Oregon Standard EL.01. WR.19 Research Report Writing: Investigate topics of interest and importance across the subject areas, selecting appropriate media sources, using effective research processes, and demonstrating ethical use of resources and materials. With guidance gather information about a topic and sort it into major categories.Teacher prep: To start out I gathered a basket of my non-fiction books on animals. I purchased most of them over time from Title Wave, a book store in Portland, OR that sells used library books. Each book cost around a quarter each. If you don't have them, check your school or local library.
Day 1: I let students choose a book on an animal that was interesting to them. I tried to pair my struggling writers with a partner so there was peer support. Students took about 15-20 minutes to read their book. After that they began filling out a graphic organizer to compartmentalize their research findings.
Day 2: Students wrote their animal description and illustrated it. We worked on making sure we had 2 complete sentences. I gave students the sentence frame: My animal is a ___. It has ___ ___. (example: My animal is a shark. It has gray skin.) After turning in their work at the end of writer's workshop, I noticed that many of my students who are ELLs wrote, "My animal is a (sharks, snails, butterflies)." I had to do a reteaching lesson on Day 3 to address the issue of using a singular noun.
Day 3: Students wrote and illustrated the habitat page. I had them include the food that the animal eats here too.
Day 4: Students wrote and illustrated about the animal's life cycle. Make sure you monitor their writing because Apes do not come from eggs as one student tried to write.
Day 5: Diagram - students drew their animal and labeled the parts.
Day 6: Fix up/Edit writing, check for capitals, periods, any words left out, spelling.
Day 7: Partner edit. I modeled how to trade papers with a student and read each others papers one page at a time. We discussed how to add more information and to make our writing easier to read.
Day 8 & 9: Author sharing - students took turns reading their report in front of the class and were very proud of their completed projects.
I had students type a title page to their report in computer lab and add clip art to the cover. I helped out some students by making their title pages if it was too hard for them. We are continuing to work on this standard. Now that the process is more real, they are going to try it again with less teacher support.
Graphic Animal Report