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 1:
“Find Wow Facts from Multiple Resources” – 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: What are your thoughts and/or questions about the integration of content areas in this inquiry?

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

  • The review of text features and the “second grade secret” about informational text help prepare students to preview and choose appropriate resources from many available texts.
  • The teacher makes sure students have an understanding of the concept of “severe” weather so that they can look for appropriate information in their resources.
  • The teacher is enthusiastic about embarking on the “new adventure” of being researchers, helping to motivate the students to be excited too.
  • An effective approach also could have been to have the children turn and talk about text features, being researchers, and/or severe weather, to be sure that all of them get warmed up to participating and thinking about the topic.

Model/Guide 1: What behaviors or skills of researchers does the teacher demonstrate in this segment?

  • She shows how a researcher is faced with a variety of texts and needs to make a decision about which resource to begin with.
  • She models stopping the video and revisiting parts to be able to think about and record information.
  • She thinks aloud why she would record specific information (“That would be good to know, don’t you think? I won’t have to worry too much when I go to Myrtle Beach”)
  • She concretizes what a wow fact is by linking it to something you want to run and tell a friend or sibling.
  • She enlists the aid of the children in putting the information they have read and discussed into words for the chart.
  • She emphasizes that she will continue learning through the same and other resources by repeating the process of reading or viewing, stopping to revisit or reread, think, and record.
  • She demonstrates that the teacher is a learner, too, just like the children. By placing all of them together in the research, she demonstrates how research is a collaborative activity and builds the children’s engagement and confidence.

Model/Guide 2: Why do you think the teacher chooses to weave a lot of student participation into her modeling?

Modeling is important so that children see an expert in action before they try strategies on their own. In this case, it appears that the teacher has done a lot of modeling in the past, so she releases more responsibility to the students as she models. She makes her modeling a conversation with the children that gives them a more active role. She is still careful to show them what she expects them to do on their own. The teacher also wants to model that when the children go to their groups, they will be working collaboratively. So she is interacting with them in the same way that she wants them to interact with each other.

Transition to Independent Practice: Why is this reflection about the modeling and guiding important?

  • The teacher wants to be sure that the children were aware of the processes she modeled, not just focused on the information about tsunamis. By calling attention to what she did – choosing multiple resources, using the text features to find information, putting information in her own words, and talking with the group – she helps them transfer these behaviors to their own research.

Collaborative/Independent Practice 1 and 2:

What do you notice about the teacher’s conferring with the students?

  • She continues to model and guide students to use the strategies and behaviors of researchers, including:
    • rereading to better understand,
    • connecting to personal experience,
    • revisiting the text to confirm information or identify misconceptions,
    • engaging in conversations and asking questions to deepen and consolidate understanding,
    • thinking through how to record information,
    • using text features to find appropriate information and to support comprehension,
    • noticing and using content-specific vocabulary (e.g., radar).
  • She reinforces these strategies as they are needed by the students, based on what the children are noticing in their texts.

What else did you learn from examining Student Work Samples?

  • Children have a variety of skills at recording their new learning through writing, but they are all finding facts and recording them. As discussed in the teacher commentary, even children usually reluctant to write are recording a lot of information.
  • There are some misconceptions surfacing through the notes (e.g., hurricane goes up to 74 miles or 119 miles). These present opportunities to revisit the text to clarify. (Actually this text says up to 74 mph or 119 kilometers).
  • There appears to be a range of understanding about how to paraphrase information and what information to include. (One of the benefits of an inquiry unit is that the students will have many more days of research to build these competencies as their content knowledge grows.)
  • Children seem to be developing an interest in the different types of severe weather by finding facts about them.

Sharing: What is accomplished in this sharing session?

  • The teacher reinforces the students’ roles as researchers by having them share information with each other. The teacher responds by talking about how interesting the information is, not by evaluating the students. This also sets the tone of collaborative investigation. And through the turn and talk at the end, all students have the opportunity to share their growing expertise.
  • The teacher continues to reinforce behaviors and strategies of readers of informational text (as she has been doing throughout the lesson) – e.g., “What can we do if we’re not sure instead of guessing?”

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?