Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Information Shuffle

Carol Rine
Bay District Schools

Description

This is the fifth lesson in an expository writing unit. Students are set loose to explore, examine, and evaluate information for a research topic. Ultimately, students shuffle and physically sort their note cards into an organizational pattern for writing.

Objectives

The student refines previously learned knowledge and skills of the seventh grade with increasingly complex reading texts and assignments and tasks (for example, monitoring comprehension, modifying understanding, summarizing, using text structure for recal, analyzing information to create a report).

The student evaluates and uses information from a variety of sources when researching content area topics (including but not limited to primary sources).

The student compiles information using an organizer (for example, a spreadsheet).

The student compares and contrasts elements within or across texts.

The student records bibliographic information using a format such as source cards.

The student classifies and records information (for example, using note cards, data files).

Materials

{NOTE: Many of the handouts mentioned below are contained in the associated file for this lesson. They are available for downloading and printing.}

-Overhead display method such as dry erase board, overhead projector, or chart paper (NOTE: I use an overhead projector)
-Research Process Rubric--Make student copies of the mid-way self-assessment to serve as a diagnostic evaluation for the teacher and a self-diagnostic evaluation for the students (see extensions)
-Research Process Rubric--Make student copies of the final assessment to serve as a guide for students as they complete the research process (see extensions)
-Group assignments as designated earlier in the unit
-Reserve library time for the upcoming research sessions
-Secure the computer lab, if possible, for electronic research
- (Optional) Rather than using the library, ask the media specialists to pull and reserve materials for the research topics and bring them to the class on a cart
-Previous student notes and handouts from the lessons on: prewriting, narrowing the topic, conducting research, creating source cards, writing note cards, and using the source cards to create a Works Cited list.
-Sorting Your Sources transparency
-Student copies Sorting Your Sources
-Mini-lesson on evaluating sources in relation to the topic
-Report Checklist transparency
-Research Checklist transparency
-Student copies of Research Checklist
-Team Work Tools transparency
-Student copies of Team Work Tools

Preparations

Print and download the associated files for this lesson. Obtain the following:

-Overhead display method such as dry erase board, overhead projector, or chart paper (NOTE: I use an overhead projector)
-Research Process Rubric--Make student copies of the mid-way self-assessment to serve as a diagnostic evaluation for the teacher and a self-diagnostic evaluation for the students (see extensions)
-Research Process Rubric--Make student copies of the final assessment to serve as a guide for students as they complete the research process (see extensions)
-Group assignments as designated earlier in the unit
-Reserve library time for the upcoming research sessions
-Secure the computer lab, if possible, for electronic research
- (Optional) Rather than using the library, ask the media specialists to pull and reserve materials for the research topics and bring them to the class on a cart
-Previous student notes and handouts from the lessons on: prewriting, narrowing the topic, conducting research, creating source cards, writing note cards, and using the source cards to create a Works Cited list.
-Sorting Your Sources transparency
-Student copies Sorting Your Sources
-Mini-lesson on evaluating sources in relation to the topic
-Report Checklist transparency
-Research Checklist transparency
-Student copies of Research Checklist
-Team Work Tools transparency
-Student copies of Team Work Tools

Procedures

This is the fifth lesson in an online unit entitled INFO EXPO. This lesson contains minor instruction in evaluating sources followed by actual sessions in research. Following research, students physically sort and categorize note cards into an organizational pattern for writing. The unit, as a whole, teaches the art of expository writing. This lesson plan spans five sessions.

BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED BY STUDENTS:
WRITING-Students beginning this unit come prepared with a strong background in writing. In my own classroom, this unit follows a unit where students have explored the Creating Writers' six traits or qualities of good writing as specified by Florida state standards. Students are experienced with the writing process and publishing writing.

