LESSON FOUR: Topic Choice Deepens/Keywords/Research



Students develop a basic understanding of keywords searches, expand their possibilities for a topic, and determine a final topic/animal of study.



R3C         Use details from texts to answer questions, retell main idea and important details, organize a sequence of events, identify simple cause and effect, draw conclusions, compare and contrast texts, identify author’s purpose for writing text, and make inferences about problems and solutions.

IL1          Formulate keywords and questions to investigate topics.

IL1          Locate information on keywords in provided resources.



§         Sources of literature 


§         Supplies 

o        Computers

o        Chart paper

o        Linking Word chart

o        Writer’s notebook/pencils


§         Handouts provided

o        Linking Word chart


§         Words to know

o        author’s purpose

o        cause and effect

o        compare

o        contrast

o        draw conclusions

o        keywords

o        retell

o        main idea



Teacher observation, viewing of student notebooks, anecdotal records, and linking word chart.




1.        Students share animal topics they are considering researching.


2.        Tell students there are many animals to choose from. Discuss “linking words”. Example: if a student is interested in bears, what words could they search for? (polar, hibernate, mammal, etc.) Post and model Linking Word chart for students.

Name of Animal                      Linking Words


Sea animals, calf, humpback, mammal, blowhole, blubber




Amphibian, cold-blooded, tadpoles, green-eyed tree frog




Scales, gar, bass, fins, pond, ocean fish, leisure sports




3.        Use the nonfiction animal picture books used in Lesson One to guide student choice and expand possibilities if students are having difficulty selecting an animal to research.




Create a “Linking” word chart on chart paper. Read aloud one of the nonfiction animal picture books. Students help locate/identify words that could be used during the keyword searches.







How do you decide on key words?

How important are key words?

What process should we use to develop key words?

How many key words should have?

Will some key words be more helpful than others?


4.        Tell students that another way to locate information is through the internet, specifically, Yahooligan’s. www.yahooligans.com. This site can be utilized to expand ideas for topic choice (key word searches). It can also be used to gain research information and articles. Students continue listing animal ideas in their writer’s notebook.


5.        Students narrow their topic choice to three. Students share with peers and make a final decision.


6.         Think-Pair-Share





      How Does It Work?
1) Think. The teacher provokes students' thinking with a question or prompt or observation. The students should take a few moments (probably not minutes) just to THINK about the question.

  2) 2)  Pair. Using designated partners, nearby neighbors, or a deskmate, students PAIR up to talk about the answer each came up with. They compare their mental or written notes and identify the answers they think are best, most convincing, or most unique.

  3) 3)  Share. After students talk in pairs for a few moments (again, usually not minutes), the teacher calls for pairs to SHARE their thinking with the rest of the class. She can do this by going around in round-robin fashion, calling on each pair; or she can take answers as they are called out (or as hands are raised). Often, the teacher or a designated helper will record these responses on the board or on the overhead.


7.        Develop an anchor chart that includes each student’s name and the animal they choose to research and study


8.        Students complete the “linking” word chart for their own animal. As research progresses, students may add to this chart.