We first read the questions found in my FREE product, Kate DiCamillo Research Paper. Next, we opened up two tabs in our computer, www.worldbookonline.com (an online encyclopedia that the county I work for has purchased access to), and the next was katedicamillo.com. Students then searched for the answers to their questions by searching on both sites. The questions on the worksheet are organized into 3 sections: Childhood, Adulthood, and Author. Organizing these questions into three sections helps students later write their first draft into 3 paragraphs.
The students then used their information to write a first draft. We discussed that the research paper needed to start with an introduction as to who Kate DiCamillo was, then they could start talking about her life. Once students were done with their first drafts, we edited them. Finally they wrote their final drafts onto the "Kate DiCamillo" final draft sheet. Students colored the pictures in and the writing was then graded and published in our classroom.
Students were able to see the entire writing process in a fun and fulfilling way. It was exciting to hear students say, "This is so cool!" or "This is the best day EVER." This is especially exciting during this time of the year when every one is burned out.
To top it off, today we did a lesson on primary sources (firsthand accounts) and secondary sources (secondhand accounts). Students were able to refer back to our research and state that the information presented in Kate DiCamillo's website was a primary source, because the "About Kate" section was written in first person. The online encyclopedia was a secondary source because it was written about Kate by others who had done research on her. It was a wonderful connection. Don't you just love it when that happens? Have you done any research projects with your students? If so, I'd love to hear about it. I think our next one will be presented Powerpoint style. I can only imagine the excitement then!
Your Thrifty Co-Teacher,