I recently came across a fantastic website for research skills. It has everything you would want in one spot. Almost everything. As I read through each section of UWCSEA Junior Research Hub, I did consider two things I would add:
Last week I shared a new site with my class: EasyBib It is accessible through the students’ Riverstone gMail accounts which allows their work to be synced through Google Docs. In our current project, students have been asked to compare the fictional creature they are creating with creatures that already exist. They are to be specific in their comparisons. This requires them to research information about animal adaptations and use this information in their project.
They might say: The kangaroo is known as the largest marsupial, measuring over 6 feet tall. My creature mimics the height of the kangaroo and in fact, has been recorded at heights of up to 7 feet tall, thus propelling it to the top of the record books for largest known marsupial. This piece of information about the height of the kangaroo, clearly came from some kind of information source: website, book, journal, magazine or paper. EasyBib provides a simple to use, online way of keeping a bibliography of all sites sourced.
We were really impressed by the way in which we could:
- just paste in a web address and it would reference it for you
- type in the title of a magazine and the name of the article and it would find all the information about the issue number, year and author
- punch in the ISBN number of a book and all the title, author, illustrator and publisher information would pop up.
Here is what an example of a finished bibliography looks like.
READ WRITE THINK – INQUIRY
When gathering information from a collection of sources, I like the idea of this chart from READ-WRITE-THINK:
From the RWT website:
The Inquiry Chart (I-Chart) strategy is one that allows students to examine a topic through integrating prior knowledge on the topic with additional information found from a variety of sources. The I-Chart strategy is organized into three steps, each of which consists of activities meant to engage and aid students in evaluating a given topic: 1) Planning, 2) Interacting, and 3) Integrating/Evaluating.
I-Charts can be used with individuals, small groups, or the entire class, and are meant to strengthen reading skills and foster critical thinking. This strategy can be used to differentiate instruction for each student’s needs, and can also be used as an assessment tool to measure student understanding of a given topic.
If the Junior Research Hub is more than perhaps your students need, consider using the simplified Infant Research Hub with it’s three step guide to researching: