Resource Materials and Gathering Information: Reading Another “Choice” Text from the Research Folder | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M4:U2:L5

Resource Materials and Gathering Information: Reading Another “Choice” Text from the Research Folder

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can use resource material (glossaries, dictionaries, thesauruses) to help me determine or clarify the pronunciation, meaning of key words and phrases, and parts of speech. (L.6.4c)
  • I can conduct short research projects to answer a question. (W.6.7)
  • I can use several sources in my research. (W.6.7)
  • I can refocus or refine my question when appropriate. (W.6.7)
  • I can gather relevant information from a variety of sources. (W.6.8)
  • I can assess the credibility of each source I use. (W.6.8)
  • I can quote or paraphrase what others say about my topic while avoiding plagiarism. (W.6.8)
  • I can provide a list of sources I used to gather information in a bibliography. (W.6.8)

Supporting Targets

  • I can use resource materials to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
  • I can gather relevant information from my research materials.
  • I can revise my research question if necessary.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Learning from Frightful's Perspective: Chapter 16 (from homework)
  • Researcher's notebook


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A. Engaging the Reader: Learning from Frightful's Perspective (8 minutes)

     B.  Unpacking Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Resources: Using Dictionaries and Thesauruses to Determine Word Meaning (10 minutes)

     B. Reading Third Research Text (20 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Debrief: Revising the Big Idea (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

    A.  Read Chapter 17: "Frightful Feels the Call of the Sky" and complete Learning from Frightful's Perspective: Chapter 17.

  • In this lesson, students continue to build ways to determine word meaning. They use resource materials such as dictionaries and thesauruses to determine meaning of unfamiliar words. Based on your students' background knowledge with these reference materials, consider modifying Work Time A.
  • At this point, students have completed two sources in their researcher's notebook, Source 1 and Source 2. Students have paraphrased claims or the central idea of articles, and they have cited evidence using direct quotations from authors. In this lesson, students choose another article from their research folder and continue to develop paraphrasing skills and identify the author's claim or central idea. They also determine supporting evidence for each claim or central idea and use quotation marks to quote the author's exact words. Students also identify and record source information to give credit to the author of the article.
  • In Lessons 7 and 8, students will have an opportunity to use Web sites to gather more information on their research question. They will complete Source 4 and 5 in their researcher's notebook using internet articles.
  • In Lesson 9, students will complete the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment, on which they will apply these same skills: read an article and identify source information, paraphrase claims, and cite supporting evidence. Preview this assessment in advance to have a sense of how these lessons scaffold students toward success.
  • Post: Learning targets. 


relevant, revise, guide words, entry words, synonyms, antonyms; environment, chemist


  • Frightful's Mountain (book; one per student)
  • Peregrine Falcon Facts anchor chart (from Unit 1)
  • Dictionary (one per partner group)
  • Thesaurus (one per partner group)
  • Research Vocabulary graphic organizer (one per student; from Lesson 4; in research folder)
  • Research folder (from Lesson 1)
  • Sticky note (one per partner group)
  • Document camera
  • Researcher's notebook (from Lesson 1; in research folder)
  • Credibility Checklist (from Lesson 1; in research folder)
  • Assessing Sources (from Lesson 1; in research folder)
  • Learning from Frightful's Perspective: Chapter 17 (one per student)



A. Engaging the Reader: Learning from Frightful's Perspective (8 minutes)

  •  As students enter the room, invite them to sit in their triad groups with their book, Frightful's Mountain. Invite them to discuss the focus question from Learning from Frightful's Perspective: Chapter 16 about the important relationships highlighted in this chapter. Remind students to cite evidence from the novel to support their thinking.
  • After students share their responses, they should share their vocabulary from the "Words I Found Difficult" list. Ask each group member to share words and meanings. If a meaning is unclear, remind them to refer to the page number where the word was found and use context clues to try to determine the meaning.
  • Circulate to listen to how in-depth students' responses are. Recognize students citing evidence to support their thinking and compliment students for looking in the text to use context clues to determine word meaning.
  • Provide support to students who may find using context clues challenging when determining word meaning. Give definitions to students if words cannot be defined using context clues.
  • After students have finished their discussions, invite volunteers to share facts to add to the Peregrine Falcon Facts anchor chart.
  • Cold call triads to share their definitions. Listen for: to make a new, updated, or amended version of the research question.

