Information Reports

We recently started our unit on information reports so I thought I'd share how I introduce them! I'm having my fourth graders complete their first one on a California mission. In order to prevent the often common "parent report", I take my students through the ENTIRE research process before even assigning  their individual reports. Yes, this can be time consuming, but it does in fact make them much less reliant on their parents for help at home. Many parents have told me that their children aren't even asking them for help anymore. Yay!

For this report I chose a mission, San Rafael, that I will not assign to any of my students. This is the one that we are completing right now, whole class. We first discussed the ways in which we collect research information and I spent some time on the projector modeling how to research online.

Then I photocopied a packet I made from a book on Mission San Rafael and we went over how to determine which information is important. We discussed methods of highlighting and using brackets. See example...

Next, we had a few lessons on paraphrasing and learned how to put the information into our own words. I also created a notebook for each student that they could use to take notes in during our research process. (I also later created one that they could take home for their individual report).

Inside the notebook I just have blank pages with a box for the topic. Students can simply write the title of the report section in the topic box and take notes on it.

I then model how to transfer the notes into complete sentences as well as methods for making sure they include all of the required info. At the end of this process, students have an example of research, note-taking, and a report that they can use as a model at home when they complete their individual mission report. The quality and research in the reports have improved so much since I started taking them through every step of the process! 

I know not many teachers out there assign mission reports but in case you are interested, I bundled all of the research templates, report requirements, rubric, and more that I use for my mission reports! Click below to check it out in my store. What kind of reports do you assign? I'd love to hear what steps of the process you take your students through! 

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