So this week I've gotten to spend a lot of time at the middle school. The 7th grade students in Ms. Lombardo's language arts classes were starting their research project. Every year, students are required to hone their research skills, and in 7th grade they were focusing their research on a person's life.
Student's choose an individual from a list of politicians, artists, scientists, writers, and many more. Each student was then required to use a book, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and a third source to find as much information about their person as possible. We needed some ground rules, so at MINIMUM students needed three facts for each of their six different subtopics and a total of 20 facts total. We talked about the importance of creating citations for each resource as well as evaluating each resource for validity.
It came as a great and joyful surprise when, by the end of the week, some students had 40+ facts and had used upwards of four different sources. Citations were tweaked as problems were found, but overall the students did a great job following directions and finding the information they needed.
My part is over, but Ms. Lombardo will be having students use their research to create a five-paragraph informative essay about their individual. This will sharpen their writing skills and will include the skill of using in-text citation (which is why our research citations were so important).
Good luck on writing 7th grade students and thanks for a great week!
If you'd like more information about our project you can visit the library's "Learn" page. Or you can email me at aolson[at]scc.k12.wi.us.