One of the school district’s goals is for students to be more familiar with the process of research. In order to do this schools must teach students how to research topics. Currently, teachers are expected to have students create a model with artifacts and a research paper. Students in the gifted and talented program will be expected to present the projects during a showcase scheduled in May. For students to be able to research their topics they must be introduced to a variety of tools and shown how to use them. One of the tools students need to know how to use is the encyclopedia. Because student must cite different sources, research begins with the basics. Students must be shown how to write questions to investigate. They need to know how to use their own knowledge of a topic and take notes without plagiarizing. This process has already begun. For this reason, I chose to do a lesson that introduces the encyclopedia as a research tool. Since our school also has a fully certified computer lab teacher, she will continue the lesson with the online version of the encyclopedia.
As a classroom teacher with a class of my own, I first did the lesson with my students. I have a set of encyclopedias in my room and did not need to schedule library time for it. I wanted to gauge the amount of time my lesson would take because I was only allotted a 45 minute time slot that would include checking out books as well. This also better prepared me to plan with the librarian, classroom teacher, and computer lab teacher. Planning was difficult at best. None of us have a common planning time. After school tutoring is mandatory for the entire staff Mondays through Thursdays. The only available day that was left to meet was Fridays. This meant that time was short and very valuable. Decisions about the lesson would need to be made quickly. Luckily, the preparations were done in advance and I was able to make minor adaptations to the lesson because the class was a grade below the one I usually teach. According to Loertscher’s Taxonomy, we did level 8 planning; scheduled planning in the support role. The TEKS that were addressed fall within the English Language Arts under writing/research. TEK 20 states: The student uses writing as a tool for learning and research. The student is expected to: (A) write or dictate questions for investigating, (B) record his/her own knowledge of a topic in various ways such as by drawing pictures, making lists, and showing connections among ideas, (C) take simple notes from relevant sources such as classroom guests, information books, and media sources, and (D) compile notes into outlines, reports, summaries, or other written effort using available technology. In order to do this, the students need to learn how to find the information first. The classroom teacher will continue the lesson by teaching the students how to take notes after they find their information.
TEK: 2.20 The student uses writing as a tool for learning and research.
Loertscher’s Taxonomy: 8 Scheduled Planning in the Support Role
Audience: 2nd grade class
Objective: The student will locate given information in the encyclopedia.
Materials: Encyclopedia set, Look It Up booklet, pencil
Content: English Language Arts
Procedure: Pass out Look It Up booklets to students. Ask students if they ever had to look up something. Ask students what they had to look up. Ask students where they looked up their information. Tell students to turn to page 1 of their booklets. Point out the dictionary on the page. Read and discuss what kinds of things you look up in a dictionary. Point out the telephone book. Read and discuss what information is found inside of a telephone book. Point to the encyclopedia. Read and discuss what things you look up in an encyclopedia. Discuss the arrangement of the encyclopedia. Explain that like a dictionary, an encyclopedia is arranged in alphabetical order. It tells us about important people, places, and things. Explain that each book of the encyclopedia is called a volume. Encyclopedias come in sets and they are lettered and numbered. Ask students if they ever looked anything up in an encyclopedia. Discuss the process of looking things up. Explain how to look up topics, names of people, and names of places. Guide students with given set of topics. Ask what volume they would use to look up the topic oceans. Continue with topics until students grasp the concept. Tell students to turn to the next page in their booklet. Explain that they have a set of encyclopedias on that page and some topics and names. Tell students that they need to write the volume number of the encyclopedia they would use to find the information next to the topic or name. Give time for all students to finish. Conclude the lesson by reviewing what was learned and why it is important to know where to look for information in the correct spot.
I felt the lesson went fairly well. Students participated well and supplied plenty of answers when asked questions. For most students, it was their first experience with an encyclopedia. Time was a large factor in cutting the lesson short. I had intended to have the students look up topics inside of the encyclopedias. Given only 45 minutes to do the lesson and leave enough time for the students to check out book was challenging. As a classroom teacher, my schedule is flexible and I could take extra time on a lesson if need be. As a future librarian, I will need to learn to cut lessons to make them shorter. In hindsight, I should have taken a timer. The class barely had enough time to check out their books and we found another class waiting to come in. I will need to work on this and find solutions so that no classes are left waiting.