Launching Research of Natural Disasters | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G5:M4:U1:L2

Launching Research of Natural Disasters

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • W.5.7: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • W.5.8: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can cite evidence from a source to support answers to my research questions. (W.5.7, W.5.8)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Natural Disasters Research Note-catcher (W.5.7, W.5.8)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reflecting on Module Guiding Questions (5 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Target (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Developing Research Questions (10 minutes)

B. Choosing Expert Groups (10 minutes)

C. Expert Group Work: Videos of Natural Disasters (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Launching Independent Reading (15 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your Independent Reading journal.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards: 

  • In this lesson, students consider the focus question for the unit and brainstorm specific research questions to guide their research. Students then watch videos in small groups about a natural disaster and take notes using those categories (W.5.7, W.5.8).
  • The lesson begins with students reflecting on the module guiding questions. This is not mandatory--students share their reflections only if they want to do so. It is important to be sensitive to students' and families' feelings and experiences with natural disasters.
  • In Work Time B, students form expert groups and begin researching a natural disaster. Students choose the natural disaster to focus on in order to take more ownership in the work they complete. Over the course of the unit, they work with a variety of texts, websites, and videos to gather information about their selected natural disaster. Note that the sources selected for tornadoes are at a much higher reading level, so these are recommended for students reading above grade level.
  • Group sizes need not be completely even. It is more important for students to feel excited about the natural disaster they will be learning about and to have some choice.
  • W.5.8 requires students to gather information from print and digital sources. As such, this lesson is designed for students to use internet sources to watch a video. Ensure the technology necessary for students to complete the research is available.
  • Students who finish quickly or require an extension can use a search engine to find their own sources.
  • In the Closing, students choose independent research reading books (RL.5.10, RI.5.10). Consider using the Independent Reading: Sample Plans if you do not have your own independent reading review routines (see the Tools page).
  • Students focus on working to become ethical people by showing empathy, integrity, respect, and compassion as they discuss the module guiding questions and as they work in expert groups.
  • Recall that the research reading that students complete for homework helps to build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to natural disasters.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • In Lesson 1, students were introduced to the module topic and performance task by looking at pictures and texts using the Infer the Topic protocol. In this lesson, they begin researching to learn more about natural disasters to inform their writing for their PSAs.
  • Continue to use Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Some students may need additional support with watching to a video and taking notes. Note that transcripts are available for "Tsunamis 101" and "Hurricanes 101." Consider accessing the transcript for students in these groups to reference as they watch the video.

Assessment Guidance:

  • Review student Natural Disasters Research note-catchers to initially assess how well they can take notes to answer research questions and to identify common issues to use as whole group teaching points in Lesson 3.
  • Consider using the Speaking and Listening Informal Assessment: Collaborative Discussion Checklist during students' small group discussions in Work Time C (see the Tools page).
  • Consider using the Reading: Foundational Skills Informal Assessment: Reading Fluency Checklist or the Reading: Foundational Skills Informal Assessment: Phonics and Word Recognition Checklist (Grade 5) to gather phonics and word recognition data from students' independent reading books in the Closing (see the Tools page).

Down the road:

  • In the next lesson, students will continue working in expert groups to read a new text and add to their research. Students will share their research through a Science Talk later in the unit. They will use their research to write a PSA raising awareness about how to stay safe during a natural disaster in the second half of the unit.

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • Expert Group Natural Disaster signs by writing the name of each expert group natural disaster on a piece of paper: earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, and tsunamis. Post in separate areas of the room.
    • Group the Infer the Topic Resources as follows and post by the Expert Group Natural Disaster signs:
      • Earthquakes: Resources 4, 5, 6, 17,
      • Hurricanes: Resources 1, 2, 3, 18
      • Tornadoes: Resources 7, 8, 15, 19
      • Volcanoes: Resources 9, 10, 14, 21
      • Tsunamis: Resources 11, 12, 13, 20
    • Technology necessary for students to access the links provided on the Natural Disaster Video Links sheet (see Materials).
  • Review the Independent Reading: Sample Plans in preparation for launching independent reading in the Closing (see the Tools page).
  • Post: Learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see Materials).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout Modules 1-3 to create anchor charts to share with families, to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families, and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.
  • Work Time C: Students use web research to answer research questions. There is a page of links (Natural Disaster Video Links) provided for them to quickly locate the videos.
  • Consider that YouTube, social media video sites, and other website links may incorporate inappropriate content via comment banks and ads. Although some lessons include these links as the most efficient means to view content in preparation for the lesson, preview links and/or use a filter service, such as www.safeshare.tv, for viewing these links in the classroom.

