One universal fact is that first graders love animals! Love! I knew the story, "Animal Park" would be hit with my group of animal lovers. I wanted to channel some of that enthusiasm into a research writing activity.
I also came across these amazing reading street supplemental units on TPT by Lendahand's Printables. I chose to use one of the close reading activities provided in the unit. I blew the page up to 11x17 on the copy machine. I knew the big paper would really get my crew excited and they would know this was a "serious" research assignment.
The students buddy read, "Animal Park" and put a sticky note on their favorite animal. Once they chose their favorite animal they wrote one fact about their animal and illustrated their fact on the 11x17 sheet. I mounted the "research reports" on colored construction paper and they make an awesome hallway display. The kids love reading each others animal facts.