Introduce research to your students with these two great tools
1 Hook: Go from Reader to Curator
1. When introducing a research topic, find and save a group of relevant articles to a new flipboard magazine. You can use the flipboard apps on your phone or ipad, of you can do it through a browser extension.
2. I usually start with between 10-15 articles OR VIDEOS related to the topic students are going to be researching. [Yes, you can add videos as well.]
3. Via flipboard, get the link to your magazine and send it via email to your students.
4. In class, demonstrate to students how they can use the flipboard magazine to research about a given topic. Show them how to find key details and take notes in a mini-lesson.
Watch (on the screen or smartboard) as I go through the Flipboard magazine.
When I find an article or video that seems to have potential, I read it and take brief notes (demonstrate the format you want them to use) like this.
Explore the magazine yourself and try reading and taking notes on one of the items in the magazine.
2 Direct instruction and guided practice: Start building our class text
1. After the mini-lessson and after students have had a couple of opportunities to try using the sources to find relevant information, change the setting on the magazine to allow other people to add items.
2. Demonstrate on the screen/smartboard how student can add items (flip them) to a magazine.
3. Have them add the Flipboard extension to the browser they normally use.
4. Give them the task of searching for and finding a resource that would help them and others complete the research project.
5. Tell them that when they do, they should flip it into the class magazine.
6. Give them a clearly defined period of time to do this (in class or at home). After they time is up, have them look through the updated magazine and do a brief analysis of the new sources.
7. Give them any type of rating scale you think they can use. After they have reviewed, discuss in class why certain 'flips' were good additions and why others were not as useful.
1. You will have twenty minutes to look for good quality sources for this project.
2. When you find a good one, flip it into the class magazine.
3. Take the next fifteen minutes to browse the NEW additions to the class magazine. Use this simple rubric to decide whether this is a really useful addition.
4. In fifteen minutes we will discuss WHY certain flips were really helpful and others not so much. Be ready to give your reasons.
3 Direct instruction and guided practice: Curate sources and curate information
Now that students are comfortable using flipboard to do some research AND to contribute to the body of research materials, it's time to show them how to organize what they find.
1. Either use the EasyBib extension in google apps, OR use the EasyBib website. If you use the add-on, make sure that every student can and does install the add-on. If you use the website, give students time to sign up for and create accounts. Here I will use the example of using the add-on in google apps.
2. Demonstrate to students in a mini-lesson the following:
- Find an article or video that is relevant.
- Find specific information in the article or video that is relevant.
- Summarize the information in your own words and type it into a google doc. These are your sample project notes.
- Go to add-ons in the doc. Select EasyBib Bibliography creator. Follow the steps to create a bibliography entry for your project.
- I just demonstrated how to find a relevant source, take notes in summary form, and cite the source.
- Try it yourself now. You have 20 minutes. By the end of 20 minutes, you should have at least one source and two 'notes' that include important information.
- I will go around and help while you are working.
4 Independent practice: Students actually do the research
Give students two class periods for research. During that time, have them follow the process you demonstrated (and they practiced) during the class mini lessons.
At the end of the two class periods, they should have:
- the number of sources of information and bibliography entries you expect (I usually say at least 4 for middle school)
- the number of facts, references, quotes, etc. in note form that you expect (I usually make this individualized based on language and reading skills
You will have the next two class periods to complete your research. After that, class time will be for actually creating the final project.
If you don't finish the research during class time, you will need to work on it at home or after school.
5 Wrap up: Project creation begins
Now that research is complete, let students begin the creation of a final project. You can go traditional (essay, report, etc.) or be creative. No matter what you choose, research is a key skill students need to learn starting early. This will lay a good foundation for independent research processes.