Monday, April 21, 2008

New Fangled Research Assistance

Photo from St. Francis College

Okay... So spring means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but to students and especially to English teachers, it means research papers. I can't begin to tell you how many years I've taken a stack of papers to the lake, to the park, outside to my deck... anywhere to just get some spring soaking in while I did the usual mark-ups on rough drafts for the students to revise. Through the years I have always taken advantage of any and all cheats and ideas to make the system easier for my kiddos... (and ulitmately for me). I have also "leaned" down the paper from the original 12 pages to six... and now to three to five pages. I know... but when you multiply it all times the 80 students.... and then re-check them all when they've been revised... I personally think they can get the idea in three pages... (Don't hate me, Mrs. Kirby.... my beautiful, now in heaven, English teacher from high school).

Okay... this year I found out about a cool website called Son of Citation. No kidding. The kids actually enjoy the documentation part of the paper! You click in there, choose MLA or whatever style format, select the type of resource you have on the left column... fill in the blanks on a chart, click, and voila! You have a shaded area of completed documentation to copy/paste in your paper. Even the further documentation annotation is right there underneath. I am amazed, thrilled, and willing to let them do this and hope for the best. I will use this little site next year for magazine report mini cards.....

Oh, and I let them to a working outline until the paper is finished---- then the real one with the Roman Numerals, etc. And we do introductions and conclusions last... kind of like mirrors or sandwich buns.... Anything to ease their pain.

So far I have graded a cool term paper on Andy Warhol and a very interesting one about the differences in Playstation 3 vs. Xbox 360. So many game-heads any more... I am thinking about the Emporer of Japan's statement during WW 2... I saw it translated in a newsreel about Jack London as a reporter. The Emporer told the reporters something like, "Japan is very patient while the West is not. We will not have the hearts and minds of you today or of your children. But never doubt that we will have the hearts and minds of your grandchildren." I think Japan doesn't exactly, of course. I have no ill will toward Japan at all... but the technology born there... yeah, they have the hearts and minds of the grandsons of many WWII veterans... like my son and my sophomore boys. I have known some girls to break up with boys because of Halo 2.... (a game).

Anyway... I digress! I just thought if any of you were trying to help a child with a research paper, you might want to check out Son of Citation.... ????? Happy spring.

5 comments:

Lisa said...

What??? This is NOT right!! I must take a stand. YOU taught me how to do it the "old fashioned" way remember? I'm going to sulk. The next thing will be allowing mothers to write these things for their kids and it really will be okay. It's all good. I still love you!!

Julie said...

I don't know how you do it! I almost lost my sanity trying to help my daughters get through weekly readers in elementary school!

Janera said...

On my desk at school sits a large paper box full of high school research papers. Ungraded ones. Lawsie, Mercy.

If I slip 'em in with yours, you might not notice.

Thinking. . . thinking. . . thinking. . .

Terri and Bob said...

Hello! How have things been? I am full of pollen or something... my eyes are watery and itchy and I am sneezing all the time... but I am counting down the days til school is out!

Becky K. said...

My guys are writing papers for me now...thanks for this tip...I'll check it out.
Becky K.