Information Literacy Collaborative Unit
I began this activity by reviewing the Spring 2010 CRCT results for grades 1-5 at Pearson
Elementary in order to identify an area of weakness related to information literacy skills. While
examining the School Performance Summary Report, I noticed that the third grade students’
scores appeared low in Reading for Information and Research and Writing Process. In the area
of Research and Writing Process, their performance was 74% correct. I then examined the
Class Performance Summary Report for third grade. I found that there were 20 test items in
the ELA section known as Research and Writing Process. In one third grade class, the class
mean # correct was 12.8, which was 64% correct. Another third grade class had a class mean #
correct of 11.2, which was 56% correct. This means that most students only answered a little
over half of the test items in that section correctly.
I then gathered information about the skills that students are expected to learn in the
area of Research and Writing Process. The skills include writing with coherence, using sensory
details in writing, discriminating between relevant and irrelevant facts and details in writing,
and finding good information quickly using a variety of resources. I thought that this would be
a good area to target with a collaborative lesson since third grade students take a state writing
test each year in addition to the CRCT. Additionally, our school improvement plan is focused on
improving the performance of our students with disabilities, and there are several students
with disabilities in the third grade this year.
When I talked with the third grade teacher who has the inclusion classroomthis year,
she was willing to collaborate with me for this unit. We agreed that an upcoming unit on
persuasive writing would be a good unit in which to address information literacy skills. We
discussed the characteristics and skills of the students in her classroom. This information is
17 students – 9 boys, 8 girls
Two students are English Language Learners.
One student has repeated a grade.
8 students have Individual Education Plans to address areas of disability
1 student has a 504 Plan with classroomaccommodations addressing Attention Deficit
6 students are receiving support through the Response-to-Intervention tiers due to
academic weaknesses and/or speech-language weaknesses.
10 students are considered at-risk in the area of reading
8 students are considered at-risk in the area of math
Ethnic composition of the class: White 7
The teacher reviewed how the persuasive writing unit is generally taught. The students
have to gather information to support their topic, and they need instruction in how to find
information using books, encyclopedias, the Internet, and other reference materials. The
students also need to be taught about plagiarismand how to write in their own words. I
mentioned that these were areas of information literacy that I could address in a collaborative
A few days later, I started working on the UbD lesson plan. The teacher and I met a few
times to plan our unit. Some of our contact was through e-mail messages. She shared
information about the Georgia Performance Standards and the essential questions that are
usually addressed in the persuasive writing unit. I shared information with her about the
Standards for the 21st Century Learner that could be addressed in the unit. We discussed the
various assessments that would be used in the unit as well as the different learning activities
that could be used. I revised the UbD lesson plan several times before we were satisfied with
the different components.
Once our lesson plan was finalized, I began to focus on the activities that were my
responsibility. I gathered the information for the lessons and developed the supporting
materials. I created a wiki of resources pertaining to research skills. I also created two posters
about plagiarismto reinforce the information that was taught during the lesson on plagiarism
and note-taking skills. These posters were laminated and displayed in the teacher’s classroom
after the lesson was taught.
I taught the collaborative lesson about plagiarismand note-taking on the day of my site
visit by Dr. Repman. The third grade teacher and the special education inclusion teacher were
in the classroom during the lesson, and the lesson truly was a collaborative effort. We used the
SMART Board during the lesson as well as a circle map, which is an example of a thinking map.
The teachers had recently participated in staff development training about using thinking maps
in the classroom. The students seemed to be engaged in the different activities that were used
in the lesson, and we were able to cover all of the activities in the lesson plan for that day. The
information literacy skills that were addressed in the lesson will be assessed later in the unit.
After the students have gathered information from different sources, they will turn in their
notes. The teachers and I will examine the notes and determine if the students used good
note-taking skills and credited the sources of information that were used.
