Facilitator Notes

General Suggestions for Leading a PLC about the Lesson: (These suggestions remain the same throughout all the lessons in Nonfiction Inquiry. See Specific Suggestions for this lesson below.)

  • Facilitator Preparation for the Session:
    • Read (or review) the Unit Plan and/or Lesson Plan in Supporting Documents, and the “Purpose of the Lesson” segment online, to understand how this lesson fits into the overall Inquiry Unit.
    • View the clips, decide on your own responses to the questions, and anticipate other possible responses from colleagues. Then review the suggested responses in the “Facilitator Notes.” Please note that the questions and responses given are suggestions only. Your insights and those of your teachers will shape the most meaningful discussions.
    • A Teacher Commentary video clip accompanies some of the lesson clips. In this Commentary, the teacher of the lesson provides her own insights into the segment of the lesson. We recommend viewing the Commentary after the discussion of each lesson segment.
    • You may want to download some of the Supporting Documents and copy them for use in the session. There is also a transcript available for each lesson.


  • During the Session:
    • Give teachers time to read the Unit Plan and/or Lesson Plan in Supporting Documents, and read the “Purpose of the Lesson” segment online. Discuss how this lesson contributes to the unit as a whole. Usually a “Prior to the Lesson” segment will aid you in doing this. You may want to refer to the four phases of inquiry and where this lesson falls within that process.
    • Before viewing each video clip, note the “Segment Focus” and “Questions” for the segment.
    • As you view each video clip, encourage teachers to take notes related to the focus question but also about their own questions, ideas, and thoughts.
    • After viewing each clip, have teachers turn and talk with colleagues about what they noticed, their questions and other reflections. Then lead a whole group discussion about the segment.
    • If there is a Teacher Commentary about the lesson segment, view and discuss it.


  • Concluding the Session:
    • Discuss how the session supports teachers’ current efforts or plans for their own inquiry units, what additional support is needed, and how you can facilitate that support.


Specific Suggestions for Grade 2 Weather Inquiry Unit, Lesson2:

“Compare and Contrast Information from Different Sources” – Possible Responses to Questions
Please note that the questions and responses given are suggestions only. Your insights and those of your teachers will shape the most meaningful discussions.

Prior to the Lesson: Why do you think it was important for the children to spend several days investigating a type of weather of their choice? (Review the Unit Outline and Artifacts: Previous Lessons.)

  • Choice is a huge motivator. Having been introduced to several types of severe weather in Immersion, the students were able to choose one type for focused research.
  • Students had the opportunity to learn about their type of weather from at least two different sources of their choice, supporting a variety of ways of learning (e-books, video, articles, printed books, etc.).
  • It takes time to understand informational text, regardless of the form in which it is presented. Multiple exposures to the same information in different ways helps the students begin to discover what’s important about a topic.
  • “Today’s new knowledge is tomorrow’s background knowledge.” (David Pearson). As children learn about the topic, their background knowledge grows and they develop more astute questions and deeper engagement with the topic.
  • Children build confidence in their ability to understand the topic as they develop more background knowledge. This confidence motivates them to learn more, setting up a positive learning cycle.



Connect/Engage: How does the teacher set the students up to be successful in the lesson?

  • She reviews the terminology “compare” and “contrast.”
  • She emphasizes the importance of reviewing the notes before trying to compare or contrast them.
  • In response to a student’s suggestion that they go back to the texts, she shows how their notes are important for holding information.
  • She engages students in understanding the information from the notes, not just reading the words (e.g., making the waves with their bodies).


Model/Guide: How does the teacher support students in learning how to compare and contrast information from research?

  • The teacher provides wait time for children to “put your eyes on it and study it [the information on the anchor chart] and make it your focal point.” She is very explicit about the need to fully attend to the information before it is possible to compare or contrast it. She is helping the children develop habits of thoughtful readers, not look for a quick answer.
  • She illustrates the purpose of comparing information when she uses it to confirm facts about tsunamis (e.g., “So can we say that it’s probably very likely that the ground shakes when a tsunami is approaching?”)
  • She gives a non-example of contrasting to help the children focus on contradictory information or different approaches to a topic (“I want you to think beyond, this resource talked about the Ring of Fire and this one didn’t.”)
  • She emphasizes the confusion that comes with contradictory information and the importance of noticing these differences as a researcher.
  • She helps orient the work away from a teacher-centered task towards student-centered investigation in her response to the child’s question, “So we just write one thing that was the same and one thing that was different?” She explains that the number of facts will vary depending on the group’s information, implying that the purpose is not to complete the task but to learn.


Collaborative Practice: What authentic purposes for comparing and contrasting information do the students begin to discover in this lesson?

(You may want to review the Lesson Artifacts: Current Lesson to view some of the children’s written notes.)

  • As she confers about conflicting information, the teacher is building children’s awareness that just because they find information in texts, it may not always be accurate, up-to-date, or complete. She is helping them to become critical readers.
  • In discovering similar information in the two resources, the teacher helps the children realize that information is more likely to be important or accurate if it is found in more than one source. This leads to an understanding that multiple resources are important for really developing knowledge and expertise.
  • The teacher also leads the children to evaluate the effectiveness of how information is presented in different resources (e.g., “Which was more helpful in figuring out how a hurricane forms?” “Which gives you a better idea of how hot lightning can be?”) Through these discussions, the children are beginning to recognize how comparing and contrasting information leads them to understand their own learning process.
  • The notes the children take show that they are examining information more closely because they are looking for similarities and differences. For example, the child writes, “In resource 1, it says hot air and cold air come together but resource 2 says that clouds spinning make a tornado.” This difference leads the children to take their thinking about how a tornado forms to a deeper level and perhaps to reread the information to be sure they are interpreting it correctly.


Sharing: In what ways do you think the children’s understanding of being a researcher is growing in this coalesce phase of the inquiry?

  • They are recognizing that when there are discrepancies in information in different texts, a researcher needs to get more information to resolve it. Learning from informational texts is not just accepting as fact whatever is written.
  • Researchers develop more questions the more they learn!
  • Researchers don’t always know the answers to questions, so they continue to study to find answers.
  • Researchers use their own experiences to help them make inferences and understand concepts. They also recognize when their prior knowledge may not be helpful to the circumstances.
  • Researchers can develop interests in new or different topics as they learn from their peers.
  • Researchers talk to others to deepen their understandings.
  • Researchers consult multiple sources to get a more accurate understanding of their topic.


Lesson Reflection and Next Steps: What are your overall thoughts or questions about the lesson? What insights did this lesson provide into the process of an inquiry unit and how inquiry helps develop both literacy and content knowledge?