Standard Lesson

Using Web-Based Bookmarks to Conduct Internet Research

2 - 3
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Three 30- to 40-minute sessions
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Internet research can be an overwhelming endeavor for primary students! Using Web-based bookmarks to guide students to appropriate sites can make their research more productive and focused, while still providing them with valuable learning experiences in media literacy. In this lesson, students first listen and respond to a read-aloud of The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown, and then use the structure of her writing to write poems describing important things about themselves. Students then do research on a content area topic (in this case, butterflies) by visiting websites accessed through, a free site that teachers can use to create collections of bookmarks. Students use the facts gathered in their research to compose an original poem on the topic, again following the structure of The Important Book.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • There are multiple types of literacy, including Internet content literacy, which require students to be efficient at decoding, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing text they read on the Web.

  • Web-based bookmarking, the process of creating a list of favorites or bookmarks and storing them on the Web, allows teachers to effectively link the Internet to instruction.

  • Web-based bookmarking allows students to quickly and easily access Internet content from a variety of genres, sources, and content areas, while also increasing time on task.

  • Because the teacher previews all links before exposing them to students, safety on the Internet is improved.

  • Web-based bookmarking allows access to virtual learning for all students no matter what developmental level or learning needs.


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.
  • 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of 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.

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access and printing capability

  • One computer connected to a data projector

  • The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown (HarperTrophy, 1990)

  • Chart paper and markers (or overhead projector and blank transparencies)



1. Familiarize yourself with The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. You may wish to be able to have all students view this book at once during the lesson. To do so, you can either make an overhead of each page or scan each page into a PowerPoint presentation.

2. Choose a Web-based bookmarking service, such as You will need to register for the site by entering your name and e-mail address, but registration is free. Then simply add your chosen bookmarked websites, following the instructions on the site. For this lesson on butterflies, visit and familiarize yourself with the four websites listed. If these sites are not appropriate for your students or you would like to choose a different topic for the lesson, post a selection of sites on your own iKeepBookmarks website to share with students in Session 2.

3. Make a large copy or an overhead of the "Important Points" Graphic Organizer 1.

4. Make one copy of the "Important Points" Graphic Organizer 1 and the Graphic Organizer 2 for each student in your class.

5. Make a large copy or an overhead of the Assessment Rubric. [You may also choose to adapt this rubric or create one on your own using RubiStar.]

6. Before Session 2, make a large copy or overhead of the sample poem you have chosen to use for the class discussion (see Session 1, Step 15 and Session 2, Step 1).

7. Set up a data projector connected to a computer with Internet capabilities for use in Session 2.

8. If you do not have access to a computer lab or enough computers for all students, there is an alternate suggestion provided in Step 11 of Session 2. This option requires you to copy a blank K-W-L Chart for each student and gather a collection of books about butterflies (see the Butterfly Booklist).

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Demonstrate an understanding of text that is read to them by actively participating in a whole-class discussion about it

  • Compose a writing piece based on a specific text structure and topic

  • Develop inquiry/research skills by participating in the development of research questions and accessing predetermined websites to find the answers to their questions

  • Gain knowledge of a content area topic (in this case, butterflies) and demonstrate the ability to synthesize information through a writing assignment

  • Develop media literacy skills by accessing a variety of websites for the purposes of researching information about a topic

Session 1

1. Seat students comfortably around you to facilitate class discussion and enable you to more easily observe them for assessment purposes.

2. Ask students to think about something that is important about each of them individually. Some guiding questions include:

  • What do you think is important for other people to know about you? You might want to give an example, such as, "I think it is important for people to know I am a teacher." If answers are off-topic, you can provide additional suggestions, such as, "I think it is important that I have five sisters."

  • Why do you think those things are important?

  • Do you have a pet? Would the same types of things be important about your pet? Why or why not?

  • What would be important about your pet?

Have students orally share the important things about themselves with a partner.

3. Introduce The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown, and tell students that this book is also about important things. Ask them to listen for the important points as you read the story aloud.

4. After reading, briefly discuss students' impressions of the book. For example, ask them to choose a favorite passage. Why did they choose that passage? Were there any words in the book that intrigued them? What were the "important things"? Record their responses to these questions on chart paper.

5. Ask students if they noticed anything interesting about the way the author wrote the book. How are the passages similar? How are they different? The purpose of this discussion is to guide students to construct their own understanding of the structure of the text. That is, guide them to note that the first and last lines are almost the same. (First line: "The important thing about...." Last line: "But the important thing about....") The middle lines are descriptive passages about the item on the page.

6. Record students' responses in a way that will allow them to use the same structure as a model when writing their own poems later in the lesson.

7. Refer to the large copy or overhead you prepared of the "Important Points" Graphic Organizer 1 (see Preparation, Step 3). Refer students to the questions along the top row of the chart and write your name above the questions.

8. Choose a student to ask you each of the questions that are along the top of the chart. Answer the questions, and write your responses in the appropriate cells.

9. Direct students to note that the last cell in the top row is blank. Ask them to come up with one more question they would like to ask you. Record your response to their question in the appropriate cell on the graphic organizer.

10. Using a large sheet of chart paper and working as a whole class, construct a poem about yourself based on the structure of The Important Book. Begin by asking students how the first line should read. Their response should be "The important thing about [your name] is...." (Refer them to the chart to choose something to include here.)

11. Continue this process by having students compose the middle of the poem, using the graphic organizer as a reference. Then ensure that the last line reads, "But the important thing about [your name] is [repeat text from the first line]."

