Students must become efficient, effective, and ethical researchers
~school, college, career, life~
Common Core Literacy Anchor Standards
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reﬂection, and research.
Address these standards (informational literacy) systematically–don’t allow your students to leave your team with a hodge-podge of strategies for locating accurate information quickly:
- Identify the specific skills students need in order to meet standards.
- Create a team folder on the school server or a team wiki where all of the materials can be located in a central location so everyone has access.
- Adapt and add to lessons as needed. The librarian/media specialist should be the team’s number one resource–bring him or her lots of freshly baked cookies and other goodies.
- Design a team plan of action for teaching and reinforcing information literacy skills across the curriculum. Set up a calendar and hold one another accountable.
2. Divide these skills up and teach them in the context of units across the curriculum.
3. Remember! Every assignment does not have to include the entire research process. Some assignments may only include locating resources and evaluating them for reliability, and others may focus on taking notes, paraphrasing, and summarizing.
4. Chunk up research assignments into segments with checkpoints in order to monitor student progress.
Check resources on the web for ideas, lessons, and resources:
The Big 6: Information and Technology Skills for Student Achievement (http://www.big6.com/ and http://www.big6.com/kids/). These sites are multi-faceted and include some free lessons, descriptions of units where teachers have integrated the Big 6 components, and free resources such as graphic organizers and note taking templates. This is also a commercial site and offers products and staff development. They take advantage of social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook, and also have a RSS feed. This approach has six components in the process:
- Task Definition
- Information Seeking Strategies
- Location and access
- Use of information
Noodle Tools (http://www.noodletools.com/) is a subscription site that also offers free tools that are extremely useful. Their free tools include “Choose the Best Search,” a tool to help identify how to use search engines and their features for efficient searching and several resources for becoming an expert in the tricky world of citations. There are also some interesting resources for teachers including one very valuable one on being an ethical researcher.
ISTE Standards (http://tiny.cc/ISTE144) are published by the International Society for Technology in Education. These standards are related to the entire world of the integration of technology into education and are worth a close look. The third standard relates directly to research and information fluency:
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
- Plan strategies to guide inquiry.
- Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
- Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
- Process data and report results.
21st Century Information Fluency (http://21cif.com/) This is a commercial site that was originally connected to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. There are free tutorials and wizards that help both the budding and accomplished searcher become even more proficient with information fluency skills. Many students often feel because they use the internet so much that there is nothing new to learn. The search challenges on this site will test the skills of each and every student.
University of Maryland University College (http://tiny.cc/Research574) Although this site is designed for older students, it has resources that are useful to teachers. It is divided into seven modules: Doing Research, Copyright, Using the Library, Call Numbers, Finding Books, Finding Articles, Finding Websites.
One last note…if you really want to your students to internalize the research process so that they can apply it to situations beyond the classroom, allow them to research topics that interest them!
- How the Big6 Took Me from Lazy Language Arts Teacher to Motivated Media Specialist
- A Passion for Projects: Students Have a Voice — and a Choice
- Just Ask: Harnessing the Power of Student Curiosity
This posting is adapted from Chapter 8 of Teaming Rocks! Collaborate in Powerful Ways to Ensure Student Success — available from AMLE (AMLE.org).