Lesson of Self-Discovery and Peer Introduction
Grade Level(s): 5-8
Duration of Activity:
The initial unit should last only two weeks. More time may be needed if only one computer is available for student use. The teacher may easily expand this unit into a year-long project that emphasizes writing different types of essays, personal narratives, and poems. The final product
will be a portfolio of the student’s work.
Description of Activity:
Students will hone research skills while using the World Wide Web, almanacs, Reader’s Guide, and other reference books to research topics that center on their birth date and personal interests. Each student will create a personal Microsoft PowerPoint
presentation that will promote not only self-discovery, but also will serve as his or her introduction to the class members. This activity will help to create a learning community where each student is valued as a unique individual.
Objectives: The student will
- navigate Web sites.
utilize the World Wide Web, almanacs, Reader’s Guide to Periodical
Literature and other reference material to research topics that relate to
his or her birth date.
- select appropriate data to record as notes.
- write notes using key words or phrases.
- compose essays, personal narratives, and poems using the writing processes of prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
- generate essays and poems on a computer using a word-processing program.
- take pictures using a digital camera.
- scan pictures using a flatbed scanner.
- name and save pictures to a designated folder for later use.
- produce a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation about himself or herself based on information gathered through research.
- deliver oral presentation of final project to class.
- Computers with Internet access
- Parental permission forms for student Internet use
- Word-processing software
- Microsoft PowerPoint or other presentation software
- Digital camera and any necessary software
- Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature
- Assorted reference books
- Handout 1: Rubric for the Self-Discovery PowerPoint Presentation
- Handout 2: Research Project Scoring Sheet
- Handout 3: "The Year of My Birth" Almanac Research Sheet
- Handout 4: 10 Facts About My Favorite…
- Handout 5: Online Research Sheet
- Handout 6: Instructions for the Kodak Digital Camera and Photoshop
- Handout 7: Guide for Scanning Photos Using Flatbed Scanner
- Handout 8: Storyboard Form
Prerequisites (skills or background needed)
- Reference book research skills
- Basic knowledge of searching the World Wide Web
- Knowledge of "fair use" guidelines
- Basic knowledge of Microsoft PowerPoint or other presentation software
- Basic knowledge of Microsoft Word or other word-processing software
- Basic knowledge of how to use a digital camera
- Basic knowledge of how to use a scanner
- Basic keyboarding skills
- Knowledge of the writing processes of drafting, revising, editing, and publishing
- Basic knowledge of writing, grammar, and spelling rules
Teacher Component: The teacher will
- instruct students about how to use the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature and almanacs to locate information.
- review note-taking skills with an emphasis on using key words when writing notes from research.
- bookmark the sites designated for research in order to save research time. [See Using Favorites/Bookmarks in the K-12 Classroom.]
- photocopy copies of the handouts for each student.
- review the writing process with students.
- demonstrate how to use the digital camera using Handout 6: Instructions for the Kodak Digital Camera and Photoshop.
- demonstrate how to use the scanner using Handout 7: Guide for Scanning Photos Using Flatbed Scanner.
- review Microsoft PowerPoint. The following Web sites may be used to teach this part of the lesson.
PowerPoint in the Classroom
LessonPlansPage.com-Learning to Use the PowerPoint Program
It saves time to have students create a storyboard before they go to the computer using Handout 8: Storyboard Form. These sheets will be the
pattern that the students will follow in actually creating each PowerPoint slide.
- determine the number of slides to be used in the PowerPoint presentation and the theme of each slide.
use Handout 2: Research Project Scoring Sheet to evaluate research.
use Handout 1: Rubric for the Self-Discovery PowerPoint Presentation to evaluate the PowerPoint presentation.
Student Activities: The student will
use Handout 5: Online Research Sheet and the bookmarked Web sites listed below to research the information requested after each Web site.
Any Day in History
- Name one national event that occurred the day and year you were born.
- Name one international event that occurred the day you were born in ANY year.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
- Name the people and groups inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the year you were born.
- Name five events in Rock and Roll history that occurred on your birth date in ANY year.
use Handout 3: "The Year of My Birth" Almanac Research Sheet and text or online almanac to research the following information:
- Name one important event that occurred from each year that you have been alive including the year you were born.
- Name the movie that won an Academy Award for Best Picture the year you were born.
- Name the winner of the Major League Baseball World Series the year you were born.
- Name the winner of the NBA championship the year you were born.
- Name the President of the United States the year you were born.
