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, Lesson 4:

“Create Video Scripts that are Interesting as well as Informative” – 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 1: How do you think student benefited from studying cause and effect in the context of the inquiry unit (vs. as a stand-alone skill)? (See Lesson Artifacts: Prior to the Lesson – “Cause and Effect”)

The causes and effects are part of a meaningful whole. They help children better understand important aspects of the weather they are studying. At the same time, learning about cause and effect within the context of the ongoing inquiry helps children understand the concept itself better. They are less likely to approach it mechanically, just looking for clue words or thinking there is only one cause for an effect or vice versa.

Prior to the Lesson 2: See Lesson Artifacts: Prior to the Lesson – “Cold Write”. Then watch the Teacher Commentary and discuss the impact of the inquiry unit on student writing, and other observations from the writing samples.

See Teacher Commentary.

Model/Guide 1: How did the teacher help the children recognize the importance of creating video scripts that would keep the viewer’s interest as well as inform?

  • She discusses what it means to be “entertaining” and why it’s important (“It makes you want to do it.”)
  • After establishing that the tsunami video was informative, she provides the children time to turn and talk about whether or not it was entertaining.
  • She provides opportunities for the children to express their ideas and come to their own conclusions about the entertainment value of the video.
  • She builds from a child who effectively critiques the lack of expression in the narrator’s voice.


Model/Guide 2: Do you think this segment of the lesson will support the students to transfer entertainment techniques to their own videos? Why or why not?

  • Using a previous video made by students in the class was highly motivating and built the confidence of the students that they could all come up with an entertaining video.
  • The teacher engages the children in discussion of what the video creators did in each case, to generalize the techniques and make it more likely that the students will understand how to apply them to a different topic.
  • Using a variety of videos discussing different topics will help the children transfer techniques to their own topic.


Transition to Collaborative Practice: What is important about this transition before the students go off to their groups?

  • The teacher reviews basic expectations about creating the script that are important for the children to have in their minds as they begin, including the 4 types of information that need to be included.
  • She clarifies that the children can’t use all of the entertainment techniques, and develops a conversation in which a student is able to articulate excellent reasons for not “overdoing it”.
  • She has all of the students’ research collected together, along with written directions for the scripts, to help them keep focused and organized.
  • She entertains their questions so their concerns don’t override their focus on the task.


Collaborative Practice 1 and 2: What types of support does the teacher provide as she confers with groups? How does she help the students maintain the initiative in creating their scripts?

(See Sample Student Work)

  • She honors different ways people engage in a creative group activity, e.g., writing or acting out first.
  • She begins the conference asking the students to tell her their idea. This puts them in the driver’s seat from the beginning, while giving her the opportunity to assess their progress and their needs.
  • She rephrases their ideas to support important aspects of them, (e.g., “So it’s like the news people telling you…”, “So you guys are going to be the scientists”)
  • She suggests ways to get concrete support, such as the map outside the classroom.
  • When they seem to be off track, she refers children back to the checklist and to the graphic organizer (“window chart”) they made previously. She suggests that they already have collected the information they need; they just need to use what they’ve already done. It can be challenging for young children to realize the usefulness of what they did in previous days, so it’s important that she points this out to them.
  • She reinforces that they all can figure out all the lines; it’s not just the responsibility of the person talking.
  • She asks questions that encourage kids to brainstorm, and encourages their process of coming up with various ideas, abandoning some and expanding on others. She confirms that creative ideas don’t always come out fully formed and clear.
  • She consistently expresses confidence that they will work well together and overcome the obstacles in creating their scripts.


Lesson Reflection:

  • 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?