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Research paper lesson plans for middle school

Create a List

Begin this lesson with a classroom brainstorming session. Ask students to name some topics they consider interesting enough to research. Share the following tips for choosing a great topic: Brainstorm a list of subjects that interests you. Review your list and do a small amount of preliminary research to see what topics have sufficient resources and accessible information.

Once you decide on a general topic, try to narrow it down or refine to a specific aspect of the general topic. Once you've chosen a topic, state it in the form of a question or as a problem to be solved- this is sometimes referred to research paper lesson plans for middle school the "essential question" For example, What was the result of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor?

Refer to the reproducible choosing a topic. Discuss the possibilities with students. Locating Resources Explain that the success or failure of any report can sometimes be directly linked to the quality of the resources or information used for research.

Remind students of the importance of their essential question or problem. Tell them to keep that in mind as they review resources. Discuss the various types of resources: Be sure to check for more recent publication dates to insure up-to-date information.

Many libraries carry past editions of newspapers on microfilm and many newspapers offer searchable databases online. Your librarian can also help you use indexes to magazine articles by topic in print and online. Personal interviews are often overlooked as a source of information, yet can sometimes yield some of the best material for your report. Learn proper methods for searching and choose a search engine that is reputable.

Carefully evaluate any information found online. Print versions are sometimes dated. Look for CD versions or online versions of the printed counterparts- these are constantly updated and thus contain current information.

Atlases, Almanacs, and Yearbooks: Discuss the importance of evaluating resources and review the list of "self-questions" they should ask as they review a reource: Is the information well researched?

Research Paper - Complete Unit

Is the author an expert on the subject? Is the information relevant to my topic? Just because you find an amazing story or fact doesn't mean it needs to be included in your paper. All information and sources must be related directly to your topic. Once the students have had time to round up a good group of resources, take a few moments to teach note-taking skills.

  • Click here to print the Peer Review Checklist;
  • The middle of the card should contain a quote or the main idea from their research text;
  • They discuss how to conduct a review process, including:

Share the following note-taking tips with students: Before you Begin Taking Notes: Skim through your source before you start writing. As you read, you'll see that some information may not pertain to the focus of your paper.

Use bookmarks or sticky notes to mark pages you want to read more carefully and take notes on. Start a detailed Source Sheet that lists each resource you use as you take notes.

This will come in handy when it's time to name your sources. Assign each source a code or abbreviation.

  • One 3-ring notebook or small steno notebook 100 notecards Box or pencil bag to keep notecards in Five resources minimum Lessons;
  • Students should have 15 to 20 notecards per category;
  • All mistakes are penalized;
  • Instruct students to write the rough draft in class;
  • This is a good time students to begin thinking about ways to open their reports;
  • Continue reading for information Teach how to read for information Teach how to write a bibliography check with your school for the approved bibliography format.

This will keep you from having to write out the entire name on every note or note card. Use the same type of note card or paper for each note you take.

  1. Students use Internet search engines and Web analysis checklists to evaluate online resources then write annotations that explain how and why the resources will be valuable to the class.
  2. This makes it easier to go back and recheck or get additional information. The research paper scaffold is designed to be completed during seven or eight sessions over the course of four to six weeks.
  3. Inquiry on the Internet. Entire rough draft due Peer edit Final due on Day 25 Day 22.
  4. Direct Citation of Sources.

Always identify the source of the information and page number at the top of your note card or paper- use the code for each source if possible. Be sure to include the page number s where you located the information. This makes it easier to go back and recheck or get additional information. Only write on one side of the note card or paper. This will help when it comes time to organize and write your outline. Only write a small amount of information on each card. Keep your notes concise and to the point.

Use your own words.

  • Print versions are sometimes dated;
  • Even so, I still referenced the Purdue OWL site for certain things, mostly pertaining to online sources, since there was no such thing when I was in grad school;
  • Remind students that they do not need to correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling during this phase of the writing process;
  • This makes it easier to go back and recheck or get additional information;
  • An instructional scaffold is useful for expository writing because of its basis in problem solving, ownership, appropriateness, support, collaboration, and internalization.

It's illegal to plagiarize. If you must use the author's words, limit the number of direct quotations you use. You don't want to waste time later trying to decipher your own scribbles. Don't take notes on information that doesn't pertain to your topic. It's easy to get carried away and end up with lots of information you can't use. Once students have completed the research process and taken their notes, spend some time teaching them how to sort and categorize their notes.

Begin by having them all their note cards into separate piles or topic stacks. Ask them to assign each pile a name or topic Have students read through the information contained on each card in each pile.

Once the cards have been organized, walk students through the creation of an outline. Explain the importance of an outline and its role in creating a paper that makes sense and flows from one point to another. What did they like? Were they comfortable with the process or uncomfortable? Did they learn anything new?

Middle School Research Writing and Practices

Did everyone get enough information? Next, send the students to their desks and have them read through their notes and review their outlines. This is a good time students to begin thinking about ways to open their reports. Once everyone has had time to review their notes and revisit their outline, it's time to start writing a first draft.

Allow students at least one class period and additional time at home to complete this part of the process. Also, remind students that this is simply a time to get their thoughts on paper- get content down now, and go back later to make corrections. Click here to print the Drafting reproducible. Spend time discussing what actually happens during a revision. Remind students that they do not need to correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling during this phase of the writing process.

Have students check flow, content, and sentence structure by reading their paper out loud.

Scaffolding Methods for Research Paper Writing

At this point, you can also encourage a peer review. Click here to print the Peer Review Checklist. Click here to print and then distribute an Editing Checklist to each student. Reviewing 1-2 days The reports are almost ready for their debut. The reviewing process comes next.

This step is painful to some students, so be sure to offer a variety of options for review. You may wish to discuss ideas with students. Find creative ideas to publish students' writing on the Celebrate!