[Library Media] Sound familiar?

Marilyn Walker Marilyn.Walker at slcschools.org
Fri Dec 5 14:52:16 MST 2014

Thanks Michelle, for validating what I have thought for years. I followed your outline when I was in college writing research papers. It was the only approach that made sense to me. I try to get the students to do the same when teaching research. My problem is when the teacher insists on doing it the other way. Thanks again.

Marilyn Walker
Library Technology Teacher
Escalante Elementary
Salt Lake School District
From: library-media <library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org> on behalf of Michelle Melville
Sent: Friday, December 5, 2014 1:08 PM
To: Joanne Christensen; State Library Media List Server (library-media at lists.uen.org)
Cc: Librarians
Subject: Re: [Library Media] Sound familiar?

Thank you Joanne for sharing this article!

In regards to the following quote:

Discovery is not the problem – it’s knowing how to evaluate, analyze, and synthesize

The sources students use in their papers are generally found to be acceptable by their professors, who point out that students have more trouble with writing, critical thinking, argument, and synthesis (Dimmock 2013, 12).
I have been having ongoing discussions with the LA dept. chair at WHS regarding setting up the research process to improve questioning and critical thinking, not just research regurgitation.  Here is my thoughts for what they are worth!  Too often students are asked to choose a topic, write a thesis statement, do research, and report their findings.  The problem I have with this approach is that students’ critical thinking is greatly hampered when creating a thesis statement before doing any research and are therefore not basing their research on a well-rounded essential question.
Beginning next week, I am going to take another approach with my LA teacher’s argumentative writing paper.  They have been reading “A Long Way Gone” about child soldiers and he has a list of topics students can select for their paper.  Then the process will proceed:

•         Background Knowledge Development regarding topics

•         Choose Topic

•         Create an Essential Research Question with following criteria:

1.      Probes matter of considerable importance

2.      Requires movement beyond understanding and studying.

3.      Allows you to create opinion that leads to some kind of action.

4.      The question cannot be answered by a simple yes or no.

5.      The question endures, shifts, and evolves with time and changing conditions.

6.      The question may be unanswerable.

7.      The question may frustrate the researcher.

•         Begin Research, take notes, create bibliography

•         Develop Thesis Statement

•         Continue Research as needed

•         Create Outline

•         Final Draft

**We are using NoodleTools from Pioneer K12 to follow this process.  Each notecard in NoodleTools requires a direct quotation, paraphrasing the quotation, write opinion about quotation.  NoodleTools is an amazing resource for helping students organize their research and paper.  The teacher creates a NT dropbox, then the students share their project with the teacher.  The teacher can the give feedback on each students project, as well as, grading each step in the student’s “To-Do” list without any paper being printed!  I will be offering a class on NoodelTools at the UELMA Conference if anyone is interested in learning more.

I have done portions of this process, but now I have a teacher willing to try the whole process!  I have done a similar process with students as young as second grade.  They would do a typical animal research project learning about basic facts, then develop a “Why do you suppose” question about the animal, then take their question to an expert (Hogle Zoo) and write a paragraph about the question attaching it their research project.

I love other thoughts on how to develop critical thinking research method!

Have a great day,

Michelle Melville
Library Technology Teacher
West High School
241 North 300 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
801-578-8500 x271

From: library-media [mailto:library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org] On Behalf Of Joanne Christensen
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2014 1:28 PM
To: State Library Media List Server (library-media at lists.uen.org)
Subject: [Library Media] Sound familiar?


Joanne F. Christensen
Teacher Librarian
Weber High School Library
430 W. Weber High Drive
Pleasant View, UT  84414 801-476-3731
jchristensen at wsd.net<mailto:jchristensen at wsd.net>

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