Supporting English Language Learners

  • Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.C.10 Important points in the lesson itself
  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs by allowing them to choose which natural disaster they will research, develop their own research questions, and work closely with an expert group to conduct their research. The offering of choice and supportive group work will increase students' motivation and level of engagement as they research their natural disaster during this unit and across the module.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to generate research questions before they have chosen a natural disaster to research. Remind them of the research they conducted in Module 2, and guide the process for developing questions for this module as much as possible. Additionally, ELLs may find it challenging to identify relevant information in their expert group video to answer the research questions (see Levels of Support and the Meeting Students' Needs column)

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • After adding unfamiliar vocabulary words to the Academic Word Wall during Work Time A, invite students to use each word in a sentence with context. This will support their understanding of each word, as well as provide additional context for each word for students who need heavier support.

For heavier support:

  • Consider introducing students to the natural disasters and allowing them to decide which one to research prior to the lesson. Allow students to view the videos and review their notes before deciding. Invite them to prioritize two natural disasters to allow for flexibility when strategically grouping students during Work Time B.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): In order to facilitate effective learning during this lesson, ensure that all students have access to the directions in each activity, and feel comfortable with the expectations. Vary the ways in which you convey expectations for each activity or task. Consider engaging in a clarifying discussion about the directions, or creating an outline of the steps for each activity.
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): Continue to support a range of fine motor abilities and writing need by offering students options for writing utensils. Alternatively, consider supporting students' expressive skills by offering partial dictation of student responses. Recall that varying tools for construction and composition supports students' ability to express information gathered from the text.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Throughout this lesson, students have opportunities to share ideas and thinking with classmates. Some students may need support for engagement during these activities, so encourage self-regulatory skills by helping them anticipate and manage frustration by modeling what to do if they need help from their partners. Consider offering sentence frames to strategically selected peer models. Recall that offering these supports for engagement promotes a safe learning space for all students

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • credible, affect, experience, relevant (L)

Materials

  • Module Guiding Questions anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begin Module 1)
  • Performance Task anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Natural Disasters Research note-catcher (one per student and one to display)
  • Natural Disasters Research note-catcher (example, for teacher reference)
  • Academic Word Wall (begun in Module 1)
  • Domain-Specific Word Wall (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Vocabulary log (from Module 1; one per student)
  • Expert Group Natural Disaster signs (to display; see Teaching Notes)
  • Infer the Topic resources (from Lesson 1; to display)
  • Natural Disaster video links (one per student and one to display)
  • Independent Reading: Sample Plans (for teacher reference; see the Tools page)

Assessment

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Module Guiding Questions (5 minutes) 

  • Direct students' attention to the Module Guiding Questions anchor chart and remind students that in the previous lesson they were introduced to the guiding questions for the module. Review the anchor chart.
  • Remind students that for homework they were asked to reflect on what those guiding questions mean to them and how they feel about them.
  • Direct students' attention to the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart and briefly review the characteristic of respect.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"How do you think respect will help us when we are sharing our reflections?"(Responses will vary.)

Conversation Cue: "Who can add on to what your classmate said? I'll give you time to think and write." (Responses will vary.) 

  • Invite any students who would like to do so to share their reflections with the whole group. This must be voluntary--if no one wants to share, that is okay
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with organizing ideas for verbal expression: (Practicing in Advance) Consider meeting with students in advance so they can practice or rehearse what they would like to share during the discussion. (MMAE)