The UbD lesson plan for the unit is shown below. Following the unit lesson plan is a list
of the procedures and activities used during the collaborative lesson on plagiarismand note-
taking. The wiki to accompany the unit can be viewed at
Title: _ Persuasive Writing____________ Subject/Course:___English/Language Arts ________
Topic: __ Writing _________ Grade: 3___ Designers: _ A. Deems / M. Gurley________
Stage 1 – Desired Results
ELA3R3 The student uses a variety of strategies to gain meaning from grade-level text. The
d. Distinguishes fact from opinion
m. Recalls explicit facts and infers implicit facts
o. Uses titles, tables of contents, and chapter headings to locate information quickly and
accurately and to preview text
p. Recognizes the author’s purpose
ELA3W1 The student demonstrates competency in the writing process. The student
a. Captures a reader’s interest by setting a purpose and developing a point of view
b. Begins to select a focus and an organizational pattern based on purpose, genre, expectations,
audience, and length
c. Writes text of a length appropriate to address the topic or tell the story
e. Begins to use appropriate structures to ensure coherence (e.g., transition words and phrases,
bullets, subheadings, numbering)
j. Uses a variety of resources to research and share information on a topic
l. Writes a persuasive piece that states a clear position
m. Pre-writes to generate ideas, develops a rough draft, rereads to revise, and edits to correct.
n. Publishes by presenting an edited piece of writing to others.
ELA3C1 The student demonstrates understanding and control of the rules of the English
language, realizing that usage involves the appropriate application of conventions and grammar
in both written and spoken formats. The student
j. Uses resources (encyclopedias, Internet, books) to research and share information about a
k. Uses the dictionary and thesaurus to support word choices
l. Uses common rules of spelling and corrects words using dictionaries and other resources
Standards for the 21st Century Learner:
1.1.4 Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions
1.3.1 Respect copyright/intellectual property rights of creators and producers.
1.3.3 Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information.
4.3.2 Recognize that resources are created for a variety of purposes
Students will understand that…
Facts are different from opinions.
Opinions must be supported with facts
in order to persuade a reader.
There are many sources that can be
used to find information
It is wrong to use someone else’s
words or pictures as your own.
It is important to give other people
credit for their work and ideas.
How can we express our
position/opinion about an issue or idea
to our readers?
What is the difference between fact
What are the strategies of persuasive
writing and what type of impact do
these strategies have on the reader?
How do authors incorporate voice into
How is persuasive writing organized?
How can we use facts to support our
How can I find information about a
How do we give credit to others when
we use their work and ideas?
Students will know…
The difference between facts and
How to write a persuasive text
The meaning of “plagiarism”
Different sources that can be used to
How to give credit for sources that are
How to take notes
Students will be able to…
Tell how facts and opinions differ
Explain what a persuasive writing is
Write a persuasive text
Tell the meaning of “plagiarism”
Name different sources of information
Credit the sources used in a report or
Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence
Persuasive writing paper – Students
will produce a persuasive writing that
will be assessed with a rubric.
Quiz over facts versus opinions
Notes taken by students
Drafts of persuasive writing
Informal checks for understanding
Stage 3 – Learning Plan
1. Introduce the standards and essential questions for the unit
2. Present a lesson on plagiarism, how to take notes, and how to credit sources (See plan
3. Discuss the difference between facts and opinions
4. Quiz – students tell if statements are facts or opinions
5. Teachers work through a persuasive writing sample with the students in whole group setting
6. Media specialist presents lesson on different sources of information
7. Teachers help students work together to produce another persuasive writing in small groups
8. Individual students complete the writing process to produce individual writing samples.
9. Teacher conducts writing conferences with students
10. Students make revisions to their drafts
11. Students complete a persuasive writing text for the state writing assessment
12. Teachers score the writing using the rubric supplied by the DOE
13. Teachers and media specialist examine notes taken by students to assess note-taking
skills and crediting of sources
Lesson on Plagiarism and Taking Notes
1. Media specialist (MS) uses information from a lesson titled “Whose Property Is This?” that
was obtained from CyberSmart! (http://cybersmartcurriculum.org/ )to begin a discussion about
property and respecting other people’s property. From the lesson, the MS will use the
Introduce, Teach 1, and Teach 2 sections with some modifications.
