Information Skills Tasks

Whether we like it or not, state testing is just over a week away for us in Louisiana. I’m not going to get on my soapbox and talk about my thoughts on standardized testing, because the reality of the situation is that it’s something we have to do. Scores play a big part in our school performance scores and teacher evaluations, and I work in a high performing district with high expectations. Testing and test prep is a stressful topic for everyone.

In order to best support my teachers and students, I wanted to come up with some activities that would help support them in preparation for “the test” while still engaging students in a fun (and rigorous) way. I bounced the idea around with my awesome 6th grade teachers and then got to work on developing a series of “tasks”, structured like puzzles, for the students to complete in groups during a library visit. Putting this together was A LOT of work…and my teachers really didn’t have time to put something like this together, so it was a great way for me to be able to support them. These activities went over so well with our 6th graders that I’m planning to add, adjust, and tweak them to do with 7th and 8th grade students next week.

Since I’m planning to do some variation of these activities will all of my students (meaning 42 times!), I knew that repeating the directions so many times would get old. So I used the idea shared by Lodge McCammon at METC to film the quick instructions so they would be delivered consistently each time:

Putting together all of the materials for this was time consuming. I created visually appealing pieces for the students to use, which I’ve shared below — five tasks all together (although each group only used 3-4 of the tasks). I color coded activities using card stock and numbered all of the pieces in each folder to correspond with the group number on the folder (six groups in all — meaning I made six copies/folders of each task). This way, when I found a rogue piece on the floor, I would know which folder it came from (and I stressed with students the importance of keeping up with materials).

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Below, I’ve shared photos of each task in action, as well as digital copies of the materials used to create each task. Feel free to take and use anything here that I have shared!

Author’s Purpose:

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Authors Purpose by librariantiff

Research to Build Knowledge:

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Research to Build Knowledge by librariantiff

Bibliographic Entries:

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Bibliographic Entries by librariantiff

Parenthetical Citations:

Parenthetical Citation by librariantiff

Thinking Maps:

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Thinking Maps by librariantiff

Task List Handout:

Library Tasks

The model bibliographic entries and parenthetical citations pages, as well as the resources from the Research to Build Knowledge activity, are from our state test sample materials, which can be found here. The author’s purpose and FLEE map samples were created by our 6th grade ELA teachers.

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3 Responses to Information Skills Tasks

  1. Monique German says:

    Thank you for sharing this great idea, Tiffany. Our testing will not be until May, which gives me some time to put activities together that address our standards. Like you say, our teachers don’t have time to do all of this, but will jump on the chance to bring in students for this type of review.

  2. Andrea says:

    These are great ideas! I’m sure the students enjoyed the activities. We did similar review activities in the library the past few weeks. I visited my best friend, teacherspayteachers.com, to save a little time. Wishing your students much success on “the test”!

  3. Kelly Shipman says:

    Great ideas! I would love to share with librarians in my district.

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