COOPERATIVE WORKERS--Students beginning this unit also come prepared with knowledge of cooperative working etiquette. In my own classroom, this unit falls in the later half of the school year. Therefore, students are quite used to managing their cooperative working tasks. During the early part of the year, many structured activities occurred to facilitate smooth group work. At this point, students use these skills well, and the teacher simply observes the groups in action. A Team Work Tools instrument is included in this lesson to manage the group work. The Tool emphasizes the cooperative working goals of Florida's Goal 3 Standard: Cooperative Workers, who work with other people with various backgrounds in an effective, productive manner. The teacher can modify this tool or use any preferable tools to guide the group work.

DAY ONE: THE ROAD TO RESEARCH

1) Review the learning from last lesson, Those Baffling Bibliographies, using source cards to create a Works Cited list.

2) Orient students to the current step--evaluating sources during research-- by questioning them as to what they know already.

3) Conduct a class discussion to review all of the learning accumulated from the previous sessions. Review prewriting, narrowing the topic, conducting research, creating source cards, writing note cards, and using the source cards to create a works cited list.

4) Transition conversation into the display of the Process Rubric mid-way assessment on the overhead projector.

5) Explain each of the categories in the rubric such as, reads and takes notes from sources. Explain to students that each category represents a skill they use in the research process. Next, alert the students to the different levels of learning for the rubric. Identify the difference between the levels of novice, apprentice, and craftsman. At this point, distribute the student copies of the rubric.

6) Ask students to follow along as you explain each category. At the same time, students place a check mark in the learner level where they feel they belong. Most of the students find they fall in the novice range.

7) After finishing all of the categories, ask students to reflect on where the majority of their responses fall. Explain to the students that this is a growth tool for the research process. They use this tool throughout the research to guide them in their growth. For example, a student who feels he/she is a novice in reads and takes notes from sources usually only reads and takes notes from sources without any rhyme or reason. As they begin the research process, they look at the upper level categories of apprentice and craftsman. The ultimate goal is for students to increase their sophistication in note taking. They look at the upper levels and the descriptions such as, reads from sources and takes notes in meaningful chunks, or reads from sources and records important information in own words. The student tries to move into a higher level of expertise within this skill.

8) On the second page of the Process Rubric, some students may score themselves as craftsman because the second page contains the writing process skills. This is normal due to previous training in writing process. Allude to this if necessary. Also, students are working through the research process in this lesson; they use the writing process during the next lesson. Therefore, this lesson formatively assesses only the first page of the Process Rubric.

9) Ask students to spend 5-10 minutes reflecting on expectations for improvement.

10) Next, display the transparency of the Process Rubric final assessment. Identify the difference in the two assessments. For example, the mid-way assessment explains the difference in the three levels of learning, novice, apprentice, and craftsman. The final assessment asks the students to record a checkmark again to identify the skill level, but it also asks for a rationale or proof that the students have reached this level of learning. For instance, using the same category, reads and takes notes from sources students must attach proof in the form of documentation such as a copy of your notes. If a student marked craftsman, the notes need to be written in the student's own words. Take this opportunity to remind students they keep all documentation collected during the research process. This assists them in completing the final assessment.

11) Collect the Process Rubric mid-way assessment from the students. Assure them they receive it back at the beginning of class tomorrow. Explain how the teacher collects them to make a formative assessment about the students. Note where students are in the learning process for research. This assessment tool helps the teacher form judgments about what areas might need further instruction or extension work through homework.

DAY TWO: SORTING SOURCES

1. Review the learning from last session--Process Rubric mid-way self-assessment. Remind students to continue using this tool to help them grow as researchers.

2. Orient students to the first step in the research process--choosing a topic. Remind students they have already worked in groups to choose a topic. Remind them they have also worked through the second step in the process to narrow their topic. Transition to the overhead display of the transparency Sorting Your Sources. This transparency describes questions students need to ask when evaluating a source. It also contains a checklist that students can use to determine if the source helps in creating the research paper.

3. Deliver a mini-lesson on evaluating sources. {NOTE: There are various methods used for evaluating sources. Depending upon what the teacher decides to emphasize, certain elements need to be contained in the lesson. For example, 1) current sources, 2) reliable sources, 3) objective authors, 4) supporting the topic, and 5) adding to the topic.

