ED 655 – 7th Grade Online Research Unit

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Integrated Course Design:

1.  Situation Factors & Context

Context of the Teaching and Learning Situation:

The classes participating in the unit average in size between 18 and 24 students. The students are in seventh grade. They have two 75-minute blocks and one 45-minute block per week in the 7th Grade English class. The course will be delivered via online tutorial supplemented by in class discussion and partner work with the teacher librarian present in the computer lab to guide student learning for the duration of the tutorial.

Expectations of External Groups:

This unit is designed in accordance with the American Association of School Librarians Standards Framework for Learners and the Laramie County School District 1 Language Arts standards.

Nature of the Subject:

The online research skills students will gain through this unit will be easily adaptable to all of their courses in junior high, high school, college, and beyond. While the tools for accessing online content will necessarily evolve, students will be able to transfer the skills learned to new formats and types of online information.

Characteristics of the Learners:

The students are full-time seventh grade students, and they have a variety of levels of experience with online research from nothing at all to researching on google, depending on which elementary school they attended and which classroom teacher they had in previous years. On the whole, little to no formal training in online research is assumed. Students’ learning styles are varied, and because they are only working with the teacher librarian for the first time in this unit, effort is made to address all potential learning styles within the class.

Special Pedagogical Challenge:

The students’ classroom teacher will collaborate with the teacher librarian in the implementation of the online tutorial and teaching styles may vary depending on the classroom teacher. Because the teacher librarian does not assign grades to students, no points will be given for any of the assessment activities, which means that students must be kept engaged in their learning without the assistance of that particular carrot/stick.

2. Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

Module 1: Keyword Searching

  • Determine which words are most important to achieve the desired results in a search

Module 2: Google Advanced Searching

  • Employ specialized search technique to make their web searches more specific to the information they are seeking

Module 3: Evaluating Websites

  • Evaluate online resources for authority, currency, and bias

Module 4: Online Database Research

  • Locate needed information within an online database

Module 5: Creating Citations

  • Explain the importance of citing sources
  • Create citations using an online citation maker

Module 6: Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Identify plagiarism
  • Summarize information from a text

Overall Learning Objective:

Students will be able to transfer and apply the skills acquired in this unit to research across the curriculum regardless of subject area.

3. Feedback Cycles and Assessment Procedures / 4. Teaching and Learning activities

Module Learning Objective Learning Activities Assessment Feedback
Day 1: Keyword Searching

 

75 minutes

Determine which words are most important to achieve the desired results in a search

 

Read a list of sample research questions and select keywords from those questions

 

Compare and discuss keywords selected with a partner

Summarize the partner discussion about how keywords were selected in a discussion board post

 

 

Teacher librarian responds with comments and follow-up questions in discussion board
Day 2: Google Advanced Searching

 

45 minutes

Employ specialized search technique to make their web searches more specific to the information they are seeking Online lecture on how to use minus signs and quotation marks to narrow down search results in google Using a list of search terms provided, write an explanation of why the research might have put in minus signs around specific words

 

Write a short explanation about why it might be easier to find yourself in a Google search using quotation marks

Students comment on each other’s explanations in the discussion board

 

 

Day 3: Evaluating Websites

 

75 minutes

Evaluate online resources for authority, currency, and bias Introduction to a list of criteria for determining if a website can be trusted

 

Journal about why they think those criteria might be important

 

Use the criteria as a class to evaluate two websites

Share their reasons that they think the criteria is important by writing them on numbered posters hanging on walls

 

Vote in the discussion board on which (if any) of the two websites they would trust

 

 

Students vote for the reason they think is the most important in a small group activity

 

Students read each other’s opinions on which sites they would trust in the discussion board

Day 4: Online Database Research

 

45 minutes

 

 

Locate needed information within an online database Direct instruction modeling by teacher librarian, including how to access the database and perform basic searches Use scavenger hunt questions to find specific information within a database

 

Free choice time to explore the database

Review scavenger hunt answers as a class
Day 5: Creating Citations

 

75 minutes

Explain the importance of citing sources

 

Create citations using an online citation maker

Full class discussion about the importance of giving credit to sources

 

Model creating citations in EasyBib citation tool

Create citations for three links provided in the discussion board and post the final results Teacher Librarian provides feedback on the accuracy of the citations
Day 6: Avoiding Plagiarism

 

75 minutes

Identify plagiarism

Summarize information from a text

Read an article on the prevalence of plagiarism

 

Observe examples of plagiarism

 

Read two articles and extract important details from those articles

Test knowledge of plagiarism using an online game

 

Post three things about plagiarism that they did not know before in the discussion board

 

Use details from texts read to create a summary in their own words

 

 

 

Students comment on two other students’ discussion posts

 

Students volunteer to share their summaries aloud to see how they are similar/different to other students’ summaries written using the same original texts

Final Assessment

(in regular classroom)

Reflect on learning Students journal about what they gained from the unit, what they hope to learn more about, and how they might transfer the skills they learned Teacher librarian responds to journal entries


5. Rationale for selected activities:

The unit is designed to meet the needs of all the 7th grade English classes and to be adaptable to individual teacher preferences. There are three 7th grad English teachers, and they usually each choose a different research topic to focus on with their students. My hope is that I could also use parts of this unit with students who are absent for a day or two of research instruction, so they do not fall behind their classmates in their research.

6. Underlying Theory:

The learning objectives were developed using Bloom’s taxonomy (Armstrong, n.d.) and the ASU Objectives Builder (Basore, n.d.). I followed Fink’s method of selecting learning objectives followed by assessment strategies and then learning activities (2013). This felt backwards, yet at the same time, easier than usual, because I knew exactly what I was working toward when I selected the learning activities.

Feedback is one of my weakest areas as a teacher, so I added a column right into the plan for how I would provide feedback. I liked that Fink (2013) also focused on peer feedback, because I tend to take it all upon myself when feedback from peers is as valuable, if not more valuable, for students.

References

Armstrong, P. (n.d.). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/

Basore, J. (n.d.) Objectives Builder. Retrieved from http://teachonline.asu.edu/objectives-builder/

Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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