[Library Media] Sound familiar?

Michelle Melville Michelle.Melville at slcschools.org
Mon Dec 8 09:20:09 MST 2014

This has been a great discussion by all!

I was thinking this morning that teachers should be required to take college research process course (or at least a required district course) that is taught by a school library media specialist.  I might title the course “Essential Questioning: The Research Process”.


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

From: Lanell Rabner [mailto:lanell.rabner at nebo.edu]
Sent: Friday, December 05, 2014 4:37 PM
To: Fawn Morgan
Cc: Michelle Melville; Librarians; State Library Media List Server (library-media at lists.uen.org)
Subject: Re: [Library Media] Sound familiar?

Having just completed six weeks of non-stop research instruction to our entire Junior class, in both English and US History, I can't emphasize enough the importance of getting teachers on board with not only supporting the art of questioning, but also a willingness to become their own expert in questioning, note taking, using text features to read informational texts, paraphrasing and summarizing, and parenthetical documentation. It is a true collaborative effort between the classroom teacher and librarian to help students overcome their fear of the whole research process, along with identifying keywords, crafting researchable questions, making claims, finding quality evidence that answers their claims, and then writing a critically thought out warrant for each claim. And then there is the hard stuff - the synthesis and analysis - moving from merely reporting to creating new knowledge.

I've taught research strategies and methodologies for most of my career, on both the college and high school levels, and every year I become more convinced that it is not a one person job and can not be done in isolation. Everything we teach needs to be done in close collaboration with the classroom teacher, imbedded in their curriculum. Information literacy skills do not stand on their own, they are an integral part of each academic discipline and should be taught within those contexts. Kids don't care about the Dewey Decimal system, until they are taught how to use it to help them find whatever it is they are looking for. And they certainly don't care about research, until we help them catch the vision of how using the tools we provide them with, will help them be successful.

We are the experts and need to share our expertise by modeling for those teachers and students we work with.

Thanks for sharing this critical discussion. No matter how difficult it is, we can not give up trying to find ways to work with our teaching faculty; helping them see the value we bring to the table, and how we can help ease their teaching burdens, if they will just let us [cid:image002.png at 01D012C8.052A1EB0]

Happy weekend [cid:image004.gif at 01D012C8.052A1EB0]

~lanell rabner

On Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 3:48 PM, Fawn Morgan <fawnbmorgan at gmail.com<mailto:fawnbmorgan at gmail.com>> wrote:
I love this approach. Questioning, I have always felt, was the key to excellent research. Turning an essential question into a thesis after doing background research, and then doing more research to support the thesis produces excellent results. This was the process I used whenever I could convince the teacher. As Marilyn states, jumping to the thesis and skipping the background research is easier and quicker, but doesn't develop those critical thinking skills.

On Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 1:08 PM, Michelle Melville <Michelle.Melville at slcschools.org<mailto:Michelle.Melville at slcschools.org>> wrote:
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<tel:801-578-8500%20x271>

From: library-media [mailto:library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org<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<mailto: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<tel:801-476-3731>
jchristensen at wsd.net<mailto:jchristensen at wsd.net>

Currently Reading:  Charles and Emma and Always Emily
Just Finished: The System:  The Glory and Scandal of Big-time College Football and The Clockwork Scarab
“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.<http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/malalayous569368.html>”
--Malala Yousafzai<http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/malala_yousafzai.html>

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Lanell Rabner
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