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!
I complete a quick review today of our academic and content vocabulary, as in previous lessons. I believe in reviewing often, in short amounts of time, so that students can absorb the information well. We also vary the way we review to keep student interest. Today, when reviewing, I ask the students to turn and give examples or use the words in sentences with a partner.
I lead my students in beginning our rough drafts. We use the planning page to write a topic sentence, four detail sentences, and a conclusion sentence. (See Resource File: Native American Research Project Book Planning Page and Student Samples)
Being that this is our first research project, and first attempt at reporting our information in paragraph form, I model each step, and then have the students complete theirs right after. As the year goes on and we tackle one or more research projects per unit, the students will be completing more on their own. Until then, they need my support with knowing how to write a good topic sentence that includes the name of their tribe and topic they are researching. They also need help including time order words at the beginning of each of their detail sentences, as well as their conclusion sentence. It's important that I teach my students to take their notes and combine like ideas to make compound sentences.
Always keeping the standards front and center, I remind my tribe with each step what we are trying to accomplish. Here are is a sample of the conversations we had while drafting today. "By using a planning page, we'll be able to plan a strong paragraph in a logical order." (W3.5) "We're starting with a topic sentence to introduce what our paragraph is all about." (W3.2) "Now we are going to develop our ideas with facts, definitions and details from our research." (W3.2) "Sharing ideas with your group helped come up with a variety of information about your tribe's topic." (W3.7) "Using linking words connects our ideas together." (W3.2) "Providing a concluding statement reinforces your topic, and gives your reader closure that you're finished presenting your information." (W3.2)
We complete the upper portion of the Native American Research Project Book Planning Page today. Tomorrow, we will draft our sentences into a paragraph on the bottom portion of the planning page.
We gather together to share our ideas about the research process, and reflect on the drafting experience today. I have my class answer questions such as, "Why should we combine like ideas when drafting our sentences?", "Who can share some time order words we used today?", and "What are some other things you noticed while drafting today?". All of these questions help reinforce today's Common Core standards.