B. Unpacking Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Invite students to read the learning targets with you:

* "I can use resource materials to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words."

* "I can gather relevant information from my research materials."

* "I can revise my research question if necessary."

  • Point out that these learning targets are similar to those in Lesson 4 because this lesson follows a similar structure.
  • Remind them they did a lot of work gathering relevant information from research materials in previous lessons.
  • Invite triads to discuss the meaning of the word relevant.
  • Cold call triads to share their definitions. Listen for: "Information that directly addresses or is important in answering the research question."
  • Invite triads to discuss the meaning of the word revise.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Resources: Using Dictionaries and Thesauruses to Determine Word Meaning (10 minutes)

  • Tell students that successful readers and writers use a variety of resource materials to develop their skills. Share in this lesson they will be introduced to (or review, based on your class's skills) two resources: a dictionary and a thesaurus. Explain these resources will help build vocabulary, develop reading comprehension, and develop spelling accuracy.
  • Inform students they will verify the definitions they wrote on the Researcher's Vocabulary graphic organizer in Lesson 4. Share they will find each word in the dictionary to check for meaning and then find that word's synonym in the thesaurus.
  • Form student partnerships. Distribute a dictionary and a thesaurus to eachpartner group.
  • Ask students to find their Research Vocabulary graphic organizer in their research folder.
  • Invite partners to open up to a page in the dictionary. Point out the guide words found on the top of each page. Explain how guide words make the dictionary much easier to use. Tell students the guide word on the left is the first entry word on the page, and the guide word on the right is the last entry word on the page. Remind students how each entry word is in alphabetical order on the page. Choose an entry word to model how it was alphabetized on the page.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "What information is included with each entry word?"

  • Cold call partners to share their thoughts. Listen for: the spelling of the word, its pronunciation, how it is divided into syllables, and its parts of speech.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "What is a thesaurus?"

  • Cold call partners. Listen for: "a book that lists words with their synonyms and related concepts." Clarify as needed. Point out that antonyms (a word's "opposite") also are usually listed.
  • Next, ask partners to quickly skim and locate the word environment. Reiterate that words are listed alphabetically. Remind them to use the guide words at the top of the page to speed up the search.
  • After students have located the word environment, invite them to read through the words underneath this word. Ask them to select a word that closely matches the meaning of environment as they have been using it in this module 
  • Circulate to provide support to select students needing help locating the word "environment" or choosing a synonym. Compliment students who work cooperatively.
  • Distribute a sticky note to each partner group. Ask partners to write a synonym for "environment" on the sticky note and post it on the board.
  • After partners have posted their synonyms, collect the sticky notes and read their synonyms to the class. Some examples students could have shared: habitat, nature, setting, surrounding, terrain.
  • Ask partners to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "When and why would you want to use a thesaurus?"

  • Listen for: "to learn other words that mean sort of the same thing as a word I found in a text I am reading" or "to look up a replacement word that might be more appropriate to use in my writing." Emphasize that building one's vocabulary is an incredibly powerful way to become a better reader, and that learning synonyms often helps you clarify a word's meaning or understand the subtle differences between words.                              
  • Focus students on their Researcher's Vocabulary graphic organizer, specifically the left-hand column. Ask students to do the following with their partner:
  1. Look up the definition of each word in the dictionary, and write the definition in the appropriate box on the far right.
  2. Look up the word in the thesaurus to find its synonym. Write the synonym on the line in the same box. 
  3. Tell students if the word does not have a synonym they should write "none" on the line.
  • Using a document camera, model with the word chemist. Invite students to read what they wrote in Lesson 4. Explain to students they will use a dictionary to compare the definition they wrote with the definition written in the dictionary. Also, challenge them to find a synonym for chemist.
  • Next, ask one partner to look up "chemist" in the dictionary. Ask the other partner to look up "chemist" in the thesaurus.
  • Cold call partners to share the definition and a synonym if chemist has one. Model writing the definition in the box and its synonym on the line. Listen for: "The definition is a person who looks at the structure and transformation of substances, and a synonym could be scientist."
  • Give students time to work together to look up the other words. Ask students to exchange resources after each word's definition and synonym is complete. Students will then get practice using both resources.
  • Circulate and provide support to students needing help looking up words.
  • Continue to give specific positive feedback on students' developing skills to use these resources to effectively grow their vocabulary. Help link this work to the bigger picture: Building one's vocabulary is one of the most powerful strategies to become a stronger reader and learn more about the world. These tools will help. 
  • Using dictionaries provides another way to build vocabulary, reading comprehension, and spelling accuracy.

