Overview: Young writers learn how to create a plan for their report and research strategy using a graphic organizer.
Subject: English Language Arts: Writing, 21st Century Skills; Research Process
Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th
Duration: 45 minutes (of a longer research project period of time)
Interdisciplinary Opportunities: Social Studies, Science, Literature, Music, Math
Students will be able to:
- Create a draft outline as the basis for an ongoing research/book report.
Essential Questions: How can I get started on my research report?
Vocabulary: draft, outline, research, brainstorm, structure, sources, evidence
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Writing
- W.3.2, 5, 6, 7, 10
- W.4.2, 5, 6, 7, 10
- W.5.2, 5, 6, 7, 10
- Paper and pencils
- Projection system
- Internet access
- Student computers
- Printer (optional)
Start the class with the following writing prompt: "What can you do when you want to learn more about something?"
Explain that the class will be starting research projects. This project will take several weeks and require lot of planning. Today will help students with the planning process. Creating a plan for your research paper helps to stay on topic and really focus on what's important for the central theme.
Use Research Writing - An Introduction for 4th Grade to help the class understand the basics of report writing. Focus on the basics of creating an outline found on slides 1-8. Slides 9-10 discuss plagiarism; touch on this topic as needed. The remainder of the slides should be introduced in subsequent lessons through the research report.
Use An Outline of My Report as the main reference point. Create a sample outline for the master report. Select a topic relevant to the research report at hand (e.g. parts of a cell, Virginia, George Washington, Battle of Gettysburg, elephants, etc.).
Walk through the questioning strategy demonstrated in the PowerPoint for the sample topic. Write each question down, show how to turn the questions into main idea statements (e.g. "Where did the Battle of Gettysburg take place?" could become "Central Facts about Gettysburg"). Explain that this is the main goal for today: creating a topic, generating three important questions, and turning them into main idea statements. This will guide students as they begin the researching and writing process.
Invite students to select their topics OR assign students their topics. Once topics are locked in, students should work independently to generate three questions. With a partner, students should share their topic and three questions. Partners should critique each others questions and offer suggestions to make the report more effective.
Students should pass in their draft outlines for teacher feedback.
- Assess students on the relevance of their questions to their central topic and relevance to the purpose of the research report generally, as assigned by the teacher.
Provide small group instruction as needed.
Encourage advanced learners to continue the research process, or to start the process again with a new topic.
Frontload relevant academic vocabulary for English learners and struggling readers.
Students can use the basics of this research drafting process for future reports.
Students can continue their current research report, using An Outline of My Report to guide them.
Reports could progress toward a full research paper, interactive display, PowerPoint presentation or other alternative report format.