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Research: Where to Find the Answers
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- Students will identify print and digital sources and successfully use them to find information.
- Explain to your students that they are going to research, or investigate, a question.
- On the board, create a class brainstorming list of all the resources that can be used to look up information. For example, students can use an encyclopedia, read books, and search for information online.
- Provide a student-friendly definition for the key term "research" in (L2) and/or in students' home language (L1).
- Show students examples of some of the resources that are brainstormed by the class (i.e., a physical encyclopedia and an online encyclopedia).
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(25 minutes)
- Explain to your students that when researching, there are two main categories of sources that people use to access information: print and digital. Explain that print sources have information that is found on paper, while digital sources have information that is found online or through an electronic device.
- Give an example of a family that gets lost while on a trip.
- Tell your students that the family could use a map, which is a print source, or a GPS device, which is a digital source.
- Read your class a short book from your school library about a specific breed of dog. For example, find a book on golden retrievers.
- Then, go online to the American Kennel Club website (see related media), and look up the same breed of dog.
- Help your students recognize the similarities and differences in the two sources, and discuss why they should use multiple sources when doing research.
- Provide a visual glossary with vocabulary that students might hear in the text (i.e., "loyal," "domestic").
- Use a graphic organizer, like a Venn diagram, to record similarities and differences between the print resource and digital resource.
Guided Practice(20 minutes)
- Ask your students to choose a state and and work with a partner to read about the state in a print source, such as a book about Florida.
- Have your students take notes on paper, and direct them to identify important pieces of information about the states, such as the events leading up to becoming part of the United States of America.
- Partner students intentionally so ELs may discuss in their home language or with more advanced learners.
- Provide an article about a state in place of a book, so that beginner ELs are working with shorter, more manageable texts. Encourage students to highlight key facts in the text as they read.
- Provide a graphic organizer for students to use as they conduct their research. Model how to use the organizer and provide sentence frames if needed (e.g., "The state of ____ is...").
- Provide a list of topics that students should focus on as they conduct their research (e.g., state flower, state capital, population).
Independent working time(20 minutes)
- Direct your students to access a computer or tablet. Have them search for their state online and select at least three articles to read and record important information.
- Ask your students to combine the information they found from both the print and digital sources. Make sure they have at least three facts from each.
- Have students read only one digital resource, rather than three.
- Allow ELs to use a glossary or dictionary in their home language for unfamiliar words.
- Give ELs extra time to complete the task.
- Allow students to continue using a graphic organizer to record the information they gather.
- Give your students specific websites to look for information and possible sentence starters to help guide their notetaking. For example, they can use the 50 States website (see related media).
- Have your students create either a print or digital brochure that has facts about the states they researched.
- In this lesson, your students will use computers or tablets to find information.
- Provide a specific website or online article that uses student-friendly language.
- Model or pre-teach students how to use search engines to find student-friendly websites, like kids' encyclopedias.
- Circulate the room, and make sure that your students are writing facts, not opinions, about their states.
- Meet with small groups of beginner ELs to review their research notes. Support them in focusing on facts by highlighting the facts they recorded in their notes.
- Ask students to verbally share examples of facts they found in their research.
- Provide sentence frames when you ask students to share their findings (i.e., "One fact I learned about the state of ____ is...").
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Write the following words on index cards: "book," "magazine," "map," "encyclopedia," "newspaper," "GPS," "computer," "tablet," and "internet." Write one word per card, and make four sets of these index cards.
- Divide your students into four groups, and give each group a set of cards.
- Designate the front of the room for print sources and the back of the room for digital sources.
- Have groups do a relay to get all of the index cards to the correct place.
- Check to make sure that all cards are in the correct place and discuss any misunderstandings.
- Include a visual on each card to help students identify the terms.
- Review the definition of the terms on each card before beginning the relay.
- Allow students to have two minutes of discussion time with their small groups before beginning the relay. Prompt students to discuss each term on the cards so that all students are familiar with the words before they begin.