Lesson: Define Research as a Writing Style

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to form a working definition of research writing through the study of student examples.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk throughout the lesson to this partner.  Writers, today we will begin a new unit.  I was so impressed during our publishing celebration when you read your personal narratives.  Your personal narratives were based on your life experiences and were nonfiction.  The unit we are starting, research writing is a very different form of nonfiction based on facts.  I am excited to being calling you researchers and not only writers. First, we must notice characteristics of research writing to make sure we understand what our finished piece will look like.

Teach/Active Engagement (10-12 mins): Teacher places a copy of a sample research paper on the overhead (included in documents).  Teacher also gives students an example of a personal narrative they have recently completed during Writer’s Workshop (included in documents). 

Each of you have a personal narrative in front of you and I know we are all master personal narrative writers.  What do you notice that is different about the piece on the overhead now?  Turn and tell your partner what you notice just by looking at the writing.  Students should turn and talk.  Teacher calls on partnerships to share their responses and charts those responses on chart paper.  

Teacher reads aloud sample research paper.  What did you notice about the type of information in this paper?  Turn and tell your partner.  Students should turn and discuss what they notice.  Students should notice that the sample paper has topic sentences, only contains facts, is used to inform the reader, and contains paragraphs with different information.  Teacher should call on partnerships and chart their responses.

You all noticed some great characteristics of research writing.  To complete this type of writing you must find and organize facts about a topic in order to teach others about that topic.  We will bring this process tomorrow.

When you return to your seats each group will have two sample research papers.  As a group you will read these research reports and continue to add characteristics that you notice.  By the end of the lesson each group should be able to present one thing they noticed about this style of writing.  You may return to your seats.   

Workshop Time (15-20 mins): Students work in groups to read sample essays.  They should be focused on noticing different characteristics of this style of writing.  Teacher should circulate during this time to answer questions and facilitate group discussions. 

Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins):  Each group should have a chance to share out their findings.  During this time the teacher can evaluate students’ level of understanding based on further questions of their findings. 

Reflection: As this is the first lesson in the unit, a formal exit slip is not necessary.  This lesson is helpful in building conceptual knowledge around the writing process.  I find writing units are much more successful if students begin the lesson with a clear idea of their finished piece.  This lesson serves that purpose. 

Lesson Resources

Personal Narrative Sample   Exemplar
Research Paper Sample  


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