Monday, May 5, 2014

Literary Map Novel Abstracts Lesson Plan

This lesson plan offers a way for students to become involved with the Literary Map and get their writing published on an academic website. Students will be write short abstracts for novels in the List Map database and their abstracts will be posted, with credit to the author, in our database.

Learning Outcomes
Students will:
·         Becoming more familiar with local North Carolina books and authors.
·         Use research techniques to gather information online and/or from physical books.
·         Practice their writing skills.
·         Have their writing published on an official academic website.

Teacher Planning
Time required for lesson:  Two 45 minute class sessions - or can be given as homework research.
Materials/ Resources
·         Access to the websites:
o   Research sources, such as library catalogs and databases. Examples:, and even The school library catalog and public library catalogs can also be used.
·         Writing tools. Pencil and paper or Microsoft word software.
·         Optional, but preferred: a copy of the book they want to review. These can usually be obtained in a public library or the school’s library.

The teacher will plan time to let the students explore the lit map website. Students should spend this time familiarizing themselves with a few novels, and ultimately decide on a novel for which they would like to write an abstract. The book they choose can be one they are already familiar with, or a new book. To get ideas on which books to cover, use the browse feature to search by genre. Some of the genres included are Children’s Fiction, Children’s Non-Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction.  The map holds many different reading levels, and the most appropriate books for elementary or middle school will be in those genre sections.

Students will research the novel they have chosen. They will discover what the book is about, including information such as the title character’s name, what the character is doing in the novel, and why they are taking those actions. For non-fiction books, discover what information the author is trying to convey and why. For example, a cookbook might specialize in southern dishes to preserve cultural heritage.  
This research can be done completely online, or with the aid of a hard copy of the novel they are summarizing. Many books include a description of the book’s contents on the back or on the inside flap.
Once the students have gathered information from at least three sources, they may write their abstract for the novel. This will be a two to four sentence description of what the novel is about. Try to keep it conscience and clear. Do not try to descript the whole book or give away the ending. Use your sources to get ideas of what information to include, but students should write the abstract in their own words.

Student is engaged in research and spends a significant amount of time researching information through databases. They go above and beyond what is called for in this project.
Student does their research. They spend just the required amount of time on research. They do just enough to complete the assignment.
The student does not spend enough time researching to get a full idea of the novel.
Three Sources
The student includes at least three sources that indicate where they learned what their novel is about. Their sources directly influence their abstract. One source can include a copy of the book itself.
Student has two sources of information. Or their three sources have very little influence on their abstract.
Student has one or no sources. The sources do not influence their abstract.
Written Abstract
The student has two to four sentences that give a clear/rounded idea of what their novel is about. The best abstracts promote the novel and garner interest from the reader.
The student has written at least two sentences. Their abstract is slightly difficult to understand/ could be done more clearly.
The information conveyed is confusing, unclear, or incorrect based on their sources.

Submission Information
Once the written project and list of three sources is complete, make sure the document includes the student’s first name, their teacher’s name, their school, and their grade level. This information will be included under their abstract on their novel’s lit map page. If there is information on this list you would not like to be shared online, please indicate that in the document.
Send these projects as Word or PDF documents to It may take a few weeks to upload the abstract to the website so please be patient.

North Carolina Common Core/Essential Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

NC Information and Technology Essential Standard TT.1 ELE: Use technology tools and skills to reinforce and extend classroom concepts and activities. MS: Use technology and other resources for the purpose of accessing, organizing, and sharing information.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lesson Plan - Desktop Publishing Using NC Literary Map

This lesson plan was submitted by Jennifer Smith, a computer teacher at N.L. Dillard Middle School in Yanceyville, NC. Her lesson incorporates the Literary Map into learning Desktop Publishing skills and local history. The students create a brochure using local authors and authors from other regions of North Carolina. Mrs. Smith believes that local literature and history should be an important part of her students' education, and the North Carolina Literary Map helped her achieve this goal. Click on the links below for the lesson plan and template used for this lesson.