2. MS will lead in to a discussion of how property is an issue when doing research using books,
encyclopedias, magazines, the Internet, etc. MS will introduce the term “plagiarism” and
explain its meaning in simple terms. Examples will be given – copying sentences word for word
from a book, printing out information from the Internet, using a friend’s work, etc. and turning
it in as your own work.
3. MS will then introduce the topic of note-taking when doing research. Emphasis on (1) taking
good notes so that you get just the needed information (2) using notes to write in your own
words (3) write down the source of information that you used – name of book, encyclopedia,
web site, etc. These are ways to keep from committing plagiarism. We do not copy word for
word from a source.
4. Then MS will use the SMART Board to help students learn to find fact fragments in a short
passage of information. The SMART Board screen will display two pages at once. A passage
will be shown in the left page, and a circle map (thinking map) will be shown in the right page.
As fact fragments are found in the passage, they will be written in the circle map. The teachers
will model this activity and begin listing the fragments on the map. The source of the
information will be written on the circle map in the appropriate space. The work on the board
will be saved and printed out for display in the room.
5. Next, the students will pair up with their partners and work together to take notes from
leveled readers that contain information related to a current science topic. The students will
draw their own thinking maps on their paper and fill in the maps with their notes (fact
fragments) and source of information. The teachers will circulate around the room monitoring
and aiding students as necessary.
6. At the conclusion of the activity, the MS will quickly review the important points of the
lesson – respecting others’ property, taking notes when gathering information, giving credit to
the source of information. Teachers will emphasize that note-taking and crediting sources are a
part of pre-writing that they are learning. These are skills that students will continue to use
throughout their school years. Now is the time to develop good skills in taking notes and
respecting others’ property. MS will inform students that they will be required to take notes
for their persuasive writing project and the notes will be checked to see if they followed the
process used in today’s activity – no complete sentences, writing down the source, etc.
Circle thinking map:
Reflection on the Unit
This assignment required me to engage in some activities for the first time. Prior to this
unit, I had never analyzed standardized test results for an entire grade or class. I had some
experience analyzing individual students’ scores for weaknesses related to speech-language
skills, but I had not looked at a group of students to identify overall weaknesses especially
weaknesses related to information literacy skills. Also, this was the first time that I used CRCT
results to initiate a conversation with a teacher about collaborative teaching. In this instance,
the teacher responded very positively to my offer of help in teaching information literacy skills
to her students. She seemed to recognize that I may be able to make some significant
contributions to her lesson on plagiarism, which she considers a very important topic to
introduce in third grade. I realize that the use of information from standardized test results
can increase the likelihood that teachers will consider collaborative lessons with the media
I was somewhat frustrated during the planning of this unit because it was hard to
coordinate our schedules to have any substantial time to meet and discuss the unit. I am glad
that we had a few weeks to work this out before the unit began, but I can see how difficult it
would be to have adequate planning time if the unit was to begin within a week or less. I found
that I continued to have new ideas for the unit right up until the day of the lesson that I was to
teach. On the day of the lesson, I thought of a way to pique the students’ interest in the unit.
Then when I was in the classroomand heard the teacher make her opening remarks to the
class, I thought of something else to add to the interest factor. All of the time that was devoted
to planning the unit resulted in a lesson that seemed to go exactly as planned. It was very
helpful to have the inclusion teacher in the room during the lesson. There were more teachers
present to help monitor student behavior and provide assistance during the lesson.
I learned several things from the teachers as I completed this activity. I learned about
thinking maps and how a circle thinking map can be used in different lessons. I also learned
more about how SMART Boards work and how they can be used during instruction. This
information will be very useful as I teach lessons in the future.