4. While working through the mini-lesson, require students to take notes on the important steps in evaluating sources. Ask students to save these notes, as they need them for tomorrow's session.

5. Review the steps through class discussion.

6. Display the Research Checklist- transparency. Distribute student copies.

7. Ask the students to review the checklist briefly. Ask them to decide which part of the checklist they have completed. Students respond by identifying the CHOOSE A SUBJECT section and the NARROW SUBJECT TO A MANAGEABLE TOPIC section.
8. Review each of the steps from the checklist section by section, and explain to students that this session and the next few sessions are described as CONDUCT RESEARCH, CREATE SOURCE CARDS, CREATE NOTE CARDS, and SHUFFLE NOTE CARDS. Describe steps for the students.

9. Ask students if they have any questions. Transition to the overhead display of the Team Work Tool.

10. Distribute student copies of the tool. Remind students they have worked in groups many times before. This is NOT new to them. Explain how the teacher uses the tool. The teacher observes groups during the research process. Groups receive a check mark indicating whether they are working At or Above Average OR Below Average. Observe groups that receive a Below Average mark closely. Make a notation as to the area where the students are faltering. Suggest a refocusing goal and conference with the group as soon as possible to redirect their efforts. {NOTE: Students in my classroom have seen this form many times, and they begin to recall the expectations themselves when working in the groups.}

11. Ask students if there are any questions or concerns. If there are, address them. If not proceed with the next step.

12. Ask students to return to their groups.

13. Ask students to choose one student to record the topic on a sheet of notebook paper. After recording their topics, ask groups to recall their narrow topic. List it on the notebook paper under the broad topic. Next, ask students to discuss everything they already know about the topic without having conducted any research at all. Students take turns recording their knowledge in the form of a cluster or word map circulating around the narrow topic. Students are familiar with these organizers.

14. After about 5 minutes, ask students to create at least four major questions. Later, these questions become statements about their topic. Show students an example such as, about the Hubble Space Telescope.Students might ask why put a telescope into space? The question is then turned into a statement broad enough to research and to translate into a paragraph for the research paper. For example, the question becomes, Hubble was placed in space far above Earth's atmosphere because the atmosphere interfered with the ability to observe distant objects.

15. To break it down further for the kids, compare the questioning process to a blind date. Tell students to imagine the topic as a blind date. Typically, you are going to ask a ton of questions about a blind date because you want to find out about them. Tell students to do the same with their topic. Each student generates a question that is deep enough to merit exploration as well as deserve one full paragraph of the paper. Students need to know up front that the question they decide to research is eventually translated into sentences that comprise the paragraph they write for the paper. For example, if the group has four students, the group writes the introduction together. The body of the paper contains four points, meaning four major paragraphs, exposing their information. The group also works together to write the conclusion.
16. Let students continue to brainstorm their questions. Explain that some questions may change or evolve as the students delve into the research process. This is all right. The ultimate goal is to write a strong paper. If time runs out during brainstorming, allow students to use the beginning of tomorrow's session.

17. Conclude session with a review. Clarify misconceptions and any questions that might arise. Advise students to bring research tools for tomorrow's session in the library. Students bring their notes from previous lessons. Students bring the Report Checklist, Sample Source Card, and Sample Note Card to aid them in their research. Decide at this point how to handle the cards. Will you provide for the students? If not, they should be told to purchase them fairly early in the unit.

DAY THREE: FROM RESEARCH TO WRITING

1) Review learning from yesterday's session -- evaluating sources. Define the day's goal for research. Students spend this session choosing a format for their expository writing. Students analyze their narrow topic and work with the group to choose the format for their writing. The instruction for the various formats of expository writing takes place in an earlier lesson entitled Fact or Fiction--What Is Expository Writing? In that lesson, students explore comparison/ contrast, sequencing, cause/effect, description, and problem/solution.

