Standard Lesson

Exploring Careers Using the Internet

6 - 8
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Five or six 60-minute sessions
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What does it take to be an animal trainer, a park ranger, or a crane operator? Students will learn about these careers and more as they research a wide variety of occupations the world has to offer. In this multisession lesson, students begin with a discussion of blogs and the concept of careers. Students choose careers that interest them or that they want to pursue, use online resources to research career options, and then publish occupational summaries to a class blog. To prepare students to write a blog entry, they discuss writing styles appropriate for an online format and view several examples of existing blogs. Students then use their research to write, share, and revise occupational descriptions, edit and proofread revised drafts, and publish final descriptions online. The resulting class blog is discussed as a class and sent to their target audience of students, teachers, and parents connected with their school.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • "Teachers who use the Internet attest that it enables students to perform at high levels of literacy, induces them to write more fluently, fosters keen audience awareness, and challenges them to develop critical reading skills."

  • Teachers often use the Internet to facilitate collaboration through online dialogue and to share information with the global village (i.e., other teachers and students).

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access

  • Chart paper and markers

  • Overhead projector and transparencies




1. Review Classroom Blogs and Wikis and Blogger in the Classroom to find practical tips for working with classroom blogs. Explore some of the example blogs listed and select a few to share with your class.

2. Visit Blogger and explore the Take a quick tour and Discover more features pages to familiarize yourself with the site.

3. Set up your classroom blog on Blogger, following the website’s straightforward instructions. You will need to include a list of links to Web resources for students, allow for Comments on blog posts, and add a site visitor counter. Refer to the Steps for Setting Up a Blog Using Blogger handout as needed. Be sure to follow any relevant school or district policies.

4. Familiarize yourself with the following three websites, which students will use during the lesson, and any additional sites you may choose to add so you can guide students to use them effectively for their research.
5. Fill out a sample Careers Note-Taking Form describing the occupation of teacher. You will use this as a model in Session 1 as you guide students in using the form.

6. Print the Career Sign-Up Sheet and post it on a classroom wall or bulletin board to track the occupations students are researching.

7. Print all other printouts from the Resources section (Careers Note-Taking Form, Blogging Information Sheet, Occupation Description Rubric, Blog Entry Publishing Checklist) and make a copy for each student. Also print a copy of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010–11 Edition, entry on Actors, Producers, and Directors.

8. If necessary, schedule time in the school computer lab for Sessions 1 through 4. If students do not have Internet access at home, you will also need to arrange time for them to use school computers to complete the homework assignments after each session.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Develop information literacy by learning the features and processes that allow for information exchange in a blog format

  • Access prior knowledge by discussing career options and reviewing the writing process

  • Practice research skills by investigating various careers in online sources

  • Apply prewriting strategies by generating ideas and organizing their research information

  • Synthesize and organize information to write summaries of career information

  • Apply standard writing processes to create and publish brief informational texts

Session 1: Careers Research

1. Welcome students to this lesson designed to help them explore career possibilities and share their findings in a classroom blog. Explain that they will gather specific information about various occupations, including educational requirements, typical work tasks, and necessary skill sets.

2. Tell students that they will each write three short occupation summaries and post them to a classroom blog you have created. Show students the main page of the blog (using a computer attached to a projector, an overhead transparency, or a color printout). Point out the list of links to online resources they will be using for their research, and the visitor-tracking gadget that counts visits to the blog. Note: You may choose to have students research more (or fewer) than three occupations.

3. Explain that the lesson will include group discussions, online research, in-class writing periods, homework assignments, and publishing students’ writing to the blog. Students will also have the opportunity to promote the blog within the school community.

4. Discuss the concept of career with students. The following questions can be used to guide the discussion (modify as necessary to meet students’ needs):
  • What is a career? (Answers may include: a chosen profession, a job, or occupation pursued as a long-term or lifelong activity.)

  • What careers have we studied in class?

  • What were the careers of some of the people we’ve studied this year?
Invite several volunteers to share careers that they find interesting or that they want to pursue.

5. Explain to students that their occupational summaries should contain information that would be relevant and interesting for a school audience, which could include classmates, other students and classrooms, teachers, and parents. Ask students what types of information they think would be important for an occupational summary for this audience. Also ask what types of information about occupations they personally find interesting. (Answers may include: daily tasks, pay rates, educational requirements, necessary skills, specialized training, typical work schedule, availability of jobs in a given position, possible career growth, famous/notable people who have held the job.)

6. Label a piece of chart paper or a list on the chalkboard “An Occupation Summary Should Include...” and list features of a good summary, as agreed upon by students. (Answers may include: thorough description of occupation, clear writing, research from reliable sources, interesting facts, text written with audience in mind.)

