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This is an excellent 12-day lesson on conducting research for expository papers

Subjects:

Computers & Internet, Language Arts  

Grades:

4, 5, 6  

Title – Conducting Research to Write an Expository Paper on Survival
By – Ashley Skelton
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Computers / Internet
Grade Level – 4-6 

Note from LessonPlansPage.com: This research lesson relies heavily on DISCUS – South Carolina’s Virtual Library which provides thousands of magazines, newspapers, and reference books online. Unfortunately, in order to access DISCUS, you need to get the password from a librarian in South Carolina. If you do not live in South Carolina, we suggest that you take this lesson plan to your school or community librarian for comparable on-line or “old school” library resource suggestions.


Day 1: Focus – Expository Writing and Brainstorming a Topic

      1. The teacher will begin the lesson by having the students brainstorm how to write an expository writing. The teacher will help guide the students’ discussion. The students should know that an expository writing is written to explain.

 

      2. The students will use prior knowledge and discussions about their literacy circle novels to brainstorm different topics. The students’ topics should relate to events in their literacy circle novels. The teacher will mention possible expository topics such as “How to survive a bear attack,” and “How to survive in the woods for 10 days.”

 

      3. The students will have about 15-20 minutes to brainstorm.

 

      4. The students will then meet together as a class to discuss possible topics relating to each of the literacy circle novels.

 

      5. Once the students have brainstormed, the students will choose a topic they would like to use to write their expository writing. The students are not limited to a topic their group discussed. The students may choose a topic that has not been discussed.

 

    6. The students will narrow down their topic and determine a topic before the next day.

Day 2: Focus – How to Conduct Research

      1. The students will come to class with a research topic and a pencil.

 

      2. The teacher will go over proper care of the laptops before passing them out to the students.

 

      3. The teacher will pass out the students’ laptops. The students are assigned a laptop based on alphabetical order and the numbers on the laptops. The students will use the same laptop everyday to conduct research.

 

      4. A student helper will pass out a pink, yellow, and green note card to every student. The note cards already have the students’ names written on them.

 

      5. The students will sit quietly with their materials. The students will not turn on the laptops.

 

      6. Once everyone has a laptop, the teacher will turn on the Promethean Board to show the students the Internet website and library card catalog they will be using to find a magazine, book, and Internet source.

 

      7. First, the teacher will show the students how to search for a book in the school library using the library card catalog. The teacher will choose a topic to research and stick to the same topic throughout the day.

 

      8. The teacher will show the students where to find the call number and explain that they need the call number to find the book in the library. The teacher will search for a useful book to show the students where to find important publication information needed to cite the source at the end of their expository writing. The students will write down helpful information on their yellow note card.

 

      9. The teacher will then use

www.scdiscus.org

      to model how to find a magazine source. The students will be instructed to use Kids InfoBits or Junior Edition to find their magazine source.

 

      10. The teacher will model how to search for a certain topic on Kids InfoBits using the search tool bar at the top of the webpage. After a search has been conducted, the teacher will show the students how to narrow the search to view only magazine articles about a certain topic. The teacher will also show the students where to find important publication information needed to cite the source at the end of their expository writing. The students will write down any helpful notes on their pink note card.

 

      11. The teacher will also model how to search for a certain topic on Junior Edition. The teacher will show the students how to search using the search tool bar. The students are able to narrow the search to only magazine articles before conducting the search. The teacher will model how to search for a particular topic. The teacher will also show the students where to find important publication information needed to cite the source at the end of their expository writing. The students will write down any helpful notes on their pink note card.

 

      12. The teacher will then use

www.scdiscus.org

      to model how to find an Internet source. The students will be instructed to use Encyclopedia Americana or Grolier Online to conduct research. The teacher will explain that these two sources are encyclopedia’s published on the Internet.

 

      13. The teacher will model how to search for a particular topic on both of these Internet websites. The websites are similar and both have a search tool bar at the top of the webpage. The teacher will model how to use the search tool bar to find sources about a particular topic. The teacher will also show the students where to find important publication information needed to cite the source at the end of their expository writing. The students will write down any helpful notes on their green note card.

 

      14. The students will ask any questions they have about conducting research.

 

      15. The students will then turn on their computers and use the library card catalog to first find a book available in the library. The students will write down the call number and other important publication information. The students will use the call number to find the book in the library on the next day.

 

      16. After the students have found a book source, they will use the internet to search for other helpful information in magazines and on the internet using

www.scdiscus.org

      . The students will not be asked to print out any sources or take any notes on articles, books, or Internet websites. They are just exploring and learning how to use and navigate the websites. The teacher will also tell the students that they may need to change their topic if they are not able to find appropriate information to write an expository paper.

 

      17. At the end of class, the students will turn in their laptops in alphabetical order. The teacher will put the laptops in the storage cart.

 

    18. The students will put their note cards in their writing folders.

Day 3: Focus – Book Source

      1. The students will get out their writing folders. The students will get their yellow note card. The teacher will walk the students to the library.

