Recently my oldest son came home from school with a 10-paragraph research paper assignment. After choosing The Holocaust as his topic, he set out to gather knowledge and facts. His teacher gave the students an organizational tool which involved index cards. Basically, he was to brainstorm 10 broad topics related to The Holocaust and write them on 10 different index cards. Then as he set out to gather his research, he was to have at least 5 index cards containing information and/or facts to go with each of the topic cards. These would eventually help him to develop his 10 paragraphs for the research paper.
While I thought this was a great organizational tool and a very concrete way to help the students stay on topic, I quickly realized that this method was probably not the easiest for all kids. While he did fine, I would see him occasionally shuffling through cards and getting them mixed up. It got me thinking about those students we all have in our classes who have true struggles with organization and would stand to lose research because they misplace or mix up their cards.
This graphic organizer follows the same organizational pattern as the index cards, but has students writing all facts for each paragraph on one sheet of paper. So for my son’s research paper assignment, he would have had 10 pages to keep in a folder, as opposed to several index cards. Obviously, students would have one organizer for each paragraph of their paper, no matter the length of the research paper that was assigned. I believe there is a place for both types of organizational tools and there are most certainly students who might need one or the other – so why not have both options available?
Meets CCSS Writing Standards for Text Types and Purposes:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.2 & 5.2 – Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2 – Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic, and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Incidentally – have you heard of a website called EasyBib? My son’s teacher let them use it to create their bibliographies for this paper. It was AWESOME! No more the days of double checking every single comma, colon, and capital letter to make sure your bibliography was in perfect Elements of Style format! You enter the resources you used and this site generates a ready-to-print bibliography! GENIUS! Sorry…was very excited about this obviously! Have your students try it! The parents will thank you!