12. Distribute blank copies of the "Important Points" Graphic Organizer 1 to each student. Ask students to work with a partner to fill in the graphic organizer about each other, similar to how you did with the whole class.

13. Refer students back to the structure used in Brown's book and the class poem they created about you, and ask them to draft a poem about their partner using the graphic organizer they just completed as a reference. Let students know that they will be working through the writing process, and that this version is just a draft.

14. Allow students time to draft their poems and share them with their partners.

15. Circulate while students are working to offer assistance as necessary. In addition, choose one draft poem to use in Session 2. You will want a draft that follows the correct structure closely and uses appropriate and varied vocabulary. Ensure that the student is comfortable with your using his or her work as a model with the class. Alternately, you can prepare another poem yourself about another teacher or one of your family members. You may wish to include a couple of spelling errors and leave opportunities for students to improve the final version.

Session 2

1. Prepare a large chart or overhead of the draft poem you selected (or wrote yourself) in Session 1. Post it for students to read to themselves or read it aloud to them.

2. Ask students if the author has followed the structure appropriately. For each response, ask them, "How do you know?" Record their responses on the board or on chart paper.

3. Ask students what the draft poem needs to prepare it for publication. Responses might include the correction of spelling and punctuation errors, the inclusion of more interesting words, and so on. Record their responses.

4. Show students the Assessment Rubric you have prepared (see Preparation, Step 5). Ask them to look at the first and second categories only (i.e., text structure and evidence of research) and rate their own drafts. Then tell them to put their drafts in their writing folders so that they can return to them at a later date.

5. Tell students they are going to write new poems to describe important things about butterflies, following the same steps they did to write the poems about their partners. This time they will be using the Internet to research information about butterflies.

6. Using a data projector connected to a computer with Internet access, show students the website or your own website with links to the sites about butterflies that you have chosen for students to view.

7. Tell students that they are going to visit the websites on this page and gather information about butterflies to use in their writing. Remind them that the title of their poem will be "The Important Thing About Butterflies," so they should be researching the websites for important information.

8. Distribute a blank copy of the "Important Points" Graphic Organizer 2 to each student. Guide them to recognize that this organizer is similar to the one they used in Session 1, except there are no questions filled in across the top. Tell students that they will be developing these questions together as a class.

9. Work with students to develop a few research questions. To assist them in developing good questions, refer back to the discussion you had in Session 1 regarding "important things," in particular when you talked about students' pets. Initially, accept any questions they suggest. Then go through a process of discussing each question and deciding as a group which ones would be the most important to find out about a butterfly. It is important for students to understand that, when designing questions for research, you cannot answer all questions. Good scientists try to answer the questions they think most people would want to know the answers to. The following questions are recommended, but feel free to omit those you do not feel are pertinent and add your own:

  • What is a butterfly?

  • What does it eat?

  • Where does it live?

  • What are some types of butterflies?
Direct students to write one question in each of the cells across the top row of their graphic organizer. You may need to model this on chart paper as they are working on their sheets.

10. Provide time for students to visit the websites available at the site. If you do not have access to a computer lab or there are not enough computers for every student, have students:
  • Work in pairs

  • Begin a K-W-L Chart (What I Know, What I Want to Know, What I Learned) about butterflies

  • Use a selection of books (see the Butterfly Booklist) to begin their research
11. Emphasize that students are to visit all of the websites listed, even if they find the answers to their questions on the first site. This is always a good idea, as the information found on the Internet is not always accurate and it is important to use several sources to verify the information they find.

Session 3

1. Allow students time to complete their Internet research and finish filling in their "Important Points" Graphic Organizer 2.

2. Inform students that they will be using the information they found through their research to compose a poem about butterflies, using a similar structure as was used in The Important Book.

3. Review the expected structure of the poem by rereading and examining excerpts from the book and the sample poem students created as a class in Session 1.

4. Review the Assessment Rubric introduced in Session 2.

5. Have students develop drafts of their poems, using the graphic organizers they filled in while researching on the Internet.

6. After revising and editing the drafts, have students write and illustrate their finished poems. Have them also use the assessment rubric to evaluate their own poems before turning them in.

7. After all of the poems have been collected, bind them into a book to be placed in the classroom library.


  • Poems can be published in a word-processing program, such as Microsoft Publisher or Word.

  • Students can self-select a topic for their poem.

  • To further develop their media literacy skills, students could be asked to use specific criteria to evaluate several websites placed in the Web-based bookmarking folder.

  • Although this lesson has the teacher selecting the topic for the poems, it is very open ended. Students could each choose a mammal to write about, a historical figure, a weather phenomenon, etc. The teacher would need to bookmark websites accordingly.

  • Students could develop their own Web-based bookmarks based on teacher or class suggestions.

Student Assessment / Reflections


  • To assess students' participation and responses during the read-aloud and discussion portions of Session 1, use the Observation Checklist provided. Note that this checklist is open ended, allowing it to be used in many group situations.

  • To assess students' computer skills and their abilities to access Web-based bookmarks, circulate while students are working on the computers and ask them the questions provided on the Media Skills Conferencing Form. Please note that you would not attempt to use this form with all students at this time. Select a few students to evaluate during each Internet research project you conduct, making sure to conference with all students at least once throughout the school year. If you do not foresee future opportunities for students to participate in Internet research, you may opt to have students conference with one another using this form.

  • Use the Assessment Rubric to evaluate students' finished poems.


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