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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

The Search: Real Answers for the ‘Write’ People

Project URL: http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/berkowitz/search/search_index.htm


How it works:
This inquiry-based project addresses the need to “write in order to learn”. It prepares the middle school student for researching, collecting information, and organizing data into a ‘mini’ research paper. It employs the student’s interest as a springboard into the project and includes a bibliography as well as a component that helps the student evaluate the reliability of websites and the information that these sites generate. It promotes proper educational/instructional use of the Web, paraphrasing information, writing a report, composing a final reflection, and citing valid sources.

Standards addressed:  
Students demonstrate familiarity with public and functional documents, produce a report of information, make informed judgments about technology-based documents, demonstrate an understanding of the rules of the English language, analyze and revise work for clarity and effectiveness, and respond to non-fiction using interpretive and critical processes.

Materials used:
The students must have access to a computer with Internet, and a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.

The students:
Middle school (grades 6-9) General Education, ESL, and Special Education students are the target population for this project and it can be used as an ‘exit project” as the school year comes to a close. It can be adapted and differentiated for all learning modalities and difficulties.

Overall value:
This project teaches the value of research and the effective presentation of valid informational materials. It creates a student “ownership” of the research process, since the fundamental problem is student-generated. It involves educational use of the Internet and prepares students for high school work that mandates term papers.
Due to the nature of the Internet, this project must be introduced with the Kathy Schrock website that explains how to validate websites. Students must be guided through their choices of topics, and a suggested list of topics can be helpful.

About the teacher:
Elissa Berkowitz Cusano presently teaches across the curriculum from grades 6 through college level. She resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and a few other miscellaneous, imaginary, and real characters. Her hobbies are writing, sending e-cards, and making people happy.


Subject Areas:  
Language Arts

Grade Levels: 



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