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Lesson Plan

Research Building Blocks: Notes, Quotes, and Fact Fragments

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Research Building Blocks: Notes, Quotes, and Fact Fragments

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 60 minutes
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Instruction & Activities

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • use a variety of graphic organizers to connect important ideas in text to prior knowledge and other reading.

  • demonstrate an accurate understanding of information and differentiate between fact and opinion.

  • interpret concepts or make connections through analysis, evaluation, inference, and/or comparison.

  • collect and analyze information relevant to the topic.

  • discriminate between relevant and irrelevant information.

  • access and use information from a variety of sources.

  • organize, synthesize, and paraphrase/summarize information.

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Instruction & Activities

  1. Discuss note taking with the students. Provide them with the following definition: "A note is a "fact fragment"—a piece of information that will become a complete thought in the writing process."

  2. Explain to students why notes are important:

    • Too much information to write down if you were writing complete sentences

    • Plagiarism—discussion topic
  3. After the students understand the concept of why note taking is needed, model taking notes with the students by completing Notes and Quotes Activity #1.

  4. It works well if students can see the paragraph while the teacher is writing fact fragments identified by the students.

  5. Fact Fragment Frenzy is an online activity that students can complete in small groups. This interactive requires students to locate key vocabulary in a passage and drag it over to a work area to create their own fact fragments. The work can be printed out as an assessment of their understanding of the thought process involved in finding key words without plagiarizing.

  6. The next part of note taking is turning the notes, or fact fragments, into sentences. This step is important because it turns information you find into your own words. Model the process of turning notes into sentences by completing Notes and Quotes Activity #2.

  7. It is useful for students to be able to see the orginal notes while constructing sentences. The first two sentences could be whole class and moving to small group and finally the last sentence would be contructed by each student.

  8. Using the fact fragments created and printed out by the small groups, students can practice turning their fact fragements into sentences.

  9. Once notes have been taken and sentences written, the students need to learn how to organize the sentences into paragraphs. The teacher can model the process by completing Notes and Quotes Activity #3 as a whole class.

  10. Using the animal sentences created in small groups, ask students to move from sentences to paragraph construction.

  11. When the students have had guided practice with note taking, sentence writing, and the creation of paragraphs, they are ready to get started on their own research report!

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  1. Observations during modeling of skills will help the teacher determine if students are ready to attempt the tasks in small groups.

  2. Based upon samples collected from small groups, some students might require a conference to receive more instruction before attempting the task with multiple sources independently.

  3. As part of the guided practice students will be asked to find fact fragements in sample nonfiction passages on animals. Students will print their finished product from the fact finding online activity. The teacher should examine those for accuracy before asking students to find facts in multiple sources independently.

  4. As part of the guided practice students will be asked to use the fact fragements found in the sample nonfiction passages on animals and turn them into complete sentences. The teacher should examine those to make sure concepts were portrayed accurately without plagiarizing the text before asking students to move from finding facts to writing sentences independently.

  5. Again by asking the students to use the sentences they have completed to formulate paragraphs, their understanding of the process can be checked before they move on to implementing this strategy with less familiar content.

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