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May 2015 eNewsletter

6 Tips for Student Research

WriteSteps Named a 2015 REVERE Award Finalist!

Student Research Classroom Poster Bundle

TeacherFeature: Establishing Procedures and Routines for Writing Workshop

TeacherStar: The Difference between Topics and Subtopics in the Research Unit

Upcoming Conferences
"It's pretty easy to forget things you memorize and near impossible to forget things you understand."
~Larry Martinek, creator of the Mathnasium Method

6 Tips for Student Research
Now that it's close to the end of the year, many of you will be working on the last unit of WriteSteps with your students- the research unit.

Students will learn:
  • The purpose and elements of research writing
  • How to select their own research materials
  • To develop questions to guide their research
  • To cite sources
  • The difference between topics and subtopics
  • Different strategies authors use to develop strong research pieces
  • Focus skills including: introducing a topic; grouping related information; developing the topic with facts, definitions and details; recalling information from sources; taking brief notes from sources; sorting evidence into categories; and using dictionaries to clarify meaning
Conducting research is a vital Common Core skill. But, with the vast amount of information readily available at just the touch of a fingertip, how can students narrow down quality research? Here are six tips you can share with your students that will help them conduct online research and save them time from sifting through unnecessary Internet clutter.
  1. Use a kid-friendly search engine, such as: Kid Rex, GoGooligans, Ask Kids, and Kid Cyber. There are many search engines designed for kids. These websites will help students find information that is relevant, and at an appropriate reading level. They are easy and safe to access.
  2. If your students are writing an essay comparing two things, Google has an auto complete for comparisons function. This function can be used in the kid-friendly search engines listed above. Tell your students they can type their search term + vs and Google will automatically show them comparisons. For example, if you type "organic food vs," the suggestions include conventional food, non-organic food, GMO, and processed food. This tool can be used to narrow down a research topic.
  3. Tell your students to avoid sites that are covered in advertisements and sites that are trying to sell something. These are most likely not sites that will have data that is reputable.
  4. When researching, remind your students to look for an author's name and find out when the article was published. How old is the research? If it is outdated, your student may want to look for recent articles versus older ones.
  5. Before clicking on any URL, ask your students to look and decide if it seems reliable. Are they going to a well known site, like NationalGeographic.com? Government (.gov), or education sites (.edu) are reliable places your students can find information. Generally, opinion and forum sites aren't reliable for research.
  6. It's never too early to learn about web literacy and plagiarism. Teach your students how to properly cite sources. Easybib.com is a free bibliography generator that automatically formats, alphabetizes, and prints bibliographies for free. After learning how to cite sources, students can use this to make sure they are formatted properly and have the correct information.

eWriteSteps Named a 2015 REVERE Award Finalist!
We are thrilled to announce that eWriteSteps was named a finalist for the 2015 REVERE Awards in the Classroom Competition Whole Curriculum Category/Reading and Language Arts subcategory.

The REVERE (Recognizing Valuable Educational Resources) Awards recognize creative resources that engage 21st century teachers and learners. Produced by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) PreK-12 Learning Group, the awards are the only one of their kind to recognize learning resources in all media, for all ages, and covers a wide array of educational subject areas and learning environments.
REVERE Award finalists were chosen by evaluation of quality content and design, audience engagement and appropriateness, usability and orginiality, along with comments and recommendations given by judges. More than 100 evaluators in the education and publishing industries judged the applications. Winners will be announced during the REVERE Awards Gala on June 3 in Washington, DC.

Student Research Classroom Poster Bundle
These grade 3-5 research posters answer three questions for your students:
  1. What are the steps in the research process?
  2. How do you take notes?
  3. How do you list your sources?
Stay tuned for a grade K-2 research classroom bundle set! Click here to get this set of research posters for your students!

TeacherFeature Videos!
Bret Applequist, a fourth grade teacher at Northside Elementary, shares what his students do when they are finished with their independent practice for the day. Establishing routines and procedures such as this one for writing workshop is vital. It allows for student independence so writing conferencing can occur.

https://youtu.be/d1q0NjSWcxI

Click here to learn how you can submit your own TeacherFeature tip and earn $25.

TeacherStar Videos!
Watch as a third grade teacher teaches her students the difference between topics and subtopics during the research unit.

https://youtu.be/ykcMpbmWnT8

Email Emily@WriteStepsWriting.com to find out how you can become a TeacherStar and earn $200.

Upcoming Conferences
May 28-30, Augusta, GA
Stop by the WriteSteps booth at the Richmond County School System Leadership Summit and say hello to Marilyn Massey. She will be able to answer any questions you have about WriteSteps.


"What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul."
~Joseph Addison