B. Reviewing Learning Target (5 minutes) 

  • Direct students' attention to the Performance Task anchor chart. Remind them that for the module performance task, they will present an audio PSA about how to be prepared for a natural disaster, and share a disaster kit.
  • Tell students that in this unit, they will work on the PSA part of the performance task. They will write and record the PSA in the second half of the unit. Point out that before they create their PSA, they must research the natural disaster it will be about. Remind them that the PSA will be presented to a live audience so including facts and details from their research will help them ensure their PSA is credible, or trustworthy or dependable.
  • Tell students that today they will begin their research. Explain to students that they will work in expert groups to research a natural disaster, learning about what it is and its impact.
  • Direct students' attention to the learning target and read it aloud:
    • "I can cite evidence from a source to support answers to my research questions."
  • Point out that students have seen a similar target before in previous modules. Tell students that today they will develop research questions, and then form expert groups and begin researching by watching a video about their natural disaster. Clarify as needed

For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: (Practicing Key Words in a Familiar Context) Check comprehension of the word evidence by inviting students to use the word to describe something they are familiar with, such as their school work. Ask: "What evidence is there that you work hard in school?" Provide the following sentence frame for support: "Some evidence that I work hard in school is ________." (MMR)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Developing Research Questions (10 minutes) 

  • Distribute and display the Natural Disasters Research note-catcher and focus students on the question at the top, telling them that it will be the focus of their research in this unit:
    • "How do natural disasters affect the people and places that experience them?"
  • Underline and use the vocabulary strategies on the Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart to review and/or determine the meaning of the following words. Add them to the Academic and Domain-Specific Word Walls and invite students to add them to their vocabulary logs.
    • affect (to cause a change in or have an impact on)
    • experience (to live through)
  • Think-Pair-Share:

"What kind of information do we need to find in order to answer this question?"(Responses will vary, but may include: what happens during the natural disaster, what causes it, what happens to the Earth because of it, how can it damage property, or how can we stay safe during it, etc.)

  • Remind students that as they did in previous modules, when they are researching in this unit they will need to gather relevant information, or facts and details related to the research question, and take notes.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What research questions can we use to guide us in finding relevant facts and details?"

  • Select volunteers to share their ideas for research questions. Guide them to consider the following:
    • Describe the natural disaster. What causes it? What happens during it?,
    • Describe the effects of the natural disaster. What can happen because of it?
    • How can we stay safe during it?

Conversation Cue: "Can you give an example that would answer that question?"(Responses will vary.)
Conversation Cue: "Who can repeat what your classmate said?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Record the chosen questions on the displayed Natural Disasters Research note-catcher. Refer to the Natural Disasters Research note-catcher (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Point out the heading of the last row on the note-catcher: "Other interesting facts." Tell students that this will be a place for them to record any other information they learn about their natural disaster that they want to remember, but may not fit in their other research categories. Clarify as needed.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with motivation: (Transparency) To ensure that the purpose of developing research questions is transparent, cue students to problem-solve:
    • "Can you figure out why we develop research questions before beginning our research?" (Responses will vary, but could include: to guide our thinking as we study the topic; to help us focus on relevant information as we study the topic.) (MME)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with sustained effort: (Providing List of Research Questions) Consider providing a list of possible research questions and inviting students to choose which questions would be best in guiding them toward finding relevant facts and details about how natural disasters affect the people and places that experience them. (MME)

B. Choosing Expert Groups (10 minutes) 

  • Tell students that today they will begin learning about a natural disaster of their choice.
  • Explain that they will get to choose from five natural disasters: earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, or tornadoes.
  • Direct students' attention to the posted Expert Group Natural Disaster signs and the grouped Infer the Topic resources around the room. Read each sign aloud.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"Does anyone see a natural disaster that they know?" (Responses will vary.)
"What experiences do you have with earthquakes? Volcanoes? Tsunamis? Hurricanes? Tornadoes?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Describe the process students will use for choosing the natural disaster. Point out that you have designated part of the room for each natural disaster:

1.Move to the part of the room labeled for the natural disaster you would like to study.

2.Once there, share with the group why you chose that natural disaster.

