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This lesson provided by:
Author:Kaye Wilson
System: Muscle Shoals City
School: McBride Elementary School
Lesson Plan ID: 6175

Using an Almanac


Students will work in groups to learn appropriate uses of an almanac and how to find information in it efficiently and effectively. Each group will be responsible for explaining the steps taken to complete the task. This lesson is best used with fourth and fifth grades.

Content Standard(s):
IL(K-12) 1. The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.
IL(K-12) 9. The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information.
ELA2015(4) 19. By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the Grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. [RI.4.10]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to identify specific situations in which an almanac is the best choice for locating needed information. Students will be able to use an almanac efficiently to gather specific facts.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will work cooperatively in small groups to gather information.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 0 to 30 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Chalkboard or whiteboard, The World Almanac and Book of Facts (one per group and one for the teacher), at least 8 teacher-prepared questions to be answered using an almanac (for examples of the types of questions that might be used, go to, one piece of paper and one pencil per group, chart paper

Technology Resources Needed:

Students need to know different sources of information and when each would be used most appropriately; for example, a phone book, dictionary, thesaurus, newspaper, etc. The teacher will need to develop a list of questions to be answered using the almanac. Five to eight questions will be appropriate for a 30-minute session. The lesson will be more effective if the students can relate personally to the questions. (Example: What is the population of Muscle Shoals?)

1.)Divide the class into groups. (2-3 students in each group.)

2.)Give each group an almanac, a piece of paper, and a pencil.

3.)As a review, ask, "When would you use an almanac? When would you use an encyclopedia?" Be sure the students know the key words to use as criteria for deciding to use the almanac. They are: current, fact, and list.

4.)Discuss the parts of an almanac and in what situations you would use the highlights, the general index, and the quick thumb index.

5.)Write a question on the board and go through the process of finding the answer as a group. Be sure the page number where the information was found is included as part of the answer.

6.)Have the remaining questions written on chart paper and read them to the students. Have each group answer the questions on a piece of paper. They should be prepared to give the answer to the question, the page on which the answer was found, and the key words used to find the answer. Be sure the students know the amount of time they have to work.

7.)Give each group the opportunity to share its answer to at least one question.

8.)Summarize the lesson.

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Assessment Strategies:

The teacher will walk among the groups observing procedures used, assisting when needed, and determining the degree of comprehension. If the students successfully complete the activity and can verbally share the procedures used, the lesson will be successful. If a group answers a question incorrectly, it should be corrected immediately.


Students can reference many examples of almanacs online. Go to or for a partial listing.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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