Reference Materials Mini Lesson

Get free materials to teach reference skills to upper elementary students.This free ‘Reference Materials Mini Lesson’ contains three activities. The lesson is designed to help students determine which reference materials are needed to locate specific types of information. The lesson goes over six types of reference materials. These include dictionaries, thesauri, manuals, encyclopedias, atlases, and almanacs.

Get the free resources from this unit here:

Reference Materials Anchor ChartActivity #1

FREE Reference Materials Mini LessonIn the first activity, students create a foldable graphic organizer. This goes over the definitions of the six commonly used types of reference materials.

Activity #2

FREE Reference Materials Mini Lesson

I love using response cards in the classroom. Response cards require students to pay attention because it is obvious when a student holds up the same card each time or no card at all. As a teacher, I can quickly see if students understand the concept I am teaching or need additional practice.

In this second activity, students are given six response cards. A list of twenty-two questions is provided in the printable for students to answer using their response cards. Questions include things like:

  • Which source would your use to find the meaning of the word distraught? (dictionary)
  • Which source would you use to find which country in Africa is the largest? (atlas)

Activity #3 – Printable or Digital Task Cards

Free Reference Materials Mini Lesson

Free Reference Materials Mini Lesson

The final activity contains a set of 24 task cards. Here again, students determine which type of resource is needed to locate different types of information.

I like to use task cards to play Scoot.

Directions for Play

Place one Scoot card on each student’s desk. For easier recording, place the cards in numerical order. Give each student one copy of the Scoot Recording Sheet.

Each student will read the question on the activity card on his/her desk. Students then record the answer on the Scoot Recording Sheet. After a length of time (approximately 1 minute), give the signal for the students to scoot to the next desk. Teachers signal by saying scoot or ringing a bell. The procedure repeats at each desk. The activity continues until all students end up at the desks where they began the activity.

I recommend going over the pattern for shifting desks and other rules such as being quiet when scooting, etc. before the activity begins.

Boom Learning – Digital Task Cards

If you wish to go paperless, check out this activity at Boom Learning. Cards go over definitions. Students then answer 40 questions. Boom Learning keeps track of students’ scores.

Boom Learning Information

Users new to Boom Learning get a three-month free trial of student progress reporting for up to 150 students. Your trial includes the ability to make up to 5 free DIY decks. You may upgrade or cancel at any time. Boom Cards play on modern browsers (released in the last three years) on interactive whiteboards, computers and tablets. Boom Cards apps are also available. 

Free Digital Task Cards Hosted by Boom Learning 

Download this free mini-lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Free Reference Materials Mini Lesson

Gay Miller


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