 

      2. The students will check out one or two books about their research topic.

 

      3. The students will return to the classroom and use their books to take notes on their yellow note cards. The students should have at least five tips relating to their topic. The teacher will display on the Promethean Board the important publication information the students need to correctly cite their book source.

 

      4. The teacher will walk around the room and answer any questions the students might have while they are in the library and in the classroom.

 

    5. At the end of class, the students will put their note cards back in their writing folders.

Day 4: Focus – Magazine Source

      1. The teacher will pass out the laptops in alphabetical order while students get out their writing folders. The students will not turn on their laptops.

 

      2. After all of the laptops have been passed out, the teacher will turn on the Promethean Board and briefly model how to find a magazine source using

www.scdiscus.org

      to search the archives at both Kids InfoBits and Junior Edition. The teacher will also model how to print the article. The teacher will remind the students to look for tips in the magazine articles that can be included in their expository writing.

 

      3. The teacher will then display on the Promethean Board the important publication information the students need to correctly cite the source.

 

      4. The students will work individually to conduct research on their topic. They will find at least one appropriate magazine article relating to their research topic.

 

      5. The students will turn in their laptops when they are finished researching.

 

      6. The students will then use a highlighter to highlight important information relating to their topic. The students will highlight information they think they might include in their expository writing. The students will write the publication information for their magazine article on their pink note card.

 

      7. The teacher will walk around the room to monitor students’ progress. The teacher will also answer the students’ questions.

 

    8. At the end of class, the students will have all turned in their laptops and will put their note cards and any magazine articles they have printed in their writing folders.

Day 5: Focus – Internet Source

      1. The teacher will pass out the laptops in alphabetical order while students get out their writing folders. The students will not turn on their laptops.

 

      2. After all of the laptops have been passed out, the teacher will turn on the Promethean Board and briefly model how to find an Internet source using

www.scdiscus.org

      to search the archives at both Encyclopedia Americana and Grolier Online. The teacher will also model how to print the source. The teacher will remind the students to look for tips in the Internet source that can be included in their expository writing.

 

      3. The teacher will then display on the Promethean Board the important publication information the students need to correctly cite the source.

 

      4. The students will work individually to conduct research on their topic. They will find at least one appropriate Internet source relating to their research topic.

 

      5. The students will turn in their laptops when they are finished researching.

 

      6. The students will then use a highlighter to highlight important information relating to their topic. The students will highlight information they think they might include in their expository writing. The students will write the publication information on the green note card.

 

      7. The teacher will walk around the room to monitor students’ progress. The teacher will also answer the students’ questions.

 

    8. At the end of class, the students will have all turned in their laptops and will put their note cards and any Internet sources they have printed in their writing folders.

Day 6 – 12: Focus – Using Research to Write an Expository Paper

      1. The students will get their writing folders and all of the information they have printed. The teacher will model how to use the information found through research to write an expository paper.

 

      2. The teacher will use the Promethean Board to display a flow chart. The teacher and the students will work together using the flow chart to verbally rehearse an expository writing.

 

      3. The students will then use a flow chart to add information based on their topics. The students will show the teacher their completed flow charts before beginning to write their rough drafts. The teacher will read the flow chart and make suggestions. Then the students will begin writing their rough drafts. The students will skip lines to allow for easy and neat editing and revising.

 

      4. The students will edit their rough drafts for errors and add any sparkle words. The students will add and change words to improve their writing. For example, a student might change “good” to “excellent.” The students will use a colored pencil to edit their papers.

 

      5. After the students have edited and revised their paper, the students will have a peer edit and revise their paper. The students will work together to look at both of their papers and make positive suggestions.

 

      6. The student will make any necessary changes in spelling and grammar before the teacher reads the rough draft.

 

      7. The teacher will read the students’ papers and make any additional suggestions. The teacher will also edit the students’ papers for spelling and grammar errors.

 

      8. After the students have made all changes and corrections to their rough drafts, the students will begin writing their final drafts.

 

      9. The students will write their final drafts on plain white unlined computer paper.

 

      10. Once the students finish their rough drafts, they will use the teacher’s template for citing sources. The students will write their bibliography at the end of their expository writing. If a student has a question about where to find publication information, the teacher or another student will help the student find the correct information.

 

      11. Once the students are finished, the students will use the writing rubric to grade themselves. The students will reread over their expository writing to grade themselves on content and development, organization, voice, conventions, and handwriting.

 

    12. The students will turn in the final copy of their expository writing and the writing rubric stapled together. The students will also staple together all three note cards, any material printed off the Internet, flow chart, and rough draft.

Assessments:

    The teacher will assess the students according to the attached rubric. The students will be given a daily grade for the individual writing and research grades. The average of the writing and research grades will count as a test grade. The teacher will also conference with the students about their writing grade and the grade they have given themselves using the same rubric if there is a large discrepancy in the grades.

Adaptations:

    The pace of the lesson will be adjusted as needed. The students may need longer to successfully write a research paper based on their topics. The students will work at different paces. The teacher will walk around the room during the days when the students are writing to ensure that the students are all on task. Students who have special needs may have the information scribed for them on the note cards. The students may also type their expository papers if necessary. If a student finishes early they will write in their writing journals.

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