7. Distribute copies of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010–11 Edition, entry on Actors, Producers, and Directors. Guide students in pointing out specific elements of the sample that meet the requirements listed on your chart, or that otherwise contribute to the usefulness of the entry. (Answers may include: major topics covered, facts seem accurate, clear writing, interesting information, appropriate writing style for format and audience, proper grammar and mechanics.)

8. Briefly explain (and if possible, demonstrate) the site layout and the location of the search box on the Occupational Outlook Handbook and websites. Have students work individually to view various careers described on these sites and select three that they are interested in writing about. Instruct students to enter their three choices on the Career Sign-Up Sheet posted in the room. Explain that duplicate selections will not work for this lesson but that there are many, many occupations to choose from. Encourage students to report on lesser known or unusual selections (proofreader, astrophysicist, park ranger, animal trainer, daycare provider, jewelry maker, crane operator), as well as more popular career choices (doctor, lawyer, construction worker, teacher, singer). Briefly meet with any students who are having difficulty finalizing their choices and offer ideas based on your knowledge of those students’ interests.

9. Distribute the Careers Note-Taking Form and, if you wish, work as a class to modify the form, incorporating additional items from your class discussion.

10. Explain the homework due before the next class session.

Homework: Students should use the online resources provided to research their occupations, recording their findings on the Careers Note-Taking Form. Encourage students to focus on including information that they consider necessary, as well as particularly interesting, to their target audience (e.g., classmates, other students, school staff, parents).

Session 2: Working With a Blog Format—Discussion and Writing Practice

1. Review the assignment from Session 1. Invite students to comment on what they have learned so far and ask any questions they have.

2. Introduce a discussion of the blog format by inviting students to tell you what they know about blogs. Ask students
  • How many of you read blogs?

  • What types of blogs do you like?

  • Who do you know who writes a blog?
3. Guide students through a discussion of blog basics, including the origin of the word (blog is short for weblog, or a log kept on the Web.) Explain that a blog is a website featuring regular entries containing new content. Posts may consist of personal writing (similar to a public journal), news or pop culture events, or information about a specific topic or theme. Note that blog can be used as a verb, as in “I’m going to blog about the movie I saw Saturday night.”

4. Show students some examples of blogs, and guide them in identifying some common features:
  • Original text (the entries)

  • Photos and graphics

  • Links to other online sources related to the topic at hand (e.g., other blogs, articles, sites, databases)

  • A comment function, which allows readers to respond to each entry if they choose
Ask, “What are some benefits of communicating through a blog?” (Answers may include: anyone can start one, easy to direct people you know to the content you want them to see, convenient way for people to access information, easy to update, promotes dialogue, possible to correct errors even after publishing, people enjoy reading blogs.)

Distribute copies of the Blogging Information Sheet handout for student reference.

5. Outline the writing process students will use for the blog. Explain that they will begin by writing first drafts of their occupation descriptions based on information they have recorded on the Careers Note-Taking Form. Remind them to make their writing appropriate for the intended audience (students, school staff, parents); provide interesting, relevant information about the occupations; write to the agreed-upon target length (200 words per occupation, or whatever length you think would work well for your students). Discuss the conventions of online text, pointing out that it typically communicates relevant information with as few words as possible.

6. Distribute the Occupation Description Rubric for students to refer to as they write. This rubric reinforces your earlier discussion and allows students to self-assess their work.

7. Briefly model the writing process for students by beginning to draft a short description of the occupation of teacher on a transparency or the chalkboard. Keep this demonstration short—no need to complete a full draft. Refer to your own Careers Note-Taking Form and think aloud as you write, explaining any changes you make. (Reasons may include: sentence doesn’t make sense, fact doesn’t add anything important to the overall description, need to add educational requirements, misspelled a word, adding something my audience would like to know.)

8. Allow students about 20 minutes in class to begin writing first drafts of their occupational descriptions. Walk around the classroom and provide quick feedback to individual students as needed. Comment on particularly interesting facts, ask leading questions as appropriate, and prompt students to refer to the Occupation Description Rubric.

9. Bring the writing time to a close. (At this time, students are not expected to have completed their descriptions.) Time permitting, invite a few students to share what they have written so far. Ask other students to suggest something they would still like to know about the occupation being described.

10. Thank students for a great session. Assign homework for the next session and answer any questions students may have about the assignment.

Homework: Before the next session, students should complete the Occupation Description Rubric and the first drafts of three occupation descriptions. Remind them to consider their audience and the format as they write. Students should also spend some time exploring the classroom blogs you have linked from your blog.

