Improving Research Note Taking Skills

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1 Notebook Exercises Improving Research Note Taking Skills SUBJECT: All subjects LIBRARY MEDIA: Grade: 6 12 TIMEFRAME: 60 minutes INTRODUCTION: The Common Core Standards for English Language Arts state that students should be able to read texts thoroughly for important information and details, extract certain pieces of evidence, and synthesize information from a number of different sources. It is important that students develop both their reading and writing skills across various media, and be able to evaluate the information that they gather from different sources to answer a question. This lesson plan incorporates research note taking on a digital platform. It requires students to draw from a number of different sources and synthesize information under an overarching investigation. Students will learn how to analyze and assess the information they are given before choosing which ideas are most important. Furthermore, students will paraphrase these ideas in their own words, showing that they internalized the information and fully comprehended the ideas. Finally, the Common Core Standards advocate the use of technology, integrated throughout each of the standards, to help students become more technologically literate. EasyBib s Notebook tool helps students develop their reading skills through our easy-to-use online program. OBJECTIVE: 1. Independently read and comprehend different sources 2. Identify the main points of each source 3. Evaluate which ideas are the most valuable in the investigation 4. Paraphrase the information extracted from each source in the student s own words 5. Understand that various media can be used to answer a single question MATERIALS: Computer with internet access EasyBib s Notebook tool 5 to 6 different sources on the same topic, all of different media (book, internet source, photograph, painting, cartoon, table, film, speech, newspaper, radio clip court case, etc.) PROCEDURE: 1. This assignment should be done independently, to encourage independent student research and to assess their individual researching note taking skills. 2. Hand each student the research question or topic. This is the overarching investigation that the students should attempt to answer at the end of the assignment with the resources that they are given. 3. Have the students analyze the research question as a class. Identify the key words. What, specifically, is the student being asked to do? What elements must be included? What are some of the conditions? By analyzing the question

2 as a class, each student will understand the full complexity of the question and know what they are supposed to do for the assignment 4. Next, hand each student a packet of sources. Using EasyBib s Notebook tool, the students should take notes on each of the sources. For each source, the procedure for note taking should be as follows: 1) Before taking any notes, the student should use the EasyBib citation tool to create a new citation for this source. Students can either auto-cite or manually cite their source. 2) When the student comes across a significant quote or idea, the student will create a new note in the Notebook tool. In the Quote field, the student can either enter a quote or an objective summary of what is presented in the source. 3) In the Paraphrase field, the student can paraphrase the quote and add in their comments on the idea presented in the source. 4) The student must then assign the note to its source. 5) This note taking procedure can be repeated as many times as necessary throughout the source. Every idea should get its own note. 5. After the student has taken notes on all of their sources, have them review their notes one last time. During this process, students can pick out main themes that stretch across multiple sources, and come up with a few tags to assign each note with. Students can use the List View on the Notebook to see how their notes have been reorganized based on their tag. 6. Finally, have the students print out their notes to hand in to the teacher for assessment. They can find this button at the top of the Notebook, which will take them to the easy-to-read print view. ASSESSMENT: Though no student s notes should be exactly the same, good notes should all have the same characteristics: - Breadth of notes across each source, not just concentrating on one or two - Insightful paraphrasing of the key ideas in each source - Relevance to the research question - Organized by multiple layers of tags to show relationships between information - Depth of thought and accurate understanding of each source SELF-EVALUATION: At the end of this assignment, students should have met the objectives outlined at the beginning of this lesson. Additionally, they should have furthered the skills outlined in the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, depending on their grade level. The Note Taking Exercises should not be a single lesson plan, but rather a reoccurring exercise for the students to improve their range of readings, both in complexity and diversity, and independence of research. The exercise should also provide a new and more precise way of taking notes. However, students should be encouraged to be creative

3 with their method of taking notes, as long as the method still achieves all the same objectives outlined in the lesson plan. EXTENSION: Students may complete the research process after their notes are evaluated by organizing the information they have collected into an outline. The tags they initially created during the note taking process should assist in grouping key ideas. The sequencing and organization of information can be conducted on the outline part of the Notebook tool. Finally, the teacher can have the students write their research paper based on this outline. The works cited should already be created in their account. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: FOR ONLINE ARTICLES: New York Times CNN TIME FOR VIDEOS: Explore.org Science videos Wired Science from PBS History Channel POLITICAL CARTOONS: MSNBC COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Common Core Standard 8th Grade Expectation How the lesson plan Anchor Reading Standard 1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. CC.R.IT.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text Students choose a specific quote that best supports their analysis for each note created in the Notebook.

4 Common Core Standard 8th Grade Expectation How the lesson plan Anchor Reading Standard 2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. CC.R.IT.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text. Students will determine the central idea of the text and will summarize ideas through paraphrasing and note taking. Anchor Reading Standard 7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. CC.R.IT.8.7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea. Each packet of sources will include a variety of different source types so that students can familiarize themselves with using multiple media to research a topic. Anchor Reading Standard 8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. CC.R.IT.8.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced EasyBib s Notebook teaches students to deconstruct the argument of each source by identifying main quotes/ideas and paraphrasing them in their own words. Students can pick and choose which evidence they find relevant or not. Anchor Reading Standard 9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. CC.R.IT.8.9 Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation Students will read multiple sources in order to answer the same research question, some of which may conflict. Anchor Writing Standard 7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. CC.W.8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration All sources that the students will take notes on in this exercise will be under a focused research question to further the students knowledge of the subject.

5 Common Core Standard 8th Grade Expectation How the lesson plan Anchor Writing Standard 8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. CC.W.8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation Students will take notes from multiple sources to answer the research question. They will also practice citing each source on EasyBib s bibliography composer. Anchor Writing Standard 9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. CC.W.8.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. a. Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literature (e.g., Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new ). b. Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced ) Unifying the note taking exercises under a single research question shows that the student is not just taking notes blindly, but with a research goal in mind.

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