Teachers Network
Translate Translate English to Chinese Translate English to French
  Translate English to German Translate English to Italian Translate English to Japan
  Translate English to Korean Russian Translate English to Spanish
Lesson Plan Search
Our Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Popular Teacher Designed Activities
TeachNet NYC Directory of Lesson Plans TeachNet NYC Dirctory of Lesson Plans

Teachers Network Leadership Institute
How-To Articles
Videos About Teaching
Effective Teachers Website
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Teacher Research
For NYC Teachers
For New Teachers

TeachNet Grant:
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
Other Grant Winners
Math and Science Learning
Impact II
Grant Resources
Grant How-To's
Free Resources for Teachers
Our Mission
   Press Releases
   Silver Reel
   2002 Educational Publishers Award


How-To: Implement Standards, Curriculum and, Assessment

Teaching Students How to Do Online Research Rosemary Shaw

When I first started teaching technology, I focused more on the technical side. How to insert pictures, how to add sounds, how to do all the fancy buttons and bells. 

It was the least satisfying experience in my entire teaching career. I also found out that the students weren’t happy either. They had made some amazing hypermedia projects, including web pages, but they lacked substance. Surprisingly, the students instinctively knew that without the substance to back up the project, without the heart, there really is no project.

The next year, I went to my principal and said, “I want to redesign my class. Instead of teaching technology, I want to teach research. “ 

Since then, no matter what project I have planned, I first teach research skills. I found a list of the six steps to online research, and have used these steps ever since in every class I teach. 

First, I make my students learn the list of the six steps to online research.


Then, I talk about each step and what it means to me, to them, and for the class.

You must understand the assignment before you can begin to ask questions about  the project. 

The idea is to make sure you (the student) understand what the teacher wants you to research. Once you understand the topic, then you should brainstorm and write down some questions about the topic that interest you. Talk to your parents and to friends and even other teachers about your topic and find out what others might find interesting about your topic. 

This is a great time to come up with key words to use with search engines.

Once you have some questions, then plan out your project. How long is it going to take? Where should you look for information? How many different sources do you need? Will you need to work with others? If you have to e-mail experts, how will you get their addresses?

While it might seem the easiest thing to get all your information from the Internet, it is NOT the best thing to do. There is a lot of wrong and misleading information out on the WWW. It is a great place to get information, but it should never be the ONLY place to get information. Make sure you go to the library to check out books on your subject. You should also use as many primary sources as possible. 

Primary sources include diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, manuscripts and other papers in which individuals describe events in which they were participants or observers. Memoirs and autobiographies are also types of primary sources. Important primary sources are records, such as births, deaths, marriages, permits and licenses and census data. Photographs, audio recordings and moving pictures or video recordings can also be considered primary sources. 

Primary sources can be found on the Internet. For example, Duke University (http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/women/cwdocs.html) has copies of diaries, letters and documents on the web. Also C-Span has information that is considered primary. (http://c-span.org/)

I also encourage my students to write as many experts as they can. I have found that NASA is wonderful about writing back. This year alone, we had three  NASA engineers working with students via e-mail. Also, many university  professors will write back.  

Sorting and Sifting 
Once you have gathered together many different sources, you need to put them in some sort of order. Sorting your information into categories or even piles can  be useful. While you do this, you can start to get rid of the information that you won't use. If you have any information twice, or three times, you need to  get rid of repeated information.  

This is especially true of Internet resources. Many web page authors just cut and paste information they find on other sites. Do not use repeated information.

Now that you have all you information gathered and sorted, you need to put it together into one report. There are many different ways to do this. One idea is  to do concept mapping. To do a Map, write the main idea in the center of the  page -- it may be a word or a phrase -- then place related ideas on branches  that fan out from this central idea.  

There are also types of software that help with concept mapping, Inspiration  and Kidspiration are two that come to mind. Also, for the Palm Handhelds,  there is the Hi-CE PICoMap software. 

You could also try clustering which is a type of prewriting that allows you to  explore many ideas as soon as they occur to you. Like brainstorming or free-associating, clustering allows you to begin without clear ideas. There is also  the tried and true outlining method. With an outline you first identify the  topic, then you create some main categories and then subcategories. 

Once you have written your paper you have to read it and make sure it satisfies the requirement of the project. You can try to fix your report, but you have to  also be prepared to start all over again.  

While doing research please remember to make effective use of time online and  in library (media center) Stay on task at all times. You must use a wide  variety of information sources, both print and non-print, and take meaningful  notes. Remember to keep your information organized. You also have to keep  careful bibliographic records of all sources used and then remember to cite all  sources! 

One great tool to help keep your bibliographic records in correct form is  NoodleTools (http://www.noodletools.com/). NoodleTools is a suite of  interactive tools designed to aid students and professionals with their online  research. From selecting a search engine and finding some relevant sources, to  citing those sources in MLA or APA style, NoodleTools makes online research  easier!

I always show my students NoodleTools and encourage them to use the free QuickCite tool. QuickCite will help them to create MLA style sources for:  books, encyclopedia articles, magazine articles, online magazine articles,  newspaper articles, professional web pages, personal web pages, e-mail  messages, Interviews and even online discussion boards or forums.  When students do intensive research, they should have books, articles, e-mail  messages and interviews to cite!  


Come across an outdated link?
Please visit The Wayback Machine to find what you are looking for.


Journey Back to the Great Before