- Name the top rated television show the year you were born.
- Name both the album and the song that won Grammy awards the year you were born.
- Name several songs that were popular the year you were born.
use Handout 4: 10 Facts About My Favorite… and the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature and other reference books to research and locate 10 facts about one of the following topics:
- favorite hero (someone famous)
- favorite musical group or artist
- favorite sports figure or team
- favorite actor/actress
take digital photos of other classmates and in turn have one taken of him or her using using Handout 6: Instructions for the Kodak Digital Camera and Photoshop as a guide.
scan pictures brought from home to use in presentation.
save these pictures to a file designated by teacher on the computer or server.
conduct interviews with a parent or other adult concerning his or her unique memory pertaining to the student’s birth or the first time they met.
plan and organize slides for the PowerPoint presentation by using storyboarding techniques and Handout 8: Storyboard Form.
use the computer to create a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation that will include a title slide and no more than six additional slides that display the information and images collected during research and interviewing. The student will use a digital photo of himself or herself on the title slide. On the remaining slides, scanned photos and graphics may be used as well.
share final creative project with the class.
Accommodations (Special Needs):
The lesson activities may easily be modified to accommodate special needs students. The research activity may be designed for pairs of students
to work together. This benefits those students who need peer tutoring or mentoring without singling them out. The peer tutors can help with reading text and negotiating the Web sites. The teacher will determine how many sources will be used, the number of facts required, and final product expectations based on the specific needs of the individual student.
- Students will create a bio poem using the C·R·E·A·T·E for Mississippi lesson plan, Using E-Mail to Develop Letter-Writing Skills for the 21st Century, can be used for this activity.
- Students will write a personal narrative concerning the day they were born from the point of view of a parent, grandparent, or other sibling.
Students will create a "dialogue journal" in which parents respond to specific questions posed by their child.
Students will search through magazines, newspapers, photo albums, their own lockers and rooms to collect clippings, advertisements, pictures, and small items which they feel represent something about their own personalities and create "Who Am I?" collages that will be displayed in the classroom or hallways of school. These can be created using the actual item, or the items may be scanned into digital format and photo-editing software used to create a digital collage.
Students will write friendly letter or e-mail messages to another person who has had a very strong, positive influence on their lives. Each student should express appreciation as well as describe how this person’s influence or actions have helped the student. The C·R·E·A·T·E for Mississippi lesson plan, Lesson of Self-Discovery and Peer Introduction
Students will research coat of arms and then design a personal coat of arms that represents their likes, hobbies, birth order, and character traits using at least four pictures to represent them. These may be made on the computer or may be created using felt or other material. The coats of arms may then be displayed in the hall for all to see.
Students will create memory books for the current school year. During the year, each student will gather materials for compiling a memory book. The book will consist of the student’s memories and thoughts from his or her whole life. It will be full of essays, paragraphs, and information that each student researched. The memory book will include the following chapters:
Chapter 1. "Before I Was, There Were …."—Write about your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins, siblings, and anybody else who has
been an influence on you…..what makes each of these people special?
Chapter 2. "Suddenly I Became Me"—Write about your earliest memories: events, activities, performances, lessons after school, punishments,
vacations, holidays, toys you were obsessed with, accidents, pets, etc.
Chapter 3."School Bells"—Write about your early memories of school-related topics: events, performances, field trips, playground adventures,
punishments, favorite teachers, special friends, clubs, etc.
Chapter 4. "My First Boyfriend/Girlfriend or Crush"—Write a descriptive essay about a person you "went with" or "loved from afar."
Chapter 5."I Wish I Could See___________ Again"—Write a letter to a childhood friend, former teacher, or deceased person you no longer have contact with. What would you like to say to this person?
Chapter 6. "Movie and TV Madness" or "Music Memories"—Write about your favorite movies and TV shows from your whole life and tell why you
enjoyed them so much, or write about your favorite music/singer/band tastes throughout your life.
Chapter 7. " I’m really in Love This Time Ma" or " I Secretly Admire ______"—Write about a person that really broke your heart and was your
first serious romance, or if you have never been in love, discuss a person you’d most like to go out with.
Chapter 8. "Seventh Grade"—Write about what it felt like to be in the seventh grade. Include feelings about teachers, friends, classes, activities, happy/sad times.
Chapter 9. "High School Anticipation"—Write about what you want high school to be like, your fears, plans, what you would like/not like to
Chapter 10. This will include your research from the media center and World Wide Web concerning your birth date, birth year, and personal
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Informal assessment by observing students going through the research process, using the World Wide Web, and going through the steps of the writing process.
