PYP, Teaching

Research Hub

Research Hub


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.

For example:

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.



When gathering information from a collection of sources, I like the idea of this chart from READ-WRITE-THINK:

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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:

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Four Ideas for Reading in the New Year

I was going back through all the “pin now – read later” items that I had pinned on Pinterest and noticed there was a bunch of really fun finds to do with reading.  In no particular order, here are four ideas for reading in the new year.

Read Your Way Across the USA

I love this.  I have read a few of these books but I like that someone has taken the time to prepare a map of books that take place in each of the 50 states.  For those kids that are looking for a fun challenge or want to expand from their usual genre choices, this might be a fun way to encourage the introduction of a few new authors into their reading life.  My fifth graders have read some of these books but some might be a bit beyond them at this point.  I also like the idea of them creating their own reading map based on books that they have read or want to read and seeing if we can also make our reading way across the USA.

Source: via Sonya on Pinterest

Reading Genres

I have kids who tell me, “I don’t like fantasy” or will ask, “What is the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy?”.  This guide looks really helpful in helping kids independently make choices about the type of genre they will read next. I like the similarities column as that to me seems to be the way to get the kids to expand from the genres they currently read into new ones.

Source: via Carol on Pinterest

Read Write Think Website

read write think

If you are yet to discover this website, you are in for a treat.  If you are a regular user, you will know how awesome it is.  I did a quick search for “reading” and “strategy guides” and then narrowed down the results by clicking on “inquiry based teaching”.  What I got was a great guide to teaching research skills with an inquiry approach.  The guides are comprehensive, fully supported by research, come with appropriate handouts and/or links to other websites, and best of all, are less of a ‘one stop shop’ to be reproduced and more of a spring-board for your own interpretation and ideas as a teacher.  The detail and depth of this website makes it a firm favorite of mine and really does hammer home the connection between reading, writing and thinking – as it’s name suitably suggests.

Blooms Taxonomy

Encouraging higher order thinking is something that can be done when children are reading.  The following graphic is one which explains the ‘higher order’ and provides kid-friendly synonyms for each level.  I will be introducing this in my classroom as a way of highlighting these ideas to my kids and getting them to delve deeper in their thinking as they discuss and write about the books they are reading.


What tools, ideas or strategies are you reading in the new year with?