Lesson: Citing Sources

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Lesson Objective

Students will learn to organize information for a research paper based on sources. They will cite sources using a graphic organizer.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk with this partner.  Researchers, we have already laid the foundation for our research papers.  Yesterday, you were able to list three questions to help you focus your research.  However, the information that we find in books or articles is not our own thinking.  We take ideas and facts from others to support our own findings.  In order for this to be successful we must cite our sources.  Today, we will learn about this process in great detail.

Teach/Active Engagement (10-12 mins):  Sources are places where we find information.  For example, the Internet or a book about a certain topic can be a source.  These are examples of sources because we use this information to learn more about a topic.  However, this is not information that we already knew, we had to learn facts from our source.  Therefore, we can’t use that information without giving credit to the people who published and wrote the book.  We must cite our sources when researching a topic to make sure we don’t take credit for information we didn’t write.

Teacher places a graphic organizer on the overhead (attached as a document).  Yesterday we came up with questions to guide our research. The first step in using this graphic organizer to help us is to write our questions on the paper.  Watch me as I fill in the questions about Abraham Lincoln I created yesterday.  Teacher writes questions about a topic in the graphic organizer.

Now that I have my questions organized, I can begin looking for answers these questions.  My first step is to gather resources.  I visited our library yesterday and was able to pick up three different books about Abraham Lincoln.  I think these books will be very helpful in answering my questions.  I’m going to show you how to record the important information from this book so that we can cite it later.

The first information that I need is the title and author of the book.  I will write the title and author on my graphic organizer.  Notice I am skipping a step because I haven’t done my research yet.  Today, you will just practice finding the information to cite a source, you will not actually begin your research.  You will use this graphic organizer later in the unit.  I also need to find the publisher, city of publishing, and year of publishing.  This information is normally found on the first page of the book.  Teacher opens up book and places on overhead/document reader for students to see.  Teacher walks through steps of finding the publisher, city, and year (each book is different and will require a different conversation based on the book selected by the teacher).

Did you see how I was able to locate that important information.  Each book is different, so sometimes you may have to search to find the information you need.  Now it’s your turn to try.  Teacher hands out a book to each partnership on the carpet.  With your partner look through your book and try to find the title, author, publisher, city, and date.  One you found those pieces of information, raise your hand I will check your findings.  Students should discuss with partner and have teacher check.

You all did a great job.  This is practice for when you begin your own research.  Researches must make sure they are always using all the knowledge they have learn new information.  When you return to your seats you will complete the same exercise but with different books.  Remember the information is not always located in the same place.  As you return to your seats I will give you a note card.  Make sure you write your name and date as well as all the information you need to find (title, author, publisher, city, date).  You may return to your seats.

Workshop Time (15-20 mins): Students return to their seats.  Each group is given multiple copies of the same book (I use Houghton Miflin guided reading books because we have a lot in our book room at school).  Each student is responsible for writing a citation for the book on a note card.  Students can then check with their partners or group mates to make sure they have the same information.  I continue with this pattern until each group has had a chance to cite each book. 

Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins):  At the end of the lesson, the note cards are collected.  I use this information to ensure all students were able to properly cite the books.  This is the stepping stone for students to cite their own books later in the unit.

Reflection: I have found this lesson to be very difficult for students.  They are unfamiliar with sources and locating the information to correctly cite a book is difficult.  However, the lesson provides several opportunities to practice the skill and students will use this skill later in the unit.  I allowed students to work in groups to ensure each student was successful but if students are more familiar with citing resources, the work could be completed independently. 

Lesson Resources

Research Sources  


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