Civil Rights Biography Project

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Fifth Grade Lesson Plan

Civil Rights Biography Project

Introductory Lesson

Georgia Performance Standards addressed:

Social Studies: SS5H8 a. Explain the key events and people of the Civil Rights movement; [including the] civil rights activities of Thurgood

Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Information Literacy (from English and Reading):

ELA5W2 The student produces informational writing that: d. includes appropriate facts and details e. Excludes extraneous details and inappropriate information.

ELA5W3 The student uses research and technology to support writing. The student c. Uses various reference materials (dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, electronic information) as aids to writing. d. Uses features of texts (e.g., index, tables of contents, guide words, alphabetical/numerical order) to obtain and organize information and thoughts.

Social Studies Skills Matrix Information Processing Skills:

8. Identify social studies references to use for a specific purpose.

14. Formulate appropriate research questions.

15. Determine adequacy and/or relevancy of information.

Comments:

This lesson is a variant of one I have used many times with students from third through eighth grade. I use this type of lesson when students come to the media center to begin research, and I have done it once or twice in classrooms before they begin. I used it in my language arts classes (when I was a teacher) before my students started a research project. I first got the idea for this type of research guide after reading about Ken

Macrorie’s I-Search, and I have created different versions based on my teaching experiences and my reading of Joyce and Tallman’s I-Search book.

I use this lesson to help students get a handle on what information they need and what they can exclude. This reduces their anxiety and bewilderment and helps them avoid plagiarism. So far, I have only used this lesson when the product format has been a report, but it could easily be adapted for other research products.

Essential Question (a Learning-Focused Schools term):

Who were they key figures of the Civil Rights era, and what were their accomplishments?

Estimated time: 60 minutes

Materials needed: 1 copy of research guide for each student

1 copy of research guide on an overhead transparency, SmartBoard, or other display technology where students can complete a guide as a group with the teacher facilitating.

Lesson Procedure:

1.

Show students the projected copy of the research guide and explain that the handout will make finding information for their projects much, much simpler (this is known as the “hard sell” part of the lesson). Briefly describe the parts of the handout.

2.

Begin with an example that all students know at least a little about, such as

George W. Bush. Quickly talk through, but don’t write, keywords, best sources, and possible research questions.

3.

Ask for a volunteer to share his or her topic to discuss as a class. Using the real project topic, complete the research guide as a group. While determining the “best sources” for the project, discuss the various resources available to the students in the media center and online (be sure to mention reliability and authority of online sources).

4.

Explain the importance of keywords and how they are used to find information in indexes, table of contents, search engines, and OPACS. I explain that keywords open the door to information and use a key visual to emphasize the point. We brainstorm keywords that students will use to find the information they need.

5.

Brainstorm research questions. It is very easy for students to generate questions when you give them examples of interrogative words (who, what, when, where, why, and how). The key here is to help students generate significant questions that will require at least a solid paragraph to answer; otherwise they won’t have enough information to write with later. Encourage students to come up with why and how questions, as these will stimulate deeper thinking about the content they read (see Joyce and Tallman (1997),

Making the Writing and Research

Connection with the I-Search

, for more on coming up with significant research questions).

6.

At this point, I thank the person who volunteered their topic and tell them that we have already done their work for them (everyone else groans—I love that).

Students complete their research guides just as we did together. Sometimes I let students who have the same topics work together, or have neighbors help each other if they are stuck. Close monitoring of what students write on their paper is essential. Circulate among students, read over their shoulders, praise, and make suggestions for improvement.

7.

If you have time, ask for volunteers to share. This will allow students who feel they’ve done well to shine, and will give more examples for those who may be struggling.

Now students are ready to begin looking for information. I would not advise starting that until another day. Give the students time to digest the lesson. Students will spend varying lengths of time gathering information, depending on the depth required for the project. As students gather information, the media specialist and teacher must supervise students to make sure they are using the research strategies discussed in this lesson. Once students have gathered enough details to answer the research questions, the guide can be used to show students how to write the information in paragraph form.

Civil Rights Biography Project

Research Guide

My Civil Rights person is ________________________________.

The best keywords for finding information on this person are:

_____________________________________________________.

The best sources of information for this project will probably be:

______________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________.

My research questions are:

Q1: __________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

Detail: ________________________________________________

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Detail: ________________________________________________

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Detail: ________________________________________________

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Q2: __________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

Detail: ________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

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Detail: ________________________________________________

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Detail: ________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________.

Q3: __________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

Detail: ________________________________________________

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_____________________________________________________.

Detail: ________________________________________________

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Detail: ________________________________________________

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_____________________________________________________.

Other important notes about my topic:

______________________________________________________

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