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Writers are Explorers

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Keywords: Informational Books, Digital Books, Informational Text, All About Animals, Animals, Writing About Animals, Animals
Subject(s): Writing, English/Language Arts
Grades 1 through 2
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Sterling Elementary School, Pineville, NC
Planned By: Robin Thomas
Original Author: Robin Thomas, Pineville
Goals: Common Core Covered: W.1.2 - Write informational texts W.1.6 - Use Digital tools to produce and publish writing.
Objective: The students will use specific websites to conduct guided research about a topic. Students will work in a small group to create a Google Presentation to share with parents the information found/learned.
Time Frame: 1 - 2 Weeks
Materials Needed: Access to the internet and technology, Bubble Maps for each child/group
"We are going to explore the world of animals! You will become the expert on an animal of your choice!"
Students will need to choose an animal that they are interested in learning more about. You may like to start this lesson/unit by providing students with a variety of appropriately leveled informational texts on various animals.
After students have chosen an animal you can group students according to their choice (placing all students together that chose the same animal to research).
For the mini-lesson/Guided Practice you may like to chose an animal that no one from the class chose. With your chosen animal in mind go to National Geographic Kids and demonstrate (whole group) how to type the name into the search bar then read through the information given on your animal topic, watching the videos then fill in a bubble map on a chart paper together.
Bubble Map:
Center Bubble - Name of Animal
4-5 Bubbles Around the Center answering these questions - Where does it live? What does it eat? 2-3 Interesting facts that you found
*If there is no information found on National Geographic Kids, you can show individuals how to use Discovery Learning as a back up.
Over the next 2-3 days have the students work individually or in small groups looking up their own animal and filling in the Bubble Map provided. Monitor student work and research, guide as needed. Make sure students use their best spelling (saying words slowly, writing all of the sounds they hear), spacing, punctuation and all methods / strategies previously taught.
Whole Group: Show student the process for Google Presentation. Before the lesson have a format saved with 5 blank pages in the presentation. Depending on the level of your students you may want to have them write a sentence or two for each page on paper before writing/typing this into the form/presentation. You may want to make this a Guided Activity and rotate students/groups to you so you can give them guidance as they work on their presentations. In these small groups you can show them how to get clip art or photos from the internet into their document. For the final presentation make sure the student's practice reading their digital book to a classroom reading/writing partner.
Presentations: Invite parents to a Writing Celebration and have each group present and read their Informative Digital Book.
Print the finished projects for display in the classroom or school library
united streaming (Discovery Education) needs a subscription to get access
Students can follow up this activity by creating their own books on any topic of their choosing. Discovery Learning is a great site for other topics besides animals.
Materials: Whiteboards, Mobile Labs, Wacom Tablets, Printers, Writing, Early Learning
Other Items: 5 Netbooks, $250.00 each, total of $1250.00