Answering Questions: Taking Notes on Research

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SWBAT record notes from research question.

Big Idea

Now that students have a place to start, they begin taking notes on their topic.

Introduction and Modeling

10 minutes

*Make sure you have enough resources, electronically or hard copy, for students to begin their research.

Finally, students are ready to begin reading nonfiction resources and record information for their report. I tell the students that they are not going to get to look for and find the answers to the questions they created. Its kind of like a treasure hunt. 

There are two ways students might begin to read and record information. The first way is for students who have a few more general subtopics/questions that can be answered with many facts. Those students read through the texts or website, recording information that answers any of the questions they had. The second way is for students who have a lot of questions that need more specific answers. For those students, they can take one question at a time and look for that specific answer. The second way is a little harder becuase students need to determine when they have looked long enough and need to move on to another question. 

I model this by choosing a nonfiction text that might have information on my topic. I use the reading strategies I've taught in previous lessons to preview the text, using the table of contents to help direct me to where I might be able to find information that will answer some of my questions. 

Once I've found a section that answers one or more of my questions, I read and record notes in front of the class using the document camera. I explain to students that they should be written in phrases or short sentences and not directly quoted.

I only model a few questions and notes and then answer any questions they may have about the process.

Main Activity

20 minutes

After I modeled how to read a text and write down notes, I pass out the materials and assign students to work with other students who have similar topics. I pair them up so that each student has support in navigating the nonfiction text and knowing what to write down.

Some students are using the internet, some are using a detailed reference book, and other need to use multiple books that cover a wide range of subtopics. 

As students are readind and recording notes, I conference with a few students who seem to be having difficulty finding information to record.


5 minutes

After student record information about their topic, I ask each to find one fact that really stood out as interesting, shocking, or new. Instead of having them share with the entire class, I ask them to share with their table group, someone other than the partner they already worked with.

You may need to give students multiple days of research or use the silent reading time for reading and note taking. If you do choose to allow students to research at home, make sure that all students have access to resources.