Lesson Plan Desktop Publishing Brochure Using NC Literary Map
Brochure Template NC Literary Map

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Understanding Databases Lesson Plan

This lesson plan will be useful to teachers who are interested in using research databases and North Carolina literature in the classroom. Media Specialists, English teachers and Social Studies teachers will all find this lesson relevant to their goals and standards. This is the first lesson plan on our education blog, so let's celebrate with your feedback! Click on the title to see the lesson plan in Google Docs. Worksheets are at the bottom of the page.

Learning Outcomes
Students will:
·         Become familiar with online academic databases, including the North Carolina Literary Map database, NC WiseOwl, OCLC WorldCat, and their school library catalog.
·         Recognize the characteristics of a database and be able to identify the type of information a database is storing and their target audience.
·         Be able to use the North Carolina Literary Map and WorldCat to find a library copy of a North Carolina book.

Teacher Planning
Time required for lesson: Two 30 to 40 minute class periods.
·         Access to the websites:
o   NC Literary Map
o   NC WiseOwl
o   WorldCat
o   Your School Library Catalog
·         A whiteboard or chalkboard.
·         An overhead projector.
·         Worksheets #1 & #2

One the first day of the unit teachers will lead a discussion on databases while the students fill out worksheet #1 together as a class. Two definitions of a database will be provided. The class will discuss what data and a database is, and they will write their own definition for data and database. The teacher will lecture and encourage discussion on the characteristics of a database, including whether it has to be digital. Students will be asked to think of examples of databases. These can include databases such as Google (database of URLS), YouTube (database of videos), and Netflix. However, databases with narrower topics are encouraged. Teachers will make the important distinction between an authoritative academic database and a general internet database.
·         Teachers will
o   Discuss how databases are used for everyday information.
o   Provide answers for the notes worksheet.
o   Explain the concepts of “type of information” and “scope of information.”

The second portion of worksheet #2 requires a computer. Either move to a computer lab or the school library for the second portion of the lesson, or begin the lesson in one of these locations. On the second day the focus will be academic databases. Begin Worksheet #2 by answering the following questions about these four academic databases and discussing the concepts with the class. Fill in the boxes together.

NC WiseOwl
Grimsley Library Catalog
North Carolina Literary Map
OCLC WorldCat

Type of Information

Target Audience

The next part of the worksheet focuses on gathering information using the NC Literary Map and WorldCat. Students will choose a North Carolina book and author using the Literary Map. They will record some information about the author and their book to share with the class, particularly the location where the book takes place. They will then use WorldCat and/or the school library catalog to locate a library copy of this book.
·         Answer the questions on the worksheet and share the information with the class in the end of the lesson.
·         Use WorldCat to find where a physical copy of the book is held. Mark the library on the worksheet.
·         On the worksheet there is a picture of a map of North Carolina. Mark where the book takes place or where the author lives, or both.
·         Have the students present their information on their chosen book and author to the class. The teacher will add the books they found to a map on the overhead.
·         At the end of class you will have a map of the North Carolina related books for your classroom or your school library.

Participation/Demonstrated understanding of the material.
Active in class discussion with information that is relevant and thoughtful.
Active in class discussion with information that is sometimes relevant and sometimes not relevant, but is paying attention.
Speaks, but information is not relevant. Seems mostly disconnected from conversation or not paying attention.
Does not speak or seem to be paying attention.
Completion of worksheet #1
Worksheet is completely filled with the information discussed in class.
Worksheet is missing a few answers, but is mostly filled.
Worksheet has less than half of the answers filled.
Worksheet is blank or has only one or two notes.
Completion of worksheet #2
Every answer is filled out to satisfaction. Information is presented to the class.
A few answers were skipped, but overall well done. Information is presented to the class.
Information is incomplete and limited information is presented to the class.
Worksheet is incomplete or blank and/or student has not presented their information to the class.

Supplemental Information

North Carolina Common Core/ Essential Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Documenting Ghost Stories

And just in time for Halloween, an offering from East Forsyth High School teacher Farrah Hilton's 2012-2013 North Carolina History and Literature Class. Studying North Carolina's rich folklore has inspired students to create videos documenting ghost stories that they have either heard or researched.  From "Payne Road" to "The Devil's Tramping Ground," students have learned that North Carolina's folklore is more than just a written art form; its oral tradition makes it unique and interesting.