Lesson Plan

Researching & Presenting Expository Material

Use simple tools to gather and present a wide range of information
Chris H.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning, Science, Social Studies, Arts, Health & Wellness

Students will be able to explore a wide breadth of information on a topic, gathering resources quickly and easily. From there, students will be able to refine their expository intent and final output as they develop a dynamic multimedia presentation. While the web applications and approach is focused on scoail science, it is easily transferrable to most expository situations where students will need to research, refine, compose and present. 

English Language Arts
English Language Learning
Social Studies
Health & Wellness
Grades 7 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

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To introduce the project, host a class discussion based on recent classroom studies, or a topic of inquiry. Using the mind-mapping tool Bubbl.us, track and develop students’ input in regard to the web of information that has been learned in class, through prior experience, or through extrapolation and connection. This web will likely look different for each class, and that is perfect! 

Use the organic conversation as a teaching moment, modeling for students how to synthesize, group and connect their emerging thoughts on a topic. Bubbl.us allows easy adaptation and alterations to a web diagram without any of the scratching out and erasing that comes with traditional mind mapping. 

In my classroom I would create a class generated mind map, taking time to explain my thinking and the user-friendly tools of bubbl.us, so that students may later replicate the process on their own. A digital copy of the class work can be screen-shot and place on a class website, or printed out for student reference. The goal is to develop a framework of topics that students may choose from to guide their online research. 

When students experience this type of thought processing of information by teachers, they are given the permission for their own synthesis of information to be plastic and moldable based on the information that is gathered and deemed important to share. 

Student Instructions

Add your insight and point-of-view into the class discussion. Incorporate direct information learned in class in addition to identified relationships to previous knowledge and outside information.

This is a perfect time and place to ask some of the larger unanswered questions you may have in regard to the subject matter, as it may become something that you may want to research further. 

2 Direct Instruction

Using the class generated mind-map as a guide, teach students how you would approach thoughtful research online. 

Begin by creating a topical collection page using Scoop.it. Sign up is quick and easy for teachers and students.

Note: Be mindful to have studetns be consistent with their log-in creation so you may be able to help them log in later if they are forgetful about usernames and passwords. In my classroom, we go "old school" and each student has a postcard with a list of their school use usernames and passwords that I keep locked away for the days someone forgets!

Work around the class mind map and have students give suggestions for how to seek out topical information. Guide students through the challenge of finding valuable search terms. Share your analysis of source valadity as you "Scoop" the resources onto your collection page. Remind students that in the beginning phases of research it's important to gather a wealth of knowledge so you may currate an argument or exposition.

Visit each of the reccomended sites that studetns will be using to showcase the seach tools that are built into each of the services. Additionally, while bibliographic information may be complied officially later (thanks in most part to the ease of Scoop.it gahering your resources in one easy spot), note as you visit resources the sort of information that is important to proper citation. 

Student Instructions

Involve your inner sleuth to seek out hidden answers on the web. Work with your teacher and classmates in order to gather a wealth of knowledge on your chosen topic. 

Allow the experience of gaining new information to aid in the formation of new ideas and connections. 

Be sure to note all the valuable and reliable resources available to use for your own research, noting which you feel would provide the sort of information you would be most drawn to learning more about. 

Follow teacher guidelines as you create a Scoop.it page of your own so you may begin to curate research of your own. 

3 Guided Practice

Provide students with jumping off points for meaningful research sources. Some varied options are posted here, but the list of valuable sources is certainly not limited to these, and must vary based on the type of research being executed. 

Encourage student to "Scoop.it" when the come across information that is perfect for their topic, info that is somewhat related, and even arguments countering the aim of the research. The more knowledge a student gains in regard to their topic, the more well rounded their presentation may become. 

Student Instructions

Using your new Scoop.it page as a one-stop-shop for all the information you gather on your research topic, hit the waves as you web surf to find new and interesting connections. Remember, if you're finding all this information on the web, which means folks out there know this much about it already. It's now up to you to make new meaning and new connections between the vast arrays of information at your fingertips. 

4 Independent Practice

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Google Drive
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Prezi Classic
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Note: The steps that follow are in that squishy middle ground of classroom learning that occurs during any individualized project where all the students are doing different things. This used to be super scary for me, but now I live in the moment, making teachable moments come to life for individuals, small groups, or the whole class when the moments arise. It's important to do a bit of digital tool teaching or research-analysis teaching at the beginning of each working period based on how the previous day of period went. And, pairing students that can learn and be helpful to one another is key as they can usually solve most of their technical issues while you can focus on the academic and critical thinking.

Have students use Bubbl.us to synthesize and map out their gathered Scoop.it information. Based on their findings, have students create a multi-media expository presentation to share out their thesis. Great and intuitive tools for this are a presentation in Google Drive, or a more dynamic option is Prezi. 

Drive is a great option for classrooms, but does require some set up, and on a large scale, some strategic digital-classroom management. Prezi on the other hand is a bit more engaging for the creative types willing to take on a challenge. The tutorials are essential for beginners, as the tools are very specific to Prezi and must be understood in order to utilize all the sweet functions it has to offer. 

Based on your preference of citation, have students double back to their Scoop.it page to create a bibliography or works cited. Be specific with your citation requirements when you begin the presentation creation portion of the project, so students know best how to meet the specifications as they go along. 

Student Instructions

Bring all your research together in an interesting and creative way by developing a multimedia presentation to share out to your peers. 

To begin, be thoughtful about what information you're going to deliver and how best to relay the information in a logical way for the viewers of your presentation. Use the Bubbl.us web application to help formulate your thoughts on this matter. 

Once your plan of attack has been determined, use Google Drive's presentation to create a traditional two dimensional slide-show or raise it up a notch to 3D and use Prezi to make your information that much more dynamic. 

Be mindful to cite your sources as defined by your teacher’s specifications. 

5 Wrap-up

It's likely that you will want to incorporate the creation of a rubric earlier into the lesson so that students know what to work toward, however, this is where it will come into play. 

Consider that the rubric should not be too overbearing, but should include rankings of acceptable work in the areas of initial research, presentation creation, works cited, as well as the execution of the presentation for an audience. 

Rubistar has a number of pre-populated options based on a number of commonly assessed criteria. The best thing is that the content is easily edited and altered to fit your particular scenario, expectations, and/or student generated concepts of acceptable work. 

As peers will be sitting through a number of presentations, perhaps less engaged then you may hope, have a couple peers complete rubric assessments for each presenter, so that they may receive a variety of feedback from different audience perspectives. 

Student Instructions

It's go time! Use the assessment rubric to guide the presentation you give to your teacher and peers and perhaps other invited guests. 

Additionally, be a kind audience member for your other peers who will be presenting as well. 

Give critical feedback to your peers so that they may improve their presentation skills.