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.