Friday, March 10, 2017

New MLA 8 instructions

We hosted the English Department on Eight Grade Parent Night last week. Mr. Remley cycled through five presentations about the English program which included a plug for the English teachers' collaboration with NCHS librarians. We were so excited to have library visitors during open house that we made a pamphlet about library services. Here it is.

In our last post, we introduced new materials to help students build their citations from scratch. In this post, we will showcase where we are warehousing those resources and a few more tools we created. As mentioned earlier, these resources were created in response to student feedback collected from exit surveys completed as classes wrapped up two benchmark research assignments: the 9th grade Speech on a Controversial Issue, and the Junior Research Paper (English 1st semester). As juniors begin working on their second research paper in social studies and freshmen begin working on their Collapse Project (based on Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies choose to Fail or Succeed).

Introducing the Collapse project to Ms. Bacon and Mr. Schwartz's classes in ColLabB

Let's start with the portal for all this content. Ms. Whiting has been working on THE ANNEX 2.0. While Blogger has served us well as an instructional portal since 2011, we've been thinking it may be time to upgrade. We are experimenting with the Beta version of the new Google Sites. Once the product is  a little more fleshed out, we will migrate our content. We welcome student feedback and suggestions for this project. Students can email the library to offer suggestions. We created an MLA 8 help page in this new space as our pilot.

Here is a little Walk through:

Last spring, we created an MLA 8 slide show to introduce teachers to the new guidelines. Lately, we've been working on instructional materials for students. We are warehousing them in this webpage, which is part of what will become the new THE ANNEX@ once we sunset the existing one.

The basic slide show:

The narrated abridged slide show in video format:

We created a one-page handout to help students understand the elements of MLA 8. We made posters of these instructions for teachers to post in their classroom. Here is the graphic:

Using student inquiries - those "How do I cite...?" queries from the library's text messaging service - we are building a works consulted exemplar. Where need arises (and time permits) we offer a QR code and a shortened link to an image explaining the citation in detail, element by element. These resources were built to help students learn and will continue to evolve in response to student needs.
Screenshot of document
One of the QR codes from above
Example of what a QR code links to

We grouped these citations on the webpage itself by material type for students who prefer to explore one category at a time:

Online citation generators such as EasyBib and NoodleTools arrange the citations themselves in correct order and format the page for students so students will need to know how to do this. The rules are simple:

  • One inch margins
  • Size 12 font
  • Times New Roman font
  • Arrange citations in alphabetical order on the page according to the first word in the citation (after "a", "an", or "the")
  • Hanging indents (see video below to use page ruler, not space or tab key)

Finally, we wanted to make sure students understood how to cite each of our databases. While the databases themselves provide citations, we have found them all to be incorrect. See below.

We created the Database Cheat Sheet to help students understand what each database does, provide the username and password to access it, links to tutorials on how to use it, a correct citation for each one, and what that citation might look like as an embedded reference. Below, we included the public version, which omits the username and passwords.