The 8th grade is completing their annual career research project today. They are here in the library frantically finishing their five-paragraph essays with all the fantastic facts they found out about their career. I'm so proud of all of them, because research can be a big scary topic. But this year has been the best, most pain-free career research in the nine years I've been here.
Career research in eighth grade happens in three parts. Part 1 is where students go on WisCareers and take a few quizzes to see where their aptitudes and interests lie. WisCareers then suggests careers that might be of interest.
Part 2 is when I get them! Student choose one of the recommended careers from WisCareers to research. They have to find information about their career using four sources; we require them to use WisCareers, two books, and then they have the option of what to use for their fourth source. They also have to find specific information in the subtopics of job description, education, personal skills/traits, pros/cons, licensing, and outlook. They have to find a minimum of 20 facts about their topic covering those subtopics (30 facts got them a cookie at the end of the week, just as a small incentive). Plus everything needed to be properly cited, resources needed to be evaluated for content and quality, and facts correctly taken down in quotations or paraphrasing. All of these requirements can make for a pretty daunting task!
Luckily I'm the research master and try to make it is pain-free as possible. This year we used both digital and paper packets (due to a lack of computers for some sections). Both seemed to work well. In both cases, students followed the Big 6 which asks you to make a plan, do your research, and then evaluation how it went. Both packets, plus extra resources can be seen by visiting: www.scc.k12.wi.us/ms/stud_learn.cfm.
Part 3 is where they take all that wonderful information that they found and present it as a five-paragraph essay. All this week that has been their task, creating interesting introductions, having body paragraphs with support details and accurate in-text citations, and wrapping it all up in a bangin' conclusion.
There are lots of things that contributed to this year's career research going smoother. But mostly, it's the students. They put in the work to master the skills we set out and pushed through even when it got tough. So good job Class of 2019 and I hope the Class of 2020 does just as great next year!