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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



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From Theory to Practice



Through a teacher-modeled activity, students learn the importance of finding the words in sentences and paragraphs that contain the facts they need. Students then practice finding these fact fragments in small groups using an online activity. Next, they turn fact fragments into complete sentences written in their own words, moving from teacher modeling, to small group work, to independent practice. Finally, they arrange the sentences they have created into complete paragraphs.

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Fact Fragment Frenzy: This online activity offers an animated think-aloud demonstrating how to find important fact fragments in a nonfiction passage. Students then practice the skill by dragging fact fragments onto a notepad.

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Teaching the process and application of research should be an ongoing part of all school curriculums. It is important that research components are taught all through the year, beginning on the first day of school. Dreher et al. explain that "[S]tudents need to learn creative and multifaceted approaches to research and inquiry. The ability to identify good topics, to gather information, and to evaluate, assemble, and interpret findings from among the many general and specialized information sources now available to them is one of the most vital skills that students can acquire" (39). In "Nonfiction Inquiry: Using Real Reading and Writing to Explore the World," Stephanie Harvey also stresses the importance of nonfiction: "Nonfiction enhances our understanding. It allows us to investigate the real world and inspires us to dig deeper to inquire and better understand." (13)

Further Reading

Dreher, Jean, et al. 2000. Easy Steps to Writing Fantastic Research Reports (Grades 3-6). New York: Scholastic Professional Books.


Harvey, Stephanie. "Nonfiction Inquiry: Using Real Reading and Writing to Explore the World." Language Arts 80.1 (September 2002): 12-22.

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