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Lesson Plan

Listen, Look, and Learn: An Information-Gathering Process

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Listen, Look, and Learn: An Information-Gathering Process

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 30 minutes
Lesson Author

Janie Schomberg

Janie Schomberg

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



From Theory to Practice



Learning to extract information from varied sources is essential to the learning process. This lesson models an information-gathering process for primary learners as they listen to and look at resources, seeking information pertinent to the questions on an information wheel. Students begin by reading and discussing Helen Lester's story Score One for the Sloths. Next, students are introduced to an information wheel—a circle divided into 3 large pieces, each labeled with a different question about the sloth. Questions include: where does it live? what does it look like? and what does it do ? Then various resources are shared with students as they decide where on the wheel each fact or statement about the sloth should be recorded. Guiding the listening, looking, and learning process helps students gain confidence and develop strategies for gathering information independently.

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In her book Planning for Inquiry: It's Not an Oxymoron!, Diane Parker poses a series of questions that make inquiry-based learning seem essential for elementary grade students: "Do we want them simply to memorize facts and procedures in order to pass a test? Or do we want them to want to know, to seek to know, and ultimately, to understand themselves and their world more deeply as a result of their knowing?" (5). Part of inquiry in the language arts classroom is learning to research, which must be explicitly taught. In her article "Rethinking Research," Eileen A. Simmons notes: "We can't expect students to produce outstanding research papers unless we teach them strategies for gathering information, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating that information through critical thinking." (115) This lesson helps primary students develop strategies for extracting and evaluating information.

Further Reading

Simmons, Eileen A. "Rethinking Research." English Journal 89.1 (September 1999): 114-117.


Parker, Diane. 2007.  Planning for Inquiry: It's Not an Oxymoron! Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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