I initially balked at the idea.
Model the entire research process in one lesson? With students producing a paragraph with sources, cited in-text (!) by the end of the block?
But, when a teacher approached me with the idea, I said YES. I figured I would come up with something.
Was it do-able? Kind of.
Here's how it went down:
The preparation for the lesson consisted of me actually doing the task: "Find information about Planarian and Light" (grade 9 Science).
By crafting my guiding questions, selecting sources, searching, note-taking, organizing, writing, and citing, I experienced the task as if I were the student. Along the way, I documented my thinking and my solutions to the obstacles I encountered and these became my "talking points" for the lesson.I created a guide with the process & resources we'd use in class and a shortened version of my work for students to type into as we did the task together.
This was a "listening" and "doing" kind of a class.
I told them to work with their eyes glued to my large screen and their laptop screen like a tennis match - my screen/your screen - are we in sync?
Their document had the following key steps:
Guiding Questions to gather background information
Source Selection for background
- Where do YOU like to go to learn something new?
Brief notes for background
- Probably won't be used or cited in the paper - just to get a sense of what we're talking about
I knew ZERO about the topic, so my background information was extremely basic. The students had done a lab with these little flatworms, so they were way ahead of me. I just briefly narrated my thought process of getting familiar with the topic.
Focused Guiding Questions
- Narrower questions based on learnings from the background information
- What types of sources do we need for our new questions - experts? articles?
Here, I explained that I chose targeted databases for them, based on the teacher's request that they find "scholarly" science articles.
Search for & Gather Information (the meatiest part of the process)
I showed them how to...
- Navigate database filters: "full-text", subject, search within
- Use quotation marks in notes to indicate text cut/pasted from a source
- Use a source number in notes to track sources
- Grab pre-formatted citations
- Paraphrase (they practiced paraphrasing one of my quoted facts)
- Read over the information gathered
- Determine categories
- Make an outline with the source codes next to the facts/evidence
Write the paragraph
- Copy the outline and add sentences around the headings and facts, keeping the source numbers intact
This was a revelation to them - to see how I didn't bother to retype any of the evidence from the outline and how the source numbers stayed with the facts.
Create Citations in Noodletools
- Pre-formatted citations are easy! Copy/paste into the manual section and add the source number in the annotation section - this keeps the sources with the coded source numbers
Create Works Cited and copy/paste it below the paragraph
Add in-text citations to the paragraph
- Replace the source number in parenthesis with whatever comes first in the full citation
It was a MAD RUSH but somehow we completed a lot of this - but, not all.
The students did not have time to...
- Take extra notes on their own
- Organize their information
- Write it into a paragraph
- Complete their citations in Noodletools
But, they saw me do these last bits and clicked into how it all fits together.
For max efficiency, all tabs I planned to show were open to the exact right spot in an incognito window (research guide, student template, my notes, each site, noodletools).
Will I do this again?
YES but with a much easier topic with two sources only.
I liked that they saw how one document could contain everything, and that lightbulbs went off when they saw how my red "source numbers" acted as a code that made the in-text citations very easy at the end.
Before I left, I asked the teacher to promise to invite me back to teach about steps we skipped:
- source evaluation
- strategies for reading scholarly articles
- more database tips and tricks
- more note-taking options
- more practice with paraphrasing
- more question generation techniques
- (and so forth!)
She said ok :)