Help! I lost my library/media specialist! - Embracing Research

Practical details:

Time Management:
When will you schedule check-in points with your students?  Will you have due dates for specific portions of the research? 

Time management is part of the learning process!  The Research Project Calculator can help you set up a reasonable timetable.  Simply select a format and enter a start and end date. Scheduling in check-in points and due dates and making students aware of them at the outset will help them be successful.  Similar web tools such as Strike and Todoist let students define their own intermediate steps (or you can do it together);  older students might appreciate using these to stay on task and to develop individual planning skills.


Locating and organizing resources:
What types of resources are available for your students to read, view, or listen to?

It’s a good idea for you to do a little searching yourself ahead of time to see what’s available in your library. Remember that the resources used must help to answer the questions that were generated early on. Having great questions allows students to discern which information is useful and which is not. Consider the following before launching the project:

  • What databases does your school subscribe to?
  • Can you access them without the help of a library/media specialist?
  • Is there another teacher in the building who could demo these tools at a faculty meeting (for all teachers who depended on the former library/media specialist? Ask the principal for time during the next meeting!
  • What print resources are best for your purposes?
  • Can/should you request more books via interlibrary loan? (See TeachersFirst’s Curriconnects lists for books on common curriculum topics.)

Will you pull resources together for students, or will they search for them on their own?

  • Will you organize safe web resources for your students in one place?  A class wiki could be set up just for this purpose, or a tool like  Symbaloo, Sqworl, Stich, or Weblist can organize urls. Use Symbaloo to color code resources by reading level or topics.
  • Think about keywords and search terms that are likely to yield the best results and share those.  Consider a specialized search engine like Sweet Search or Kids Click for younger elementary).  These will point to thousands of safe sites that have gotten a stamp of approval from a team of teachers and librarians.  Older students using Google should make use of advanced search techniques.  Great help is available on the Google Web Search for Educators page.


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