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Research Task Cards: Perfect for Library Centers

Hi Everyone ~ Welcome to the Library Patch and to my little piece of our "Love Those Library Centers" Blog Hop and Giveaway. Read on to discover how to set up a perfect Library Research Center.

Loving Those Research Centers

Many of our school libraries have become hubs of active learning. No longer is it just ... Here a book! There a book! Everywhere a book! Libraries are now far more reflective of the very best tenets of education! Now it is more like ... Here a book! There a makerspace! Everywhere a learning opportunity! The possibilities for creating educational experiences are endless and, at times, can feel REALLY overwhelming for a librarian. Where do I even begin? I believe that library centers can be the answer!!

Library centers can provide library learners with multiple opportunities all at the same time and in the exact same space. Centers can form a solid foundation for an excellent library program by incorporating bite-size bits of STEM activities, technology, makererspaces, literature, book promotion, and research. I firmly believe that NO library program is complete without some sort of a research center!

Ensure a successful research center in your library!

{1} Keep your research tasks short and sweet.
Research projects do NOT need to be long, drawn out, or take days upon days to complete. Often, teachers and librarians balk at research projects because it feels as if they take an eternity to finish! That isn't the case for a research center in the library! Your center should contain a quick and easy task. It could be a single weekly trivia question, a holiday themed question, or a series of research questions. This is NOT the time for depth and complexity. It's an opportunity for students to practice their "location and access" skills.

Short and sweet research questions can be just as effective, and teach similar skills, as an extended question. Students are still required to think through the following questions .... What resource am I going to use? What keyword should I choose? How did I know which page/website link to go to?

{2} Provide the students with the resources that they need to be able to independently find success with the research task.
Research is hard work! I often compare it to a treasure hunt: You can do a whole lot of digging for just one gold nugget. I don't know about you, but I love myself a good old fashioned treasure hunt. However, treasure hunts are NEVER fun if you are digging in the wrong spot. They are simply too hard and too discouraging, and they will lead you to NEVER want to pick up another shovel. Don’t do that to your students.

If you are asking them to identify the four chambers of the heart, then be sure that you provide them with great resources that will have lots of facts about the human heart. Give them a variety of resources, printed and digital so that they have to CHOOSE which resource may be the most efficient. Just take the time to be sure that the resources really do hold all of the answers. Success is key here!

{3} Be sure that your chosen research task has strong, clear keywords.
Keywords are needed for utilizing printed table of contents and indexes AND for researching websites and databases. Students need to be able to look at a question and decide what the keywords are. I like to explain to kids that a keyword will UNLOCK the answer to their question, just like a key unlocks a door. This is a skill that needs lots and lots of practice.

Some people, even a few librarians, think that simple fact-finding questions lack depth and complexity. Well, sure they do, but there are still many benefits to finding the answer to, “Who was president in 1882?”, “How many legs does a spider have?”, and “What is the capital of Zimbabwe?” Those simple research questions require students to read for comprehension, identify the keyword, locate pertinent articles by using that keyword, scan for the keyword in the text, and seek out answers. Not bad for just a simple question, huh?

There are still a great many research skills that are being met in reading, comprehending, and deciphering the text. There is nothing wrong with pointing them in the right direction.

{4} Make sure that your center is fun and engaging.
Okay ... admit it! Research MAY not be the most exciting thing for some kiddos. Sure you and I think that it is awesomesauce, but our kids ... not so much. Try to keep your topics as engaging as possible. Kids love animals, sports figures, and truly weird facts. When creating research tasks, choose topics and questions that your population of students can truly connect with!

The Library Patch's monthly research task cards are the perfect fit for your research library center. Each set consists of twenty monthly cards! Each card has a fun monthly fact printed at the top of the card, and then there are three questions pertaining to that fact. The topics are timely, fun, and kid-centered. Even better each of the fun facts and three questions can easily be edited in Microsoft Word. And ... they can be printed and physically placed in your library's research center OR they can be accessed digitally in Google Slides. 

Isn't February the PERFECT time to try and incorporate a Research Center in  your library?? If you think so too, head on over to my TpT store. You can grab this set of 20 research task cards for just $3.00 {that't 25% off of the regular price} just until February 15th! Or ... you can be sure that you are following my store and enter the Rafflecopter below to win these cards {and my FIVE friends' featured library centers too} ... all on Valentine's Day!

Thanks for "hopping" by friends!! Time to head over to that Library Girl's blog where you can read all about setting up a sweet STEM centered library center. Go on now and click HERE.