Rosemarie Grainer, Elementary Librarian at Allegany-Limestone Elementary School, has an interesting group lesson for her 5th grade students. After taking attendance and checking on the returned or renewed library books that her students checked out last week, Ms. Grainer introduces the continuing lesson/project where each student is researching a topic of his or her choice. There is a worksheet to fill out for each “station” where the students rotate in groups (eight minutes per station) to research their individual topics (examples: earth, ducks, karate, penguins, World War II) through using three different mediums. At Station #1 they log on to a computer and search on either World Book or Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Station #2 is at the library shelves where they find a book about their subject. Station #3 is at the hard copy encyclopedias and the students leaf through print.
The worksheets support the ELA common core standards and reflect student findings at each station. They must list the reference material, title of the book or article, the volume number, letter and pages, and also add their research information in a paragraph. Following the research activity, students will be asked to compile their findings and write a few sentences comparing their research processes and decide which method of research they prefer. This collaborative activity helps reinforce ELA classroom goals.
Asking a couple of students about their initial preferences, one 5th grade boy said, “I prefer the print from the hard copy encyclopedia because I have more information and can go from page to page.” The other student said, “I prefer the computer research because I just looked at one paragraph to get what I needed and didn’t have to spend much time on it.”
At Cuba-Rushford Middle School, Wendy Sprague, Librarian, has her 6th graders use their library skills to research a topic of their choice, use several online databases (World Book, Grolier’s and others), and then create a Windows movie project presenting the finding of their topic. Wendy has honed her own technology skills and helps the students get images and sound into their movie projects. They can record their own voices or use Soundzabound royalty-free music clips and sound effects in the background of the project. She shows them how to publish the movie when they are through with the presentation. The publishing of the movie is the favorite part of the day for Wendy. She keeps the projects on file for several years.
The pictures here show the Allegany-Limestone students participating in a research project and the librarian, Rosemarie Grainer, handing out a “bookmark” of usernames and passwords for the computer databases provided to students by Allegany-Limestone Central School District. The other pictures show Wendy Sprague helping her students print their research findings and another student at the board looking at World Book Encyclopedia Online.
By Mary Ann Hebert and Maggie Jensen, CABOCES Learning Resources