Nicole Prejna JAMES C BUSH Elementary SCHOOL, JOHNSBURG, IL
3rd Grade ELA : Unit #1 - Generational Stories, Favorites that are Retold, and Native American Unit : Lesson #3

Native American Research Project: Ready, Set, Research! (Lesson 3 of 8)

Objective: SWBAT read informational text, take and share brief notes within small groups, and sort them into provided categories.
Standards: RI.3.4 RI.3.7 W.3.7 W.3.8
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Welcome to My Lesson Video Narrative - 0 minutes

This is a series of Language Arts lessons that I run concurrently with a Native American literature week.  The students love researching tribes that they are reading about in folktales and other Native American literature.  Pairing informational text with literature is an awesome combination!  Please watch this short video to hear some of the highlights of this lesson.  Thank you!

2 Vocabulary & Note Taking Review - 15 minutes

I start out today's lesson by reading some of the student exit slips from yesterday's nonfiction text feature lesson.  The students love to hear their hard work come to life!  This is also a great reinforcement of the Common Core informational text feature objective.

We'll also review important vocabulary discussed yesterday.  It's important that I revisit this with my tribe for a short time each day to build to their background knowledge of the larger concepts we are covering both in  reading and Language Arts.  

Academic Vocabulary:

  • Non-fiction Text Features
  • Internet research/Digital sources
  • Shared research
  • Informative/Informational text
  • Research project process:  research, evaluate, relevant vs. irrelevant, sorting into categories, note-taking, planning, drafting, editing, revising, publishing

 Content Vocabulary:

  • Native American
  • Culture
  • Native American Cultural Areas of North America and the United States (refer to maps in lesson one)

I review note-taking with my students.  We revisit an anchor chart I've created about note-taking, and also do a couple of samples together on dry erase boards.  (See Resource File:  Note Taking Anchor Chart)  I model this by putting an informational text on my document camera.  

For my sample, I've chosen the Native American tribe Zuni, and the topic location.  I model looking at the table of contents to locate the information I need.  We read together, and then practice taking brief notes about the Zuni location.  I write on the Native American Note Taking page in the section below.

I refer back to the anchor chart checking to see that we are taking notes about the topic we've chosen, relevant information, and only writing a few words.  I discuss plagiarism with the class, explaining that we don't want to take all of the author's words, just a few important words that we'll turn into our own sentences later.

My tribe is ready to research and take notes on their own tribe and topic!  How exciting!

3 Research and Take Notes - 40 minutes

In the first lesson of the Native American Research Project, I had asked students which tribe they'd be interested in researching.  I've grouped students' desks together based on their choices, or the tribe I assigned them if they didn't choose one themselves.  It's important to have students researching the same tribes, or in the same Native American cultural area sit together to share information and resources, as this will help meet some of the speaking and listening standards.    

I pass out the Native American Note Taking Sheet, asking students to write their name and tribe at the top of their paper.  (See Resource File:  Native American Note Taking Sheet and Native American Note Taking Sheet Sample)  I tell the students that they are going to get to browse the books with their tribes, identify a topic they'd like to research about that tribe, and then raise their hand.  When they raise their hand, I review their topic, making sure there is enough textual support for them to research that particular tribe and topic. (See my reflection notes in this section.)  I encouraged students who have the same tribe to choose different topics, so we can have a good variety of things we'll learn about.

After all of the students choose a topic, I have them share within their small groups their tribe name and topic.  I explain that they are each researching a particular tribe and topic, however they are encouraged to collaborate with each other as they find information.

The students are now researching and taking notes.  I require my tribe to raise their hand after taking their first note so that I can check and make sure they're on the right track.  I monitor students to make sure they are reading, collaborating, and taking notes.

In addition to researching in the classroom, my tribe brought their research sheet to the computer lab to complete more note taking from digital sources.  

Our research will continue into tomorrow.

Choosing a Topic
Flexibility

When I first tried this part of the lesson out, I noticed that I had students choosing a topic to research before previewing their materials.  We quickly learned that wouldn't work.  Sometimes our resources didn't allow for a particular tribe's topic.  I found that having the students browse materials, raise their hand, and have the teacher check, they were then set up for success with enough materials to support their research.

4 Review and Celebrate Learning! - 5 minutes

I love to celebrate all accomplishments big and small.  Today, we put a lot of skills and new background knowledge to work as we dug into our first research project.  I'm very proud of my tribe and I let them know that!  We review our note taking anchor chart and discuss any questions or problems we had while researching today.  Some of my students thought the room should be quieter, so you'll see in my lesson tomorrow that we'll have "quiet" researching time, and "sharing" researching time.  

We celebrate by giving each other high tens (similar to high fives, just with two hands) all around.