In order to draw students into the lesson, I like using videos as motivational hooks. Students' interests are aroused as they view the sight and hear the sounds of Florida wildlife. I prepared a Promethean Florida Facts Flip Chart, embedded with two movies: Embedded Movie-FL Geography & Background and Embedded Movie-FL History. Each contains factual information about Florida. I explained to students to pay attention to details about Florida so that we could discuss what they recalled from their viewing afterwards.
As we watched the videos, we discussed information students learned about Florida. I model the Cornell Note Taking System by typing in some Florida Facts together with my students. I explained to students that the Cornell Notes function as graphic organizers. On the top of the page, I model writing the topic of the research: "The Everglades". Below that is a T chart. On the left of the, t-chart I model writing a subtopic: "habitat". On the right side of the t-chart, I model writing a paragraph describing the habitat of the Everglades. The information found was supported by evidence from the Florida movies we saw in the flip chart because students need to learn to cite information from sources. I wrote the name of the movie source on the left side of the t-chart under the sub-topic. We continue this process of writing factual information extracted from the videos we watched. I explained to students that we are citing from a digital source: videos that I downloaded from the internet.
My curriculum is driven by Common Core Standards. In this lesson, students learn how to integrate technology as they use digital sources in addition to traditional text to conduct shared research. As students write Cornell Notes, they learn how to focus on a topic that is relevant for their research. Students are also making connections among a series of events that led to the Everglades' animals becoming displaced from their natural environment, as they watched the video explaining the deterioration of the Everglades due to the expansion of cities and buildings.
I review an earlier lesson when I first introduced students to the Cornell Notetaking System (see previous lesson: Introduction to Cornell Notetaking System ). Students are now familiar with this process and can apply note taking skills to expand their research on Florida Facts. This lesson is a continuation of the previous Cornell Notetaking lesson and gives students more opportunities to sharpen their notetaking skills.
I give students multiple sources about Florida, both text and digital. Then, I ask students to work in pairs to read informational text about Florida Facts. Using Cornell Notes Template and reviewing our previous lesson on the Cornell Notetaking System, students summarize sections of text they read.
However, I ask students to extract irrelevant details and provide a broader summary "in their own words" at the bottom of the note taking template. Common Core encourages shared research and communicating knowledge to gain deeper insights and varied perspectives. The students use this time also to prepare their notes to share information with the entire class at the conclusion of this activity.
Students share different facts about Florida supported by the text they read. They discuss the resources they used to find the information and also shared their opinions and personal experiences about visiting different areas of Florida. Since this is our community that we are researching, it applies real world experiences and activates prior knowledge, aligning with Common Core standards. This shared research activity combines students' experiences with information they gathered from research.
At the conclusion of this activity, I distribute an Interest Survey. From this interest survey, I analyze the places or facts in Florida that most intrigues my students in order to plan a research lesson. Basing my lessons on student interests result in active learning and engagement due to intrinsic motivation.