2) Students then use library time to begin the research process. These first efforts examine their question for research. Then, students seek out sources to expound upon the information. Students follow guidelines set out in the Report Checklist that dictate the number and kind of sources required in the paper. The Report Checklist was distributed in the lesson entitled Information Sensation.With four different criteria required for the sources, teacher OR students may decide to divide the kinds of sources for the paper among students. For example, one student might be responsible for finding their information from the electronic source, one from the book, etc. With this method, students be aware that they must be secure in using all the sources since they write the paper individually next time. At that point, they are accountable for using a variety of sources when writing the paper individually.

3) Ask students to bring their notes and their Report Checklist, Sample Source Card, and Sample Note Card to the library.

4) Travel to the library. Distribute 3x5 index cards to students or ask them to use some they have brought from home.

5) ASSIGNMENT: Ask students to return to their groups. Ask members of the group to quickly review their topic, work together to decide on a form of exposition, and then begin searching for sources. Students use the Sorting Your Sources checklist to evaluate their sources AS A GROUP. The checklist allows room for evaluation of each source card. Students are evaluating for the following criteria: 1) current sources, 2) reliable sources, 3) objective authors, 4) supporting the topic, and 5) adding to the topic. Students are encouraged to have at least seven notecards.

6) At this time, walk around monitoring the groups. Use the Team Work Tools device and record relevant information to refocus groups encountering problems. Offer plenty of encouragement to groups that are working well. {NOTE: The Team Work Tools tracking device is a formative assessment for the Goal 3 Standard--Cooperative Workers. It is not summatively assessed in this unit.}

7) At this point, the teacher checks for understanding. If any group makes an incorrect assumption, then the teacher clarifies any misconceptions. Conference with individual members of groups and decide if students are working with their samples to create accurate source cards. If there is a group that is struggling work with them individually OR refer them to another group for help. Stronger groups act as expert groups.

8) At the conclusion of the research session, ask students to submit their source cards and their checklists for Sorting Your Sources. If the sources are divided among students as mentioned before, they submit one checklist for the group. However, emphasize that all group members are responsible for evaluating the sources, as they are working on their own during the final phase of the unit.

9) Return to class. Conclude class with a review of the learning achieved during the lesson. Answer questions groups or individuals have regarding the research process.

10) Review the source cards collected from students. Check that they are following the required criteria established in the Sample Source Card. The criteria are: broad topic, narrow topic, title, author, publisher, date of publication, copyright, page numbers, etc. If some students are struggling with the concepts, provide them with further practice for homework OR conference with them during the next research session. Continue multi-level instruction.

DAY FOUR: FROM RESEARCH TO WRITING

1) Review learning from yesterday's session--research and creating sources. Define the day's goal for research. Students spend this session gathering notes. Students analyze their source cards and use them to gather notes. Students write notes using the Sample Note Card format. This format allows quick checks by the teacher, and it contains a self-check for the student. This format was distributed in No Plagiarism, Please!

2) Students use library time to continue the research process. Emphasize finding answers to their research questions. Students use sources identified in yesterday's session to answer their research question. Students follow methods for paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism as described in a previous lesson No Plagiarism, Please! Students answer their question with several statements. These statements are used to write their section of the paper. Their previous training in the writing process defined a paragraph as having at last three points to support the main ideas for the paragraph. With this requirement, students must create, at the minimum, seven note cards. This is a good place to suggest the more note cards to choose from, the better the report is. It allows the opportunity to choose fantastic information over average information.

3) Travel to the library. Return source cards to students. When groups are working, conference individual students that need help with their source cards.

4) ASSIGNMENT: Ask students to return to their groups. Ask members of the group to review (quickly) their source cards. Determine if all four types of sources are tapped as required by the Report Checklist. If source requirements are covered, students begin gathering notes using the translate the question into statements method described during session two. At this time, walk around monitoring the groups. Use the Team Work Tools device and record relevant information to refocus groups encountering problems. Offer plenty of encouragement to effective groups.

5) At this point, check for understanding. Conference with individual members of groups and decide if students are using their samples to create accurate note cards. If there is a group that is struggling, work with them individually OR refer them to another group for help. Stronger groups act as your expert groups.

