Gathering Information about Screen Time: Assessing and Reading Internet Sources, Day 1 | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M4A:U2:L9

Gathering Information about Screen Time: Assessing and Reading Internet Sources, Day 1

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can gather relevant information from a variety of sources. (W.7.8)
  • I can use search terms effectively. (W.7.8)

Supporting Targets

  • I can use search terms effectively to gather relevant information about screen time and the adolescent brain.
  • I can evaluate a source's accuracy and credibility.


Ongoing Assessment

  • Researcher's notebook, sections 7-9


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Independent Reading Check-in (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Preparing for Internet Research (5 minutes)

B. Internet Research (28 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Turn and Talk: Challenges of Online Research (2 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Continue independent reading (at least 20 minutes)

  • In this lesson, students conduct an independent reading check-in as a means of seeing how the independent reading is going midway through the unit. Please see two separate stand-alone documents on "The Importance of Increasing the Volume of Reading" and "Launching Independent Reading in Grades 6-8: Sample Plan," which together provide the rationale and practical guidance for a robust independent reading program. You may wish to spend time before this lesson reviewing the independent reading materials and the recommended texts so they can better meet your students' needs.
  • Recall that in Module 2A/2B, students were introduced to the research process. They practiced generating supporting research questions, gathering information from multiple sources, and paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism (W.7.7. and W.7.8). They did not, however, find and evaluate sources, which is part of this module.
  • In this lesson, students begin working to research supporting questions. This lesson is written assuming the use of computers to search the Internet and recommends the use of a student-friendly search engine, such as Sweet Search.
  • If computer or Internet access is not possible in your classroom, consider arranging a visit to your school's library or computer lab or a public library. You may wish to have a research specialist (such as a school or public librarian/media specialist or social studies teacher) come in to talk about and teach Internet research skills.
  • Post: Learning targets.


accuracy, credibility


  • Independent Reading Check-in (one per student)
  • Researcher's roadmap (from Lesson 1; one to display)
  • Researcher's notebook (begun in Lesson 4; one per student)
  • Assessing Sources document (from Lesson 1; one new blank copy per student)



A. Independent Reading Check-in (10 minutes)

  • Distribute the Independent Reading Check-in and instruct students to fill it out individually and quietly.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Preparing for Internet Research (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to look at the displayed researcher's roadmap. Orient them to where they are in the research process based on the roadmap. Ask them to turn and talk to a partner:

*   "What steps have you already taken?"

*   "What steps have you already taken but will need to repeat?"

*   "What steps do you still need to do?"

  • Listen for: "I have already initiated inquiry, have an overarching research question, and have gathered background information about the topic"; "I have gathered some sources but will have to keep getting more information"; "I have learned how to find sources using effective search terms"; and "I have asked lots of questions, and I'll turn some of them into supporting research questions."
  • Ask students to look at their researcher's notebook and read the overarching research question aloud.
  • Tell them that effective research begins with asking a question. Remind them that they have already written many questions that they have about screen time. Ask them to look through their researcher's notebook and star two questions that they may want to research further today.
  • Give students 2 minutes to reread their questions. Then, ask them to turn and talk with a partner about their supporting research questions and identify one question they will try to understand during this class.
  • Some students may have, or may be having, difficulty with identifying or selecting an appropriate supporting research question. Consider how you might support these students: developing a bank of possible questions, sample/model questions, or perhaps assigning questions in extreme cases.
  • Call on a student to report the question he or she will research in class today. Ask students to turn and talk to a partner about what might be effective search terms to use when searching for an answer to this question on the Internet. Cold call several students to share their answers.
  • Repeat this process with two or three students, asking them to explain why their search terms are effective. Listen for them to say that the words are "specific" or "unique" and "use context terms appropriately."
  • When possible, have students who need physical activity take on the active role of managing the distribution and collection of materials.
  • Consider calling on students who struggle to report on their questions so the class can assist them in generating search terms.
  • If students struggle to write or select strong supporting research questions, consider providing question stems or model questions for them to modify for their research.

B. Internet Research (28 minutes)

  • Tell students that they will have the next 25 minutes to find an article that answers their chosen research question. They should read the article and add information to their researcher's notebook.
  • Distribute a new Assessing Sources document for today's work. Remind students that they have used this document before, and they will need to again evaluate their source(s) today based on this document.
  •  Read aloud the second learning target:

*   "I can evaluate a source's accuracy and credibility."

  • Ask students to turn and talk about what makes a source accurate and credible.
  • Then ask the class to popcorn-share ideas that will help determine a source's accuracy and credibility.
  • Remind students that they should paraphrase their reading and keep all the information about their source in their researcher's notebook so they can properly cite it later using the MLA format.
  • Let students know that sources can differ in the information they give students about their publications. Students may find this to be the case especially regarding Web articles and websites. Assure them that for the moment, they only need to put forth their best effort to find the citation information in such a case.
  • During this work time, you may want to pull out a small group of students to support in finding and recording their resources for Internet research. Some students will need more guided practice before they are ready for independent work.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Turn and Talk: Challenges of Online Research (2 minutes)

  • Ask students to turn and talk:

*   "What is challenging about research online?"

  • Cold call a few pairs to share their thoughts, and "problem solve" the challenges as a class.
  • Collect the researcher's notebooks for formative assessment. They will be given back to students in the next lesson.


  • Consider selecting students ahead of time for cold calls. Those who need practice in oral response or extended processing time can be told the prompt before class begins to prepare for their participation. This also allows for a public experience of academic success for students who may struggle with on-demand questioning, or for struggling students in general.


  • Continue independent reading (at least 20 minutes).

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