In preparation for their trip, the fifth graders were given a booklet made by their teachers divided into sections representing the various farm topics they would be learning about. Prior to the speakers coming, the students and their teachers brainstormed possible questions to ask the speakers, farmers, and tour guides about the farm topics. The children were instructed to take notes during the speeches and after boarding the bus at the conclusion of each farm/business visit.
After the field trip, each student was placed in a small group. The small groups shared their notes and wrote more information in their booklets. Using their field trip booklets, each student wrote a paragraph on one of the topics. These paragraphs would later be compiled into a group farm story. Anything they were unsure of was cleared up after a lesson about searching the Internet was conducted.
The boys and girls were instructed to make sure their paragraphs had a topic sentence and 4-8 sentences supporting their topic.
After a rough draft of their paragraph was completed, the fifth graders revised and edited their paragraph in preparation of typing it on the computer using Google Docs. After a lesson on some keyboarding rules, the students completed their documents. Their paragraph was printed and then revised and edited by the student and their small group. Their language arts teacher was on hand to make suggestions and give reminders about indenting and other conventions.
Next, the students were taught how to correct errors in their paragraphs on the computer. The documents were shared digitally with their teacher via Google Docs. The teacher cut and pasted the paragraphs into one complete farm story from each group. These stories were shared digitally with the members of each group.
The groups met again to read their story, revise, and edit it. A title was decided upon. Two student editors from each group were chosen. They were responsible for making the final revisions and editing errors. The final story was shared via Google Docs with the teacher and the members of the group. The result was 11 farm stories ready to be published for the public to enjoy!