I used the same instructions with fifth graders when I had a combo class.
The hardest part of the report is teaching them introduction and conclusion. The most effective lesson I have taught is to give them a non-fiction article with the introduction and conclusion cut off. We did one together, one in small groups, one in pairs, and one alone.
One of the things I really emphasize is that they may never, ever, EVER begin a research report with the words "My (or This) report is about..." or end with "This is the end of my report. I hope you liked it."
My school is holding a "Celebrate the World Day." All the students from Kindergarten to the sixth grade will be getting a random country to report on. The students are going to make a large quilt, but I've decided to add on a research project along with it. I'm planning on taking a trip to the local library as well. I think it would be a good experience for the students to get familiar with the library and the research tools there. I think researching a country would actually be fun and easy. You can even integrate it with math and have them calculate the costs to visit the country.
*Students were assigned an explorer of the New World (Americas -Lief Ericson to Lewis and Clark).
*They composed a list of things they would want to know about their person before finding materials-brainstorming (place of birth, reasons for expedition, discoveries, accomplishments, etc.) This list was typed on the computer to revisit as a friendly reminder of what to look for in their research throughout the writing process.
*The students went to the computer lab to find web pages and pictures of their explorer. The printed information was collected and put into Manilla folders for student access when reading for information (the articles and pictures will be given to our librarian after we are finished to keep for other students research to reduce duplication of printing).
*Students were told to write information that they discovered with their own "voice" in the writing while starting the paper with three choices for a lead; question, action or image to grab the readers attention.
* We traced the students body onto white bulletin board paper (in various poses) and cut them out. They draw their explorers facial features and dressed with clothing from the era including other props (spyglass, sword, hats, naval decorations on uniforms...).
*The "explorers" are hung in the hallway identified with their names written on sentence strips above their heads and the research papers also accompany the person.
Great project and students are excitedly invested and engaged with awesome outcomes.
with mine, since 4th grade did states and 6th grade did biographies! They are going to write 5 paragraphs, turn in 30 notecards, fill out an outline that I set up for them (next year, they have to write their own, but it's their first real experience with it, so I helped them organize it), then write and have me check off one paragraph at a time. They also get their first experience with an MLA formatted bibliography! I have a packet if you're interested - just pm me with your email address!
Some research projects I have used with my fifth graders include:
a travel brochure about the country of their heritage
a magazine about the Roaring 20's
a World War II scrapbook
biographies of famous Americans ( no athletes)
a Cattle Drive report based on different jobs on the trail
I see lots of people gave great ideas...but are you looking at walking them through the research process? I have hand-outs I've made for note cards, outlining, writing a rough draft, citation, etc... I'd be happy to e-mail them if you send me a PM....I use them with 6th grade for a 5 page paper with a poster, 3-D, and a speech but it could easily be used for other projects.
Mine are doing the human body. They are going to pick a system and do a ThinkQuest (they have kids ThinkQuest). My principal has to sign up the building and I need to play around with it, but we have 4 weeks before we start. Because it's so involved they are going to work in groups (which I don't usually have them do). I haven't quite worked out all the kinks but I will be happy to post the assignment and rubric when I do it.
If ThinkQuest doesn't work out they are going to pick a system and research how to keep that system healthy.
Our school is starting a new pilot program after Spring Break where we are teaching a 4-5 week unit on something from our content area. I am really at a loss of what to teach. I feel our students need help with the research process, but all of this is due by Wednesday of this week (3/31/10) and I have to even have a syllabus to give to our principal. I would love any great ideas you have or things you've created such as the note cards, outlining, rough draft, etc. I teach 6-7th graders and this sounds great. Would you mind sending me anything you have?
I will check it later this evening. Hopefully, I can get some great ideas from you. I really appreciate this so much. :-)
We do a research paper on people from the American Revolution. As a culminating activity, the children put on a living museum. They dress up like the person they researched, we gather in the gym and each students stands behind a table. We invite the whole school to come and visit our museum. The kids take on the persona of their person and give a speech about their life when children arrive at their tables. We then have a pizza party at lunch and watch National Treasure.
Please send me the information that you have for walking students through the research process, this is our first time and I am so random I really need to offer them a structure that they can maintain, Thanks