifted, special education, and extended learning time groups.  It also allows me to work with small groups of students or even individuals.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working with Mick, a Kindergarten student.  He is an avid reader and is very curious about so many things.  Mick discovers a topic and wants to know all there is to know about it.  Our recent exploration has been around seahorses, which was sparked by a book that he read in his class.

Over several sessions, Mick came to the library for research.  We developed questions together on a Google doc.  He did all of the talking, and I did the typing.

Seahorse doc

Once we had a good list of questions, we started exploring PebbleGo, a Capstone Interactive ebook on seahorses, and Encyclopedia Britannica in our Galileo database.  We listened to the read aloud feature or I read the text aloud if it was too difficult for him to read on his own.  We paused often to see if any facts had answered our questions.  If Mick pulled out a fact, we put it into his own words and I added it to the doc.

After each session, I printed our notes for him to take back to class in case he did more research on his own or at home.  Once Mick felt like he had enough facts, I asked him what he wanted to do with his information.

He really wanted to “make a book using the computer”.  There are several tools we could use to do this, but we decided to use an iPad and the Storykit app.  This app lets you create multiple pages, type text, record audio, draw, take pictures, and import pictures.  I’ve seen other Kindergarten students use it, so I felt like it was the right tool for the job.

Mick’s first steps were to find some creative commons pictures of seahorses.  He used the camera on the iPad to take pictures of the pictures and put one picture on each page.

During another session, we went through Mick’s facts and selected an order for the information.  He read the facts he wanted, and I typed them onto the iPad.  I originally had him typing, but it was taking longer than we had time for.

In our final session, Mick recorded his voice reading each page.

The Storykit app lets you upload the book to the Storykit server and then you get a link to the work to share.

I invite you to take a look and a listen to Mick’s informational story on Seahorses.  I love it when student’s voices are empowered through projects in the library.  If you have comments for Mick, please leave them in the comments.

Mick's Seahorses (1)

14 thoughts on “Empowering Student Voice Through Individual Projects: A Kindergarten Research Project

  1. Mick's Dad says:

    I am so proud of all the work you did together, Mick and Mr. Plemmons! What an excellent project! Keep up the hard work at Barrow School!

  2. lindy says:

    What a great book! We are proud of you.
    Mommy and Daddy

  3. weaverl33 says:

    Wow! Great job, Mick! I can’t wait until you and Mr. Plemmons work on your next project.

  4. Valerie says:

    How very impressive! What a wonderful program! The book turned out so well! Great job Mick and Mr. Plemmons!
    – Mick’s Auntie

  5. Leeann Denham says:

    Mick, you did such a good job on this project. I’ll bet you know more about seahorses than anyone else in your school. Andy, thank you for the opportunity to see a tiny bit of this collaborative effort!

  6. Wow Mick! I learned so much about seahorses by listening to your book. I am going to share it with my kindergarten classes in my Learning Commons. I bet some of them will be inspired to do a book on something they want to learn about!

  7. shstepp says:

    Wow Mick! I learned so much about seahorses from listening to your book! I didn’t know there were so many kinds of seahorses. I am going to share your book with my kindergarten classes in my library. I bet some of them will be inspired to do their own book about something they want to learn about!

  8. Lolly Petroff says:

    This is such a cool project. I think the collaboration is great– way to go MICK!

  9. Shelby Miller says:

    Hi Mick! I’m a college student at Illinois State University. My homework was to read this blog and listen to your story– how cool is that?! I’m so impressed with your book and that you were able to make it on the iPad! I loved listening to you read your book aloud and I would love to do something like this in my future classroom! Keep up the good work buddy! P.S. I showed this to all my friends and they think it’s really awesome too!

    • plemmonsa says:

      Thank you for taking time to respond to Mick. I’ll be sure to share this with him (and his family). It is amazing to see how student work spreads to so many parts of the world when we share it online.

  10. Ms. Kathy Whitaker says:

    Dear Mick, I am a Kindergarten/Transition K Teacher in the mountains. I learned SO much about seahorses from your project! I projected your project for my students. They were ALL so impressed that a student their age did this research and created this ebook. Fantastic work!
    Ms. Whitaker

    • plemmonsa says:

      This is such a wonderful comment. I’ll be sure to share this with Mick & his family. They will love hearing that another class enjoyed his work.

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