Introducing Research Writing to 3rd Graders, a K-5 Common Core Lesson by WriteSteps


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An engaging lesson from WriteSteps that introduces third-grade students to an important genre of Informational Writing as outlined in the Common Core State Standards. Students review what research writing is, practice narrowing down broad topics into subtopics, and compare traditional sources to technology sources. The lesson plan for this presentation is found on our website in Third grade, Unit 6 on Research Writing. This lesson plan features a version of the presentation that includes teacher notes for guiding the activities outlined in the slide. For inspiration and more information about K-5 writing and teaching, like us on Facebook, We also have free Common Core resources on Pinterest, at

WriteSteps is a comprehensive writing system includes a year's worth of Common Core lesson plans that integrate best practices like writers workshop, the 6 Traits, graphic organizers, and the Madeline Hunter lesson steps in a format that shortens the learning curve to becoming a master writing teacher. WriteSteps includes lessons for narrative, informational, and opinion writing, and offers web-based lessons, visual aids, rubrics, and other resources. To use our Common Core lessons free for 30 days at no obligation, go to

WriteSteps Founder & CEO Suzanne Klein is a former K-5 teacher and writing consultant with extensive training in writing pedagogy best practices, especially writer's workshop and 6 Traits. She has taught all elementary grades including a Title I literacy program, and gave professional development workshops on Balanced Writing for the Bureau of Education Research. Klein holds a Master of Arts degree in teaching, is a National Writing Project fellow, and draws inspiration from teachers such as Ralph Fletcher, Barry Lane, Lucy Calkins, Katie Wood Ray, and John Collins.

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Introducing Research Writing to 3rd Graders, a K-5 Common Core Lesson by WriteSteps

  1. 1. Rockin’Research Unit 6
  2. 2. Rockin’ ResearchLearning Objectives: What is research? Why research? How do I choose a topic? How do I decide what to research on my topic? How do I find information for my topic?
  3. 3. What is research writing? Text Type: InformativeLook at the word RESEARCH. Turn to the personnext to you and tell them what you think itmeans.Research is: Gathering materials from different sources and organizing the information in a way to educate readers. In other words, YOU as a researcher will become an “expert” on a topic by using the internet, books, magazines, and even interviewing people to collect information. Then you will share your findings with others to teach them!
  4. 4. Why do research? doctors lawyers Take a think break and consider what types of jobs or careers that might require the use of research.scientists teachers Give a thumbs up when you have one. investigators historians Plus many archeologists more!
  5. 5. How do I choose a topic?Think about things that Things to consider beforeyou like and are selecting a topic:interested in. o Will I be able to findFor example: information easily on Weather this topic? Famous people or o Will I be able to read athletes what I find? Historical events o Will it be too hard to Vacation spots understand? o Will I learn something new?
  6. 6. Brainstorming Time! Make a list of 5 topics that you might be interested in researching.My Topic List:1. Volcanoes2. George Lucas Put a star3. Dalmatians next to4. Australia your TOP 25. Native American Tribes choices.
  7. 7. Topics & Subtopics Examples of Topics & Subtopics Remember a topic is a Topics Subtopics big idea for your research. Usually TOO *Presidents *Abe Lincoln See why I can‟t do my research on big in fact. presidents? There‟s just too many! So, I need This means we need to to narrow it down to a more specific narrow down our topic president. idea into a subtopic. *Animals *Bears A subtopic will be I‟ve narrowed down animals to bears, but easier to research and how many of you think I can write a research paper on bears? easier to write. We‟re Turn to the person next to you and tell not writing a book; them if you think „bears‟ is a narrow we‟re writing a enough topic. research paper! *Bears *___________
  8. 8. Let’s try narrowing topics into subtopics some more! Topics Subtopics Native American Tribes  ___________________ Famous Authors  ___________________ _____________________  The Titanic Violent Weather  ___________________ _____________________  Michael Jordan Holidays  ___________________
  9. 9. 1. Look at the two starred topics you chose from your list.2. Decide if they seem like really BIG topics or if they seem like narrow subtopics.3. If it seems like a big topic, then narrow itdown into a subtopic like we just practiced. 4. If it seems like a narrow subtopic already, then write a topic [big idea] next to it. Let‟s have a few people share!
  10. 10. How do I decide what I want to research about my subtopic?Once you‟ve determined a topic and subtopic, you will beready to start thinking about what you know, what you wantto know, and later, what you‟ve learned. K W L What I Know What I Want to Learn What I‟ve Learned
  11. 11. Where do I find my information? Topic information can come from many different sources. Where do you think you can find information? Traditional Sources Internet & Media  Informational  Internet– using books search engines like  Magazines Google or Bing.  Newspaper Articles  Media – television,  Interviews CD‟s, DVD‟s
  12. 12. Compare & Contrast Traditional Internet & Both Sources Media Sources
  13. 13. KeysWe‟ve learned a lot aboutresearch today!The strip of paper you have atyour seat is a key. It will unlockthe door to your knowledge ofresearch.• Write down 1 thing you learned about research on one side of the strip.• Write down a 2nd thing you learned about research on the other side of the strip.Don‟t forget to include your name!