- Formal assessment using Handout 2: Research Project Scoring Sheet
- Formal assessment using Handout 2: Rubric for the Self-Discovery PowerPoint Presentation
Any Day in History
Welcome to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
WebPlaces.com Clip Art Review
Teaching Microsoft PowerPoint
Learning to use the Power Point Program Computer Lesson Plan, Thematic Unit, Activity, Worksheet, or Internet Teaching Idea
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Information Please: On-Line Dictionary, Internet Encyclopedia, Atlas, & Almanac Reference
Fact Monster: Online Almanac, Dictionary, Encyclopedia, and Homework Help
World Almanac for Kids
Baseball Almanac – Year In Review: 1953 American League
Communicates for a variety of purposes through different forms of writing using processes of reading, writing, listening, and viewing for an expanding audience.
Speak coherently and listen effectively to exchange ideas and opinions for a variety of purposes and audiences.
Complete tasks in an organized and coherent manner.
Read, listen to, and view multimedia sources to select and use information.
Develop self-monitoring skills to work independently and cooperatively.
Participate cooperatively while engaging in small group activities to analyze and interpret information, to make decisions, to solve problems, and to produce a given product.
Read independently with fluency and for meaning using a variety of strategies.
Demonstrates continuous progress toward control of penmanship, grammar, mechanics, sentence structure, and usage of Standard English in the context of writing and speaking.
NETS Performance Indicators for Grade Level 6-8 / NETS Standard(s):
Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations to support learning and research.
Design, develop, publish, and present products using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom.
Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems.
02 Basic Understanding (Level 10-21/22)
Demonstrate understanding of the literal meaning of a passage through identifying stated information, indicating sequence of events, and defining
Write responses to questions requiring literal information from passages and documents.
04 Evaluate and Extend Meaning (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate critical understanding by making predictions; distinguishing between fact and opinion, and reality and fantasy; transferring ideas to other situations; and judging author purpose, point of view, and effectiveness.
Write responses that make connections between texts based on common themes and concepts; evaluate author’s purpose and effectiveness; and extend meaning to other contexts.
05 Identify Reading Strategies (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate awareness of techniques that enhance comprehension, such as using existing knowledge, summarizing content, comparing information across texts, using graphics and text structure, and formulating questions that deepen understanding.
Write responses that interpret and extend the use of information from documents and forms, and that demonstrate knowledge and use of strategies.
06 Introduction to Print (Level 10-12)
Demonstrate knowledge of sound/symbol and structural relationships in letters, words, and signs.
Write responses that show knowledge of letters and words.
07 Sentence Structure (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of conventions for writing complete and effective sentences, including treatment of subject and verb, punctuation,
Demonstrate an understanding of conciseness and clarity of meaning in combining two sentences.
08 Writing Strategies (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate knowledge of information sources, outlines, and other pre-writing techniques.
Demonstrate an understanding of the use of topic sentences, concluding sentences, connective and transitional words and phrases, supporting
statements, sequencing ideas, and relevant information in writing expository prose.
09 Editing Skills (Level 11-21/22)
Identify the appropriate use of capitalization, punctuation, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in existing text.
Demonstrate knowledge of writing conventions and sentence structure through identifying and connecting errors in existing text and in text
written by the student.
35 Word Meaning (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of word meanings and relationships.
38 Sentences, Phrases, Clauses (Level 12-21/22)
Identify the appropriate use of capitalization and punctuation in sentences, phrases, and clauses; and with quotations and dialogue.
39 Writing Conventions (Level 12-21/22)
Identify the appropriate use of capitalization and punctuation with proper nouns, titles, contractions, possessive nouns, and pronouns.
40 Vowels (Level 12-21/22)
Identify the correct spelling of vowel sounds in words presented in sentences and phrases.
41 Consonants (Level 12-21/22)
Identify the correct spelling of consonant sounds in words presented in sentences and phrases.
42 Structural Units (Level 12-21/22)
Identify the correct spelling of structural units in words presented in sentences and phrases.
Link and Feedback to Author(s):
Jan Easley, Houlka Attendance Center, Houlka, MS
Pam Hammond, Winona Middle School, Winona, MS
Debbie Hurt, Tupelo Middle School, Tupelo, MS
Steven Hodgin, Booneville Middle School, Booneville, MS
Jennifer Robison, Tupelo Middle School, Tupelo, MS