B. Reading Third Research Text  (20 minutes)

  • Invite students to open their research folder and find their researcher's notebook.  Ask them to turn to page 4, Source 3.
  • Direct students' attention to the first box on the top of the page. Tell them their research question should be written in this box. Remind students that a researcher continually revisits the research question to determine if revisions on the question are needed. 
  • Ask students to read through the questions and ideas they wrote in response to the two questions at the bottom of pages 2 and 3. Pause to give students time.
  • After reading through their information, invite students to either copy the original research question or revise their question based on their thinking from Source 1 and Source 2. Allow students time to write their research question. Circulate to support students questioning and revising their research question.
  • Invite students who changed their research question to share it with the class.
  • Ask students to open their research folder and choose an article they haven't read. Tell them to take 3 minutes to skim the articles they haven't read to find the one that bests provides answers to their research question.
  • Circulate to provide support to students needing help making their choice selection.
  • Next, direct students' attention to the Source Information section of the graphic organizer. Remind students this information is critical for giving authors credit and to avoid plagiarism. Invite students to fill out this section of the graphic organizer. Tell students to set a goal of 2 minutes.
  • Remind them to use the Credibility Checklist in their research folder and to use Assessing Sources to determine credibility.
  • After students have completed the Source Information section, ask them to independently skim their article for the gist. Tell them they will have 3 minutes to read their article.
  • Circulate to support students with vocabulary words. 
  • After 3 to 4 minutes, reconvene the class. Direct students' attention to the section titled Claims/Central Ideas. Tell students in this area, they should paraphrase the author's claim/s or central idea. Remind students a claim should be written in their own words or paraphrased, and quotation marks are not needed.
  • Next, direct students' attention to the section titled Details/Evidence. Tell students in this area they should cite supporting evidence. Remind them to copy the author's words exactly and to use quotation marks where the quote begins and ends. Tell students they will have 10 minutes to complete their claims and supporting evidence. Remind students each claim may have more than one piece of supporting evidence.
  • Pause to give work time. Circulate to support students as needed. Notice students writing claims in their own words and quoting evidence. Notice students writing in complete sentences.
  • After 10 minutes, reconvene the class. Ask students to find a partner that read the same article. Explain they should compare source information and also compare claims and supporting evidence.
  • After 2 minutes, invite the class to take their seats. Congratulate students on their independent work. Share that you would like to collect Source 3 to read and check for understanding. Tell them in Lessons 7 and 8 they will be using this same graphic organizer with an article from the internet. Explain the information collected today will help guide future lessons.
  • During Work Time B, you may want to pull a small group of students to support in finding evidence from the novel. Some students will need more guided practice before they are ready for independent work.

Closing & Assessments


A. Debrief: Revising the Big Idea (5 minutes)

  • Remind students in Lesson 2 they participated in a Four Corners activity. Ask them to remember which corner they went to and reflect on their new learning from the articles they read in Lessons 3 and 4.
  • Tell students that considering the research question "Do the benefits of DDT outweigh its harmful consequences?" can involve more than two positions. Explain that claims and evidence they identified can expand their thinking. Tell students they will have the opportunity to change their thinking about the use of DDT.
  • Introduce Four Corners again. Post four pieces of chart paper with different DDT choices in different corners or parts of the room. Explain each of the choices.

-   DDT is beneficial and can be used for many reasons/purposes.

-   DDT is beneficial but only for preventing health problems such as malaria and Lyme disease.

-   DDT is harmful only when used incorrectly.

-   DDT is harmful and should not be used.

  • Ask students to consider each of the statements. Tell students to stand near the statement that most reflects their thinking/position on the use of DDT. Invite students who went to a different corner to share why they chose that comment--in other words, how did their new research change their position? Encourage students to cite evidence.
  • Congratulate students for sharing their different perspectives. Reiterate that it is important to consider different perspectives on their topic and to share that thinking as they learn to develop their own position.


  • Read Chapter 17, "Frightful Feels the Call of the Sky" and complete  Learning from Frightful's Perspective: Chapter 17.

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