Assign your students a research project and there are usually quite a few groans. But at a school library in Iowa you’ll hear nothing but cheers. Shannon Miller, a rockstar librarian at Van Meter School, really knows how to put together an awesome 21st century research project. We were there to witness it all…and are still buzzing from all of the excitement.
Shannon, a longtime friend of EasyBib, contacted us to see if we would be interested in Skyping with her third graders. Her students were about to start a research project and she wanted the EasyBib librarians to talk about citation basics. We were more than happy to help! We “met” with her third graders a couple of weeks ago to learn about their research project and share how EasyBib could help.
We started the first Skype session only knowing their research topic: Rainbow Loom bracelets. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rainbow Loom, they are arguably the coolest fad right now among young students. Using a plastic loom and small rubber bands (that eerily remind me of the bands I strung across my braces), kids across the country are creating fun and fashionable bracelets. Cool designs, vivid colors, and trading among friends is the hottest thing since Silly Bands. While many teachers and schools have banned these bracelets because of distractions, Shannon has embraced the excitement among her students and created a fab research project for them.
The students started out by brainstorming research questions with a buddy. Together, they created questions related to the company, designs, and revenue. Using their own devices from home or laptops owned by the school, students explored sites and databases searching for answers to their questions. One key question that Shannon wanted her students to keep in mind was “How is our Rainbow Loom project going to make a difference to others in the world?” The class had a discussion. They decided to send extra bracelets to schools in Africa or another part of the world. Shannon asked other schools across the country to help. Looking to join in the fun? You can sign up here!
The students are getting so much out of this project. They’re working collaboratively. They are hitting every single step of Stripling’s Model of Inquiry. They’re using the devices they own and are comfortable using. They’re motivated and excited to conduct research on something they love. And to top it off, they have a couple of pretty cool guest speakers from EasyBib helping them learn citation basics. Kudos to Shannon Miller for making the research process such an enjoyable experience for her students and for tying in so many innovative ideas. You truly are a rockstar librarian!
Michele Kirschenbaum is an information literacy librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. You can find her on Twitter, @Michele_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.