Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Dog Gone Good Note Cards

Michelle Gowan
Liberty County Schools


Students research a dog breed and create at least three note cards detailing information obtained about the dog breed. This is the first of three lessons that are part of a unit called, "Dog Gone Paw-erful Writing and Presenting with PowerPoint."


The student uses multiple sources to locate information relevant to research questions (including electronic texts, experts, print resources).

The student separates collected information into useful components using a variety of techniques.

The student writes notes, outlines, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of sixth grade level or higher content from a variety of media.


-Five note cards per student
-Overhead projector, transparency, and overhead pen
-Access to research materials, media center, on the student's topic
-Computers with Internet access for students
-Notebook paper
-One rubber band for each student


1. Determine any district or school Internet access policy and secure any required permission forms from parents.
2. Conduct an orientation to Internet use and browsing prior to visiting the media center or lab.
3. Assign topics to students or allow them to select their own topics.
4. Sign up for a class trip to the media center for two class periods per class to conduct research.
5. Check the media center's collection of books and materials on dog breeds and become familiar with their general proximity and how they are noted in the card catalog. If possible, ask the media specialist to provide a brief orientation for students as to how to look up their topic and general areas students should check.
6. Determine any Internet use policies of the media center. In some schools students must have in their possession an Internet access card in order to use the media center computers for Internet research.
7. Decide the process by which students will derive a dog breed topic. It may be more efficient to generate a list of breeds but also allowing room for breeds students may know as well.
8. Decide if your students will need additional instruction or modeling of the the items taught today. Note that any additional instruction time will add to the length of the unit.
9. Collect enough note cards for each child to have 5. As students may make mistakes, it may be beneficial to have extras available.


Administer and assess the diagnostic assessment prior to beginning this lesson. (See Extensions for the unit link.)

1. Complete all the teacher preparation items first.

2. Ask students if they have a dog for a pet. Those who do, ask them if they know what the breed of their dog is. Allow students some discussion about different dog breeds that exist. Then, explain to students that they will be conducting research using the card catalog and the Internet to create a PowerPoint presentation on a dog breed. Students will then be expected to present their topics to the class at the conclusion of the unit.

3. Direct students to take out a piece of paper and pencil to copy information that will help them with their assignment. First, brainstorm on the overhead with students possible subtopics such as history of the breed, characteristics of the dog breed, the dogís physical description, purpose of breed (working, hunting, show, pet, etc.) (Do this as a guided activity to instruct how to accomplish LAB23161) Direct students to retain their copies of this list to use on library research days. Instruct students that they will need to select three subtopics from this list.

4. Using a blank transparency for each subtopic (which will be the second, third, and fourth pages of the slide show), create the format for each page that includes a heading box, text box, and image box. Complete each transparency page. Insert information on the model breed in each box and reinforce that students need a heading and graphic image on each page as well as the 2-3 sentences per page. (LA.A23761) Explain that the first and last pages will be completed later. Distribute and discuss the Dog Gone Powerful Writing with Power Point Presentation Rubric to explain how students' presentations will be assessed. Express any numeric grade associated with each rubric category. Also, at this time, inform students that they will be sharing their research and PowerPoint through a presentation which they will give in front of the class.

5. Let students know the assessment schedule so they understand when each assessment will take place.

6. Allow students time to sign up for a dog breed. Students may list their own or select from a predetermined list. If more than one student wants the same breed, help them diplomatically settle by picking a number, etc. It would be best if each student was assigned a different breed to insure more individual research.

7. Announce that on the following day that the class will be visiting the media center to conduct research. Students with library books due should bring them to class to return, recheck, etc. in accordance with media center policy. Often students cannot check out more than two books and students may have too many books checked out or overdue which thwarts their ability to check out a book on library research day. While in the library, students will be expected to take notes on three subtopics about their breed. The teacher should instruct the students that they will be researching multiple resources and should explain what these are, e.g., Internet, card catalog, magazines, trade books, etc. (LAA23662)

Days 2 and 3

1. Give out five index cards per student. Direct them to write on the back of each the following:
- Student name
- Call number of book or source as noted in the media centerís card catalog or URL
- Title of the source

2. Remind students any Internet source requires the URL noted. Explain and reinforce where to find the URL. Also, instruct students to record the URL of any photo they may wish to import into their Power Point slide show. This will save time on lab days.

