Biography: Taking Brief Notes (Day 2)

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SWBAT gather information from print sources, take brief notes, and sort evidence into provided categories in a step book.

Big Idea

Students continue applying what they have learned in the previous four lessons to conduct research about their famous person for the Biography Tea.

Modeling and Guided Practice

15 minutes

I started the lesson by having student discuss what they had done in the previous lesson. I was listening for the keywords brief notes and organization. This let me know they understood the main idea of the lesson. I continued the lesson by modeling reading from a biography about Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and writing brief notes on the corresponding section of my step book. I focused on adding to the accomplishments (works and awards) step. Taking a cue from students during yesterday’s lesson, I used a transparency and dry erase marker to underline the information. I read a few more pages and students helped me identify information that could be included on the accomplishments step. They also helped convert sentences into brief phrases. If I read information about his family or childhood, I added it to the appropriate step to demonstrate to students that research is not linear. Information can appear any place in the book. This required students to evaluate information to determine its placement within the provided categories.

Independent Practice

40 minutes

For independent practice, students read their biographies and took brief notes on their step book. They used transparencies and dry erase makers to underline the information. Sometimes they were able to use the table of contents to jump right to a chapter about accomplishments. Other times, I had to read with students to find the information if they could not. They were children’s biographies, so it was an easy read for adults. If necessary, I would skim the pages until I found the information then direct the student to that page. They would read and find the information on their own. I did this because I did not want students to become frustrated during their first major research project by looking for information that was not clearly labeled.


10 minutes

I used a rubric to assess students’ ability to take brief, legible notes and sort evidence into provided categories. I focused on legibility because if students are not able to read their notes later, they will have difficulty writing the final essay. Students worked with multiple steps in the step book during this lesson, so I also assessed their ability to sort evidence in provided categories. Grouping notes effectively will aid students in meeting CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.2.A, which dictates they group related information together when writing informative text.