Trekking through the wilds of library instruction, management, and fun!

Feb 25, 2014

A Great Pet? Quick Research for Younger Students


One of the things I like about Common Core ELA Standards is the emphasis placed on quick research assignments! One of the things I struggled with in doing research projects was how long they could drag out. I love the idea that we get in, enjoy, and get out! It leaves us with a better attitude about research and encourages us to inquire again and again!

I wanted to share a lesson that my students enjoyed recently. It covers many AASL standards, and one day I'll attach the lesson plan so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Here's the nutshell version for now. My second graders worked in pairs to complete this assignment. Their topic was "Would a _____ make a great pet?"

1. With the students watching, I set out grade level non-fiction books about wild animals. The pairs of students quietly discussed which one they'd like to research. Then one member of each pair came up to get the book they needed and take it back to their partner.

2. They were given three index cards (old card catalog cards), to use for the following purposes.
  • Card 1: Names of students and a topic question (ex. Would a zebra make a great pet? by Mark and Malachi). They also noted the title and author of their source.
  • Card 2: "Pros" - They wrote a "+" at the top of this one.
  • Card 3: "Cons" - They wrote a "-" at the top of this one.
3. I modeled reading a sample book and stopping occasionally to see what I'd learned and to determine if it would be a pro or a con in deciding if this animal would make a great pet. I also modeled paraphrasing and using bullets to take notes on the cards.

4. Once students had taken adequate notes, they deliberated the answer to their question and then presented it to the class. 

This lesson could stand an infusion of technology, in both the selection of sources and the presentation of findings. I have a few ideas, but I'd love to read yours, too!

I'm always looking for fun research ideas, and I keep up with them on my Pinterest boards. Please consider checking them out and following any that might interest you.

Yours happily ever after,

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