Session 3: Preparing Blog Entries

1. Introduce the session by explaining that students will now prepare their drafts for posting to the class blog, by reviewing and revising their three occupation descriptions.

2. Briefly review the revision process, using the text you wrote during Session 2. Display your draft on the overhead projector and read it aloud. Stop to make a few obvious changes, explaining those changes using the think-aloud technique. (Adapt this review as necessary to meet your students’ needs—for most middle-grade students, this information should be thought of as just a “refresher.”)

3. Allow students about 45 minutes to work on revising their drafts. Remind them to refer to the criteria on the Occupation Description Rubric. As students work, walk around the room to guide and encourage them.

4. Discuss the process of adding descriptive tags (called labels) to blog entries. Explain that these tags can help organize the blog by topic and help visitors find related entries. Have students brainstorm and reach agreement on a list of relevant tags for your blog. Occupation entries could be tagged, for example, with labels indicating education level required (high school, trade school, college, graduate degree); location (office, outdoors, school); and related academic subjects (science, social studies, arts, phys ed).

5. At the end of class, collect students’ completed Occupation Description Rubrics.

Homework: Before the next session, students should spend additional time exploring the classroom blogs in your link list, as well as other blogs they wish to investigate on their own. They should also search for any images they would like to include in their entries. (Make sure to explain that any images they use must be in the public domain.)

Session 4: Publishing the Blog Entries

1. Distribute copies of the Blog Entry Publishing Checklist and explain that students should use the handout for guidance as they proofread and publish the final versions of their occupation descriptions. Emphasize that proofreading is a crucial step in the writing process, because it is nearly impossible to compose anything without making a few mistakes.

2. Have students work in pairs or small groups to proofread their entries and fill out their checklists. Then provide time for students to read through their descriptions again individually, looking for and correcting the types of minor errors noted on the checklist. Make yourself available to answer any questions.

3. Model for students the procedure for adding an entry to the class blog. Explain the process as you sign in to the blog and create a post. After demonstrating with your post, walk the whole class through the process for one of their entries, step by step.

4. Provide time for students to publish their remaining descriptions. Circulate around the room to offer guidance and assistance. Remind students to complete each step along the way, including
  • Give each post a title

  • Add any images

  • Add tags

  • Proofread and check spelling
5. Students who finish publishing before class time is up should begin reading their classmates’ entries.

Homework: Before the next session, any students who did not get all three descriptions published should complete the process. Each student should read at least 10 blog entries posted by classmates, and should add a comment to one or two entries. (Comments might include an interesting fact a student happens to know about a particular occupation, or mention of a friend or relative working in a given field.) Students should also think about ways the class can promote the blog to your school community.

Session 5: Promoting the Class Blog

1. Welcome students to the final session of the Exploring Careers lesson. Invite volunteers to share one or two occupation descriptions written by others that they found especially interesting.

2. Ask students why promoting the class blog is a good idea. (Answers might include: so people know the blog exists, to share the information they found, to highlight useful and interesting aspects of the blog, to increase readership and get reader feedback.)

3. Have students brainstorm a list of ways to promote the blog. Record their suggestions on chart paper or the chalkboard. (Answers might include: word of mouth, posters in the hall, e-mail campaign, public address system announcement, ad or article in the school newspaper.)

4. Guide students in deciding which promotional activities they should implement. Distribute promotional tasks to volunteer “PR reps.”

5. Have the reps report back to the class once they have launched the promotion, and set aside a few minutes here and there during the following week to check in with students about how well the promotions have worked. Tell students to
  • Watch the number of visitors logged by the visitor tracker

  • Pay attention to how many comments visitors are adding

  • Note which entries seem to be most popular

  • Keep track of how often people outside the class mention or ask about the blog


Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Observe and guide students during in-class writing, proofreading, and publishing exercises.

  • Collect students’ Occupation Description Rubrics at the end of Session 3 to ensure that students have completed the self-assessment tasks.

  • Collect the Blog Entry Publishing Checklist at the beginning of Session 5 to verify that students have completed the publishing tasks.

  • Immediately following Session 5, invite students to share their reflections on the project in a class discussion. The following questions can be used to guide the discussion:
  • What did you learn from this lesson series?

  • What did you find most enjoyable about exploring careers?

  • What did you especially enjoy about working with a blog?

  • Did researching various occupations or reading your classmates’ entries pique your interest in a career you had not considered before?

  • What was the most surprising thing you learned about one of the occupations you researched?

  • Why is it important to proofread your work?

  • Why is it a good idea to write with your audience in mind?

  • What have you learned from readers’ comments on your blog posts (if any)?

  • Has this project inspired you to start your own blog?

  • Name something we didn’t cover in class that you wish we had covered.