Essay Organization Lesson Plan

Overview

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Children are naturally curious—they want to know "how" and "why." Teaching research skills can help students find answers for themselves. In this minilesson, students organize the information they have compiled through the research process by using sentence strips. Students first walk through the process using information on Beluga whales as a model. Students match facts written on sentence strips to one of four categories: appearance, behavior, habitat, and food. Sentence strips are color-coded to match each category. The sequence of notes (sentence strips) under each category are placed in an indented outline form, and regrouped so that similar facts are placed together. Next, the appropriate Roman numerals and letters are added to the outline. Finally, students use the same process to create outlines for the research topics they are working on.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

Teaching the process and application of research should be an ongoing part of all school curricula. It is important that research components are taught all through the year, beginning on the first day of school. Dreher et al. explain that "[S]tudents need to learn creative and multifaceted approaches to research and inquiry. The ability to identify good topics, to gather information, and to evaluate, assemble, and interpret findings from among the many general and specialized information sources now available to them is one of the most vital skills that students can acquire" (39). In her article "Rethinking Research," Eileen A. Simmons agrees: "We can't expect students to produce outstanding research papers unless we teach them strategies for gathering information, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating that information through critical thinking." (115)

Further Reading

Dreher, Jean, et al. 2000. Easy Steps to Writing Fantastic Research Reports (Grades 3-6). New York: Scholastic Professional Books.

 

Simmons, Eileen A. "Rethinking Research." English Journal 89.1 (September 1999): 114-117.

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