6) At the conclusion of the research session, ask students to submit their note cards. Advise students that you are checking for understanding.

7) Return to class. Conclude class with a review. Answer questions groups or individuals have regarding the research.

8) Review the note cards collected from students. Check that they are following the required criteria for the Sample Note Card. The criteria are broad topic, narrow topic, source card number, and paraphrased notes. If some students are struggling, provide them with further practice for homework or conference with them during the next research session. Continue providing multi-level instruction.

DAY FIVE: FROM RESEARCH TO WRITING

1) Review learning from yesterday's session--research and gathering notes. Define the day's goal for organizing the research. Students spend this session organizing their note cards. Students classify, group, sort, rank, and categorize their note cards as if this is a prewriting session for the paper. Return note cards to students. Let groups begin the assignment. While they are working, conference individual students that need help with their note cards.

2) ASSIGNMENT: Students work in their groups in the classroom. Sitting at tables or even pulling their desks together, students present their note cards to the group and review the accumulated information. Students use this as a hands-on session to physically sort through the cards grouping similar ideas. Students should get rid of the obvious, too well known facts, keeping strong information and discarding irrelevant information. This is a good place to reaffirm--the more note cards to choose from, the better the report will be. It allows the opportunity to choose fantastic information over average information. Students place the cards on the table to represent the body of the paper. Advanced groups can even begin deciding which card is the lead, which card is the conclusion. Manipulation of the cards and dialogue may take the entire period.

3) Check for understanding. Walk around monitoring the groups. Use the Team Work Tools device and record relevant information to refocus groups encountering problems. Offer plenty of encouragement to effective groups. If there is a group struggles, work with them individually OR refer them to another expert group for help.

4) After the organization session, ask students to submit the note cards their group has chosen to include in the paper. Advise students that you are checking for a clear idea and supporting details. Encourage students to indicate lead, conclusion, and body on the cards if they are ready.

5) Before concluding the lesson, ask students to take out their Process Rubric self-assessments and reflect on their growth. Students take 5-10 minutes to review the categories and learning levels to decide if they have made any growth. Conduct a class discussion based on any changes students are seeing in their status as researcher.

6) Conclude class with a review of the learning achieved during the lesson. Answer questions groups or individuals have regarding the research. Direct students to come to class tomorrow prepared to begin the writing for the paper.

7) Review the note cards collected from students. Check that the cards display some form of beginning organization for the report. If group is struggling with the concept, provide them with further practice for homework or conference with them during the next research session. Continue providing direction through differentiation of instruction.

Assessments

For this activity, formatively assess the following items: the source cards, Sorting Your Sources checklist, note cards, shuffled note cards, and group work. Look for the criteria explained below.

a) Source cards: Using the Sample Source Card format measure broad topic, narrow topic, title, author, publisher, date of publication, copyright, page numbers, etc.

b) Sorting Your Sources checklist: Using the checklist, measure current sources, reliable sources, objective authors, supporting the topic, and adding to the topic.

c) Note cards: Using the Sample Note Card format measure broad topic, narrow topic, source card number, and paraphrased notes.

d) Shuffled note cards: Check for a clear main idea prevalent among the supporting details of the cards.

e) Group work: Using the Team Work Tools handout, measure effective research, use of class time, organization, individual contributions, team work, and dialogue.

See the unit, Info Expo for summative assessments. (See Extensions)

Extensions

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: http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/search/details.asp?item=2964. 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, and other associated files (if any).

B) For homework, students can use the expository writing format organizer from lesson one that corresponds to the expository writing format they have chosen to use for their paper. Have each student complete the organizer and bring it back the following day to compare with members of the group.

C) To integrate the subject areas with this lesson, work with a teacher in the science or social studies area and supplement their units by focusing the research of this lesson to their needs.

D) Finally, there are interactive student-oriented Web lessons that complement this unit. See Weblinks for a link to the unit plan Info Expo.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.