  • Invite students to quietly and safely move and make their choices. Support them as they make their decisions.
  • Invite students to move to their seats with their expert group.
  • Refocus students on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart and remind them that ethical people treat others well and stand up for what is right. Direct students' attention to the following bullet points on the anchor chart:
    • "I show empathy."
    • "I behave with integrity."
    • "I show respect."
    • "I show compassion."
  • Tell students that to effectively work in groups, they will need to remember these habits of character.
  • Invite students to discuss in their groups which habit they will focus on as they work today. Prompt students as they discuss with questions like:
    • "What habit will you need to focus on in order to do your best work?" (responses will vary)
    • "What habit will you need to focus on in order to be sure you are listening to and including everyone's ideas in your group?" (responses will vary
  • For ELLs: (Strategic Grouping) Make every effort to guide student choices and create expert groups with varying levels of language proficiency.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with organizing ideas for verbal expression: (Sentence Frames) Provide sentence frames for students to use when discussing habits of character in their expert groups. Examples:
    • "One habit I will focus on so I can do my best work is ____________."
    • "One habit I will focus on so I can listen and include everyone's ideas is __________."(MMAE)
  • For students who may need additional support with comprehension: Invite students to share what each habit looks and sounds like during group work. Consider recording responses on a chart for visual reference. (MMR

C. Expert Group Work: Videos of Natural Disasters (15 minutes) 

  • Refocus students whole group.
  • Tell students that over the next several lessons, they will work with different sources to learn more about natural disasters. Tell them that today they will watch a video about their group's natural disaster.
  • Allocate technology, and distribute the Natural Disaster video links.
    • Model how to open and navigate the links. Invite students to use the corresponding link to access their group's video.
    • Invite students to watch their group's video on their own, and then briefly discuss with their group what the video was about.
  • After 4 minutes, refocus students on their Natural Disasters Research note-catcher. Tell students that they will now watch their videos again, this time looking for answers to their research questions. Point out that some of the answers to their questions will be explicitly stated in the video, and other answers will need to be inferred. Tell students that some questions might not be answered in this video, meaning they will need to find additional sources for their research.
  • Focus students on the first research question:
    • "Describe the natural disaster. What causes it? What happens during it?"
  • Invite students to watch their group's video again, watching and listening for the answer to this question. Tell students they may pause the video at any point they need in order to write down their notes. Encourage students to record what they see happening in the video in addition to what they hear. Circulate to support students as they watch to answer this question, clarifying as needed.
  • Invite students to watch the video as many times as they need to in order to find information answering the research questions.
  • Circulate to support students as they work. Remind them to only record relevant information from their group's video, or facts and details related to the research questions. Remind them that the notes they take are to help them remember the facts and information they are collecting to use later in their writing, so they do not need to write in complete sentences. Continue to refer to the Natural Disasters Research note-catcher (example, for teacher reference) as needed.
  • Use a checking for understanding technique (e.g., Red Light, Green Light or Thumb-O-Meter) for students to self-assess against the learning target and how well they worked to become ethical people as they worked in their expert groups today.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with planning: (Displaying Steps for Video Watching) To clarify the purpose and guide students, consider listing on the board each step the groups should follow during the video watching. 1) Watch video and briefly discuss what the video is about; 2) Watch video and focus on answering the first research question; 3) Watch video and focus on answering the second research question; 3) Watch video and focus on answering the third research question. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with strategy development: (Modeling and Thinking Aloud: Identifying Relevant Information) Model and think aloud the process for identifying facts and details that answer the first research question using one of the expert group's videos. As you model, also think aloud what information is relevant and irrelevant, and why. This supports students' understanding of the process, as well as provide a concrete example of relevant information to answer the question. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: (Sharing) Reinforce students' understanding of the kind of information that is relevant by inviting one or two groups to briefly share facts and details they found that answer the research questions. Clarify as needed.
  • For students who may need additional support with auditory processing: Provide transcripts of the video content for students to use as they view the video. (MMR)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Launching Independent Reading (15 minutes)

  • Refer to the Independent Reading: Sample Plans to launch independent reading.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with sustained effort: (Taking Breaks) Provide opportunities for students to take breaks at predetermined points. Let them choose from a list of appropriate break activities (e.g., getting a drink of water, stretching, etc.). (MME)
  • For students who may need additional support with recruiting interest: Provide students with additional time to browse and select a text for reading, while offering an opportunity for students to share how this text will help support their reading goals. (MME)

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your Independent Reading journal.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing fluency: (Oral Response) Read aloud, discuss, and respond to your prompt orally, either with a partner, family member, or student from Grades 4 or 6, or record an audio response. (MMAE)

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