Friday, February 14, 2014

Winter Olympics ~ Country Research Project

Country Research Journals

Researching skills are difficult enough to teach in elementary school, not to mention teaching these skills to a group of 5 and 6 year olds. I have decided to seize the opportunity of the Winter Olympics and use them to take on two of the more difficult Common Core State Standards of researching.

The two standards that I am focusing on with my country research journals are:

1.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.7: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

2.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.8: With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

The students who are in my top two reading groups will be taking a break from guided reading. Instead, they will be the country captains of nine different countries participating in the Winter Olympics. They will be spend their guided reading time researching ten questions  about their assigned country. The students will also have three weeks to finish their journals at home with their parents. The students are also paired with one or two other students to share their research information with. The other students in the group will have an Olympic journal to help keep track of all the medals that their country has won.

10 researching questions

1. What is the capital of your country?
2. What is the population of your country?
3. What are some foods native to your country?
4. Who is the president of your country?
5. What is one interesting fact you have found while researching thus far?
6. What language does your country speak?
7. What type of currency does your country use?
8. What are some traditions your country follows?
9. Where is your country located?
10. Reflect on all your research. What was the most interesting thing you have learned about your country?

My research journals are designed for kindergarten (with lots of adult help) but could easily be used up to third grade. Each page has one research question and specific content to help facilitate the research question. The bottom of each page has a section where the students are to circle the means of their research. They have the options of: “Book”, “Library”, “Internet”, “Asked Adult” and a space to write in a different response.

The students will also hold mini presentations on their countries. They will show the other students their journals and present the information that found for the above questions. 

Watching The Olympics Live
These nine students are also paired with one or two other students from the class to share their research. The other students who are not completing research journals will be keeping track of the medals won while watching the Olympics.

My classroom is exploding with country pride. We have a bulletin board where we are graphing the medals each morning, flags representing our countries hanging in the hallway, and Russian flags  with the Sochi Olympic Mascots.

Country Flag Banners:

Outline of flags printed on construction paper Part of my Winter Olympic Pack
Watercolor paints

I gave the students smocks to wear since sharpies are permanent. I had the students trace the outline of the flags with sharpie to strengthen their fine motor skills and handwriting abilities. This will also help keep the ink from bleeding with the watercolors. The students then painted the flags from examples I have made. Once the flags were completed I punched two holes and strung them with yarn to hang in our hallway.

Medal Bulletin Board

We have been graphing the medals won from our 9 countries we are researching, as well as, the United States on our hallway bulletin board. All the resources for this Bulletin Board Set can be found In my Winter Olympic Pack


  1. Wow! I´m so glad to see my country included! Greetings from Finland!

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