May Lesson of the Month – Search and Research


Have you noticed how we live in an “insta-learn” world? From 4 year-olds playing on Mom’s phone,  teen-agers stuck to their phones like glue, school children searching their iPads for information, to adults looking up every tidbit of data on their devices. We can’t function in this techno generation without several gadgets plugged in and operating at the same time. Why not take advantage of the fact that most everything you’d like to learn is but a click or two away?  Let’s harness this obsession in a positive way in our Lesson of the Month…

In this month’s lesson, how about using their own “search” habits as a template for a writing lesson, applying the many skills taught throughout the year.    

Here’s what you’ll do:

1. Have students look back on their electronic devices and share some of their search history. Instruct them to make a list of the last 10 things they searched for on their phone, iPad, or computer. (Warning: leave any inappropriate searches off of the list.)Beside each search, have the students write a brief description of the exact information/answer they were looking for.

*Option: For students without personal access to a device, have them make a list of possible searches they would like to conduct if given the chance.

2. Next, have the students choose one of the past searches (or possible searches) and write what the search revealed.

*Note – The writing sample for this one will look different for each student. Here are a few random samples to help understand the assignment.

  • Search: Winner of American Idol 2015 – student will take notes on what the search revealed and use the notes to write a descriptive paragraph about Nick Fradiani, the Season 14 winner.
  • Search: Nike Running Shoes – student would note where the shoes were available, the cost (or cost comparison) and a write a description of the shoes.
  • Search: How to French braid hair – after noting the steps, the student would write a how-to about French braiding hair.

3.  This assignment is a great end-of-year a writing project to assess the skills students are applying to their writing samples. They will not be limited to one genre, which may require more direction from the teacher or greater time spent on individual conferencing concerning finished publications.

*Optional: Display their written samples on a Bulletin Board entitled:

What have you been searching for lately?