In the 4th quarter of fourth grade, each student will be responsible for writing a research report. Students will brainstorm a list of possible topics and choose their top three. After the topic has been approved, students may start checking out books from the media center.

The first step (once you've picked your topic) is to start asking questions.

You'll want to ask "JUST RIGHT" questions. You want to avoid small questions, but at the same time, you want to avoid big questions too.

Example of a "Small Question" Why does my dog like popcorn?
Example of a "Big Question" What are dogs like?
Example of a "JUST RIGHT" question What are some foods that dogs enjoy eating?


Once you've asked some questions, and you're sure that they're "JUST RIGHT" questions, it's time to start thinking about reading and taking notes. You want to make sure that you have some index cards. I suggest as big as 8x5 and some that are 4x6 or smaller. I also suggest that you use different colored cards. Pick a color, and then all the notes you take from one book should all be that same color. That will help you stay organized.

Here are some index cards

On each card, use this format (Cornell Notes). The left side of the line is where you write the question and the right side of the line is where you write the answers.

 

It's very important that once you have found the materials that you're going to use, you have the proper citations for them. There are several ways to write a Bibliography (or Works Cited) page. Here are some links to help you figure out how to properly give credit where credit is due!

How toWrite a Bibliography 4th Grade Bibliography Help
Writing a Works Cited Page In-text parenthetical citations

 

There are numerous search engines available and each one will give you different results. It's important that the search engine be safe for children to use. No one needs to see inappropriate things when they search! Here are a few of my favorites:

Ask for kids kids AOL CyberSleuth Kids
DMOZ for kids MSN Encarta Encyclopedia Kids Click
iThaki for kids Awesome Library Britannica Online
Superkids Super Search Yahoo! Kids Dibdabadoo
Fact Monster Family Source Search for Kids Kids Connect

 

 

 

Excellent question!! There are many websites... millions even, and they are created by all sorts of different people. Some are experts and have research to back up what they're saying, while others are just average people putting their opinions out there for the world to see. You want to be sure that what you're using is useful and relevant to your search. Here are a few things that can help:

 

Kathy Shrock's Critical Web Page Review Five Critera for Evlauating a Website Cyber Guide for Evaluating Website Content
Evaluating Information Five Ws for Evaluation Websites Safe Surfing Guide for Kids

 

 

 

 

Now it's time to write your introduction, thesis statement and conclusion. After you've got those three done, you can fill in the remainder of your report with the research that you've gathered and put on your note cards (in your own words).

 

Writing an Introduction How to write a thesis statement
Writing an Introduction and a Conclusion Writing a conclusion

 

 

 

Rubrics should be given to the students BEFORE they begin writing their rough drafts. The purpose of a rubric is for the student to know in advnace, what they must do to get the highest grade possible. Here are a few rubrics that can be used for a research report and a presentation.

 

Kathy Shrock's Research Rubric (Elementary) Example of a 5th Grade Research Report Rubric
Upper Grades (Middle/High School) Research Report Rubric  

 

 

 

Your teacher should give you a rubric that tells you what you'll be graded on for your presentation. Here are a few examples of presentation rubrics:

 

PowerPoint Presentation Rubric 4th Grade Research Presentation Rubric Presentation Rubric
Oral Report Rubric Presentation Rubric Complex Rubric for Presentations

 

You've got everything you need to actually put together an outstanding PowerPoint, but what about graphics? Graphics and images can really enhance your presentation and make it shine. Here are some sites that will give you some clip art, animations, and pictures that you can add to your slides:

Picsearch Classroom Clip Art Microsoft Office Clip Art and Images
Animation Library Animated Animal Clip Art Animated Smileys and Animals
Animated GIFs Discovery Clip Art Gallery Animal Graphics
Awesome PowerPoint Pictures and Graphics PowerPoint Templets for Kids Pictures of Animals

 

You've got everything you need to write a fantastic report and put together a stunning presentation!!