Lesson Plan

Informational Researching and Writing

Through the lessons in this app flow, students will be taught to research and write about an informational topic.
Jeromy W.
Media specialist/librarian
Terry Elementary School
Selma, United States
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to produce an informational piece of writing after researching a nonfiction topic.

In this unit, the lessons will be specific to learning about owls, although the lessons can easily be adapted to fit any nonfiction topic of study. This is at least a two-week lesson that will produce up to a four paragraph informational writing piece.

English Language Arts
reading comprehension
using supporting evidence
writing clearly
life cycle
Grades 1 – 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Introduction

Begin this lesson by showing the students the BrainPOP Jr. video on how to read nonfiction text. It is important to discuss the video contents after viewing. On a chart paper list the things the students remember about important aspects of reading nonfiction books. This chart paper can be left up all year for the students to access the information. It will be important to highlight the following:

  • Nonfiction is about real people, places, events, and things
  • Find nonfiction in newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, biographies and diaries.
  • Nonfiction book parts:Title
    • Table of Contents
    • Glossary
    • Index
  • How to read nonfiction:
    • Read in small sections to find the information you want.
    • Stop and think about what you read.
    • Look at the pictures.
    • Read the captions and labels that accompany the pictures.
    • Take notes as you read on a graphic organizer.


2 Hook

Show two fiction stories about owls to gain student interest in owls.  Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal on TumbleBook Library (this is not yet on the Graphite site, but is a wonderful resource). Also show Owl Moon by Jane Yolen on Discovery Education Streaming. These fiction books will get students interested in learning about owls. They are fiction stories, but have some nonfiction components to them.

After showing the book videos start a KWL chart about owls. Ask the students to tell you everything they know about owls. At this time discuss the fiction and nonfiction parts of the story Little Hoot and Owl Moon to help prompt conversation about owls.

Student Instructions

Students will tell what they know about owls to fill in the KWL chart.

3 Direct Instruction

Next read nonfiction books about owls.  These books can be read throughout the unit. Continue adding to the KWL chart after reading or viewing information about owls. It is important to keep the KWL chart up throughout the lesson, and even after the unit is complete, for the students to access the vocabulary for their owl related activities and owl writings.

Some great nonfiction owl books include (just to name a few):

  • Owls by Gail Gibbons
  • Owls by Mary R. Dunn
  • National Geographic Readers: Owls by Laura Marsh

You will need many more owl related nonfiction books for this unit to help with student learning.

Show the Analyzing Owl Pellets section of the Discovery Education Streaming video “Riverbanks Zoo and Garden Roundup: Zoo Yuck-ology!”


4 Guided Practice

Activity: Reading

Guided the students through reading owl books and taking notes on graphic organizers. Help them keep track of the notes they take and their journal writings in an organized way. Help them organize their data in sections such as, habitat, diet, appearance, life cycle, and human impact. Have the students take their notes and do their journal writings under each of these headings to later help them organize these into paragraphs. Use small group instruction to help the students understand what information goes under each heading. Have a lot of discussions about why certain information goes in each area. Utilize chart paper to organize the information collected together throughout the unit. Leave all of the chart papers up for reference but encourage the students to not copy your work.

Student Instructions

Have the students use what they remember from the Discovery Education Streaming video to complete the virtual owl pellet dissection at Kidwings.com. This will be the first introduction to Kidwings, so you will need to guide them through the process of getting started. 

5 Independent Practice

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Throughout this unit have the students write in their journals. Each time you read a story or show a video about owls have the students add information to their journals. Remind them that they can use their journal for their final writing piece and the more they have in their journal the easier it will be to write a complete informational piece.

Student Instructions

Once the students have heard and viewed books, watched videos, researched information and participated in activities they will be ready to write. Have the students log into their Google Accounts. They will need to access Google Drive and create a Google Document. Students need to title their document, so they can easily find it in the future.

Students will independently uses their journal and notes to write their informational essay. At this point they will not use books, websites, magazines or other documents to write from. The purpose only using their notes is to ensure the use of their own words and not copying from other texts. They will remember to write information in the correct area for each paragraph. Students will use the spell checker to help them with correct spelling. They will use correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spacing.

The students need to share their work with you. They will then need to sit with you to edit their writing. With some students you may want to make notes on the shared document for them to make corrections. I find that there are some students who are not able to yet take suggestions and make changes from teacher notes. The editing process will need to vary for each student. 

6 Wrap Up

Free to try, Paid

As a final activity for this unit use the word cloud generator Tagxedo. In Tagxedo upload a picture of an owl. Have the students copy and paste the words from their essays into Tagxedo. They can choose the font and color of their Tagxedo. Print the word clouds out for each student.

I have the students print their work. They can decorate a cover to make their work into a book. They can also put their owl word cloud in their book. For final publishing I have the student read their writings in the author’s chair. They can can show their pictures and word cloud to the class.

For further publishing students can use Kidblog to blog their writings. I like to send out their blogs to teacher friends and other people who I trust to comment on their work. Students love to log in to read what others have to say about what they wrote.