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Making Research Fun Again

By: Maurita Burden, Ed. S.


High School English Teacher
Tidewater Writing Project

Making Research Fun Again is a lesson on using research in the classroom.


Oftentimes, there is not enough time allowed in the pacing guide to complete a research
paper. To be honest, it is not really tested on the SOL; therefore, it is not really relevant in
the lower grade levels. I feel there are some basic research skills needed and each students
should be required to learn by certain grade levels. The students did not have the time to
accurately complete an actual research paper; therefore, they complete a research project.
The students were given three topics to choose from, along with, several articles to read.
During this process, I was able to re-teach summarizing, paraphrasing, and using quotations.
The class discussed plagiarism and create citations. I wanted a quick and effective way to
teach the basic research components, making it fun and exciting for my students. In
addition, the students were able to research while being able to integrate technology by
using google classroom and google slides.
The purpose for this activity is to show students the importance of research writing via an
exercise in both written and oral expression. Often times, research writing is not taught in the
schools until 12th grade. AP and NWP teachers generally agree on what skills are needed and that
these skills should be a part of standard curricula (Purcell, Rainie, Heaps, Buchanan, Friedrich,
Jacklin, Chen, & Zickuhr, 2012). The research skills should be a part students writing abilities.

Therefore, I wanted a lesson that teaches my students to use better online research skills.
Students can be savvy researchers if they are taught how to use key words. (OHanlon, 2013).
My students feel like they are awesome researchers; however, they requires some guidance.
Finally, I wanted a lesson where students are not just copying quotes, but actually summarizing,
paraphrasing or finding the best quotes to use from the text. There is no time for students copy
and paste, rather learn to summarize key points (Callagher, 2015). The learning objective for my
research unit is the student will be able to construct a (Research Project) using research elements
with minimal errors.
The following materials are needed in order to make this lesson engaging and useful.
First, the student use the rate a topic handout. The students will have Chrome Book or Think
Pad, this is the main tool needed for research and construction the project. In addition, the
following handouts are needed: Notes of Summarizing, Paraphrasing, Quotations, and
Plagiarism, Action and Scope Magazine articles What Will Happen to Cecil Killer by Brian
Levinson, Sugar Shock by Lauren Tarshis and Too Dangerous for Kids, Summarizing,
Paraphrasing, Quotation Documentation Graphic Organization, the Research Project PowerPoint
Guide, Research Project Google Slide Template, Research Project Rubric, and Notes on MLA
Format.
The following steps are used in my classroom. (This lesson is for a Research Unit.)

Step 1: The student will complete the Rate-a-Topic Handout. Even though, I have
chosen three topics, I am still going to give them a choice.

Step 2: The students list/web all they know about Research Writing and MLA.
This gives me an opportunity to create notes.

Step 3: The teacher will give notes using Cornell Note Taking Skills. (Student
will only take notes on needed information on Research Writing and MLA.)

Step 4: The teacher and students will view Stopping Word Thieves
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/plagiarism-stopping-word-thieves and discuss the
various ways plagiarism happens.

Step 5: The teacher and students will listen to Brave by Sara Bareilles and
Roar by Katy Perry and discuss the similarities of the two songs. Next, (in small
groups) the students will create a list of songs that are similar and discuss the
plagiarism aspects of the songs.

(Note: For Steps 6-11, all reading selections and graphic organizers are displayed on the
Interactive White Board and the students Chrome Books.)

Step 6: The teacher and students will review and discuss summarizing and the
teacher will give notes summarizing.

Step 7: The summarizing lesson is modeled using the non-fiction selection


Killed for Sport from Action Magazine and we summarize the article whole
group using the Summary Graphic Organizer.

Step 8: The teacher and students will review and discuss paraphrasing and the
teacher will give notes paraphrasing.

Step 9: The paraphrasing lesson is modeled using the non-fiction selection How
Candy Conquered America from Scope Magazine and create a paraphrase using
the Paraphrase Graphic Organizer.

Step 10: The teacher and students will review and discuss quotations and the
teacher will give notes on how to choose quotations.

Step 11: The quotation lesson is modeled using the non-fiction selection Too
Dangerous for Kids from Action Magazine and choose 3 quotes using the
Quotation Graphic Organizer.

Step 12: (In Small Research Groups) The students will read an article given by the
teacher and choose to summarize, paraphrase, or find 3 great quotes to use in their
research project. (Articles How Candy Conquered America, Killing for Sport:
Cecil the Lion, and Kids and Extreme Sports are found in Scope and Action
Magazines.)

Step 13: (Independently) The students will construct a research project using the
MLA format on the following topics Extreme Sports, Killing for Sport, and
Candy. The student must find 2 additional articles and positive and negative
effects pictures.

The students really enjoyed this lesson because it utilized music, videos, technology, and topics
that are interesting.
Sources:
Callagher, M. (2015, October 20). Teaching Effective Research Skills to Middle and High
School Students. Retrieved August 12, 2016, from http://markcallagher.com/teachingeffective-research-skills-to-middle-and-high-school-students/

O'Hanon, L. H. (2013, May 20). Teaching Students Better Online Research Skills.
Retrieved August 4, 2016, from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/05/22/32erstudentresearch.h32.html

Purcell, K., Rainie, L., Heaps, A., Buchanan, J., Friedrich, L., Jacklin, A., Chen, C., & Zickuhr,
K. (2012, November 01). Part IV: Teaching Research Skills in Todays Digital
Environment. Retrieved August 4, 2016, from
http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/11/01/part-iv-teaching-research-skills-in-todaysdigital-environment