3. Remind students that they must locate at least two different sources, e.g., book, magazine, journal, Internet source, etc. and that cards will be collected and evaluated on Days 4 and 8. Explain to students they must submit a minimum of three note cards as a result of library research activity on Days 2 and 3. The front of the note cards should contain a heading that reflects one of the subtopics generated from Day 1 activities. Note cards should also contain at least two relevant notations pertaining to the subtopic. Additionally, students will note the source information including card catalog number, URL, etc. to show evidence they were able to locate the information. Completion according to this criteria will earn the student a 100% score. Depending on the developmental level of your students, they may need additional instruction in this area. If they do, then the timeframe for the lesson and unit will change.

4. Post again the list of subtopics from the previous day. Direct students to take out their copies of this list from Day 1 to take with them to the library along with paper and pencil.

5. Announce a deadline for submission of note cards. It is suggested to make it two days from the library day in case students require more time due to lack of school resources so they may visit the public library or conduct Internet research at home, etc.

6. Proceed to the media center and, if desired, have the media specialist provide a brief orientation to the location of collections in the library and procedures for check out, use of Internet, etc. Make sure that students understand the value of locating multiple resources such as electronic texts, print materials, etc. (LAA23662)

7. Facilitate completion of research and note card development. Provide specific constructive feedback where possible such as "Good, you've gotten a magazine, book and Internet site on your dog breed. Those are all good sources." Also, "You've written all your notes on one card. That isn't really separating your information into a useful component. How could we divide this information up?"

8. Prior to cleaning up for the day, remind students that their notecards will be taken up on Day 4 and formatively assessed.

Day 4

(Note: Remind students that their note cards will be taken up at the end of the period and formatively assessed.)

1. Collect note cards from students and review for completion according to criteria set on Day 2. This should be conducted as a formative assessment at this point. Be prepared to return on Day 5 and mini conference with students requiring more assistance.

2. Ask students what is missing from the presentation. In other words, we have a "body" of an essay. What is needed now? Students should note there is no introduction or conclusion. Inform them that these will appear on the first and last slides of their presentations. The first and last slides should note the three subtopics in addition to a good topic sentence in the beginning paragraph and a good conclusion statement on Page 5. The teacher should model a good beginning and concluding paragraph, as well as how this will appear on the slide. Compare this to how a student would prepare an essay.

3. Using the remaining index cards given to them on Day 2, direct students to complete the cards for Pages 1 and 5 of their presentation.

4. Circulate around the classroom and work with students having difficulty completing the assignment. Provide positive, constructive feedback such as, "You know, that's a great book on your dog breed. I like the way you listed all the major points in a row so the reader can see them easily." Also, "I really would like to know more about your dog breed. What can you tell me about origin, usefulness, appearance (use as applicable)?"

5. With at least five minutes remaining, collect the index cards. Remind students to write their names and other important reference information (class period, etc.) on the back of each card.

6. Join the cards together with the three subtopic cards and rubber band each studentís cards together. Prior to Day 5's class, evaluate the index cards and make pertinent comments on them. Feedback should be given that will assist students in self-correcting their work.


Note cards should formatively assessed to be sure they contain a heading that reflects one of the subtopics generated from Day 1 activities. Note cards should also contain at least two relevant notations pertaining to the subtopic. Additionally, students will note the source information including card catalog. Feedback should be constructive and positive so students can learn from their work and make adjustments as necessary.

Notecards will be Summatively Assessed at the close of Day 7. See step 3 for criteria. See Extensions for the link to the Unit Plan which contains Assessment Instructions.


a. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, additional lesson plans, and other associated files (if any).
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