I'm throwing it back to my second-grade days today! One of my favorite field trips was our visit to the local zoo. In preparation for this trip, my students would research an animal and become an "expert" on that animal. They would then write a non-fiction book to add to our classroom library.
To start, we would pull out a map of the zoo to see all the animals that were there. We would make a list and each student would choose a different one as their animal to research. We then pulled a LOT of books our of the library and found some great websites online to help us find information. The students kept track of their research on their notes pages:
There is one note page per topic that they were required to research (appearance, diet, habitat). In each box, they were to write one fact that they learned in "jot-dot" format. This kept them organized and was also a visual of how many facts they needed to have.
The students then put their information into a paragraph, each paragraph covering one topic. We practiced this quite a bit together as a class. We also discussed proper paragraph format, using an opening and closing sentence.
Once they had completed writing all their paragraphs and editing/revising them, it was time to create their books!
The students then created a table of contents, which they thought was pretty darn cool!
Each topic of study got it's own writing page that was labeled. If they wrote a lot (or have large handwriting), they used a blank lined page.
Once the students had completed their books, we put them in the classroom library for everyone to enjoy. Then, when we visited the zoo, they were so excited to tell the rest of the class all about their animal!
Everything in this post can be found in my Animal Research Project set. Enjoy!