Put Some Excitement into Citations!

As an English teacher, I struggled to teach my students to use MLA citations.  Why?  Students didn’t see the need for citing.  They failed to understand its purpose and if students don’t comprehend the purpose of a task, they often don’t put forth their best efforts to accomplish it.

In South Carolina, tenth graders take the High School Assessment Program (HSAP) test during their spring semester.  As part of the ELA section, the research questions can include the proper form for MLA citations.  So, although I prefer to use citation generators like BibMe and KnightCite, I know that our students need practice in creating citations to prepare them for THE TEST. (Please don’t shoot me – I don’t agree with THE TEST, but it is a reality, and if I am not doing my part to prepare our students for it, then I can’t look teachers in the eye when I offer to assist them meet their objectives.)

The World of Citation

Last February, an awesome post appeared in my Google Reader from K-M the Librarian, Sara Kelley-Mudie.  In order to impress the importance of citation to her students, she used a great analogy:  citations are the addresses where the resources reside.

Please take a moment to go read her post – it is darned well worth it and I can wait while you read it.

Now- wasn’t that awesome?!  Doesn’t she inspire you to approach citations from a different perspective?

Switching Things Up

The next time you are preparing to teach citation, why not use K-M’s plan and begin with the address analogy?  Then show her Slideshare presentation (it’s awesome, too!).

Another Trick to Toss In:  Conquer Citation Chaos Kits
When I was a classroom teacher, I started using a hands-on approach for citation practice.  After reviewing the parts of a citation I gave groups of students jumbled citations:  I had written individual parts of citations on index cards and the students had to arrange them in correct order.   Students enjoyed the activity because it was like solving a puzzle.
In preparation for reviewing MLA citations with sophomores recently, I began putting together Conquer Citation Chaos Kits – gallon sized Ziploc bags filled with color coded slips of cardstock.  The picture below shows just two sets of jumbled citations, but I added one more (an encyclopedia article) before using these with my sophomores.
The hot pink strips are parts of a book citation while the orange strips are from a website citation. Currently the strips are not laminated, but if the lesson is successful, I’ll be laminating them for future use. (Note:  The strips are now laminated!  The teacher and students enjoyed the activity and we will use it again.)
The next activity I would like to create -and I’d love suggestions from my readers! – is a hands-on approach to working with in-text citations.

Online Citation Games

You can find several games online to further reinforce the proper formatting of citations.  I must thank Karen Hill, media specialist at Byrnes High School, for introducing me to these games. (Karen probably does not even realize that she “hooked me up” with the games as I found them on her website!)  I have linked to two of these from our library’s website.

Readers:  What do you do to add some ex”cite”ment to citation instruction?
Image attribution:  “Sky Blossoms” http://www.flickr.com/photos/96223849@N00/74626966

13 Responses to “Put Some Excitement into Citations!”

  1. Put Some Excitement into Citations! | Lifelong Learning through Libraries and Technology | Scoop.it Says:

    […] background-position: 50% 0px; background-color:#222222; background-repeat : no-repeat; } informania.wordpress.com – Today, 8:26 […]

  2. Kris McCoy Says:

    Thanks for your inspiring post! Can’t wait to change my approach to citation.

  3. Jennifer Tazerouti Says:

    I will be trying some of your ideas with my middle schoolers and will share this with our faculty. I have a similar activity to your color coded strips. I put parts of a bibliography on large sentence strips and passed them out to students in groups. Then, students had to arrange the citation properly and each group had to go up to the front of the classrroom and hold their citation parts in the correct order. We made it like the Price Is Right Game where the rest of the class would tell the group how many errors they made if any. The group could then reposition themselves according to the feedback. It was fun. This is a great post about something that is normally mundane and tiresome to teach. Thanks for the fresh spin.

    • Fran Bullington Says:

      Love your Price is Right idea! I had thought I might do something similar, but ran out of time before I had to teach the lesson.

      Might be fun to give groups jumbled citations and do a “Beat the Clock” type activity with a timer. The group that correctly positioned themselves the faster would be the winners.

      Anything to spice up the teaching of citation!

      Really want to work on fun ideas for teaching in-text citation.

  4. Using manipulatives to teach the research process « Science and Literacy Says:

    […] one day as I was browsing for a couple minutes (hours) on Pinterest, I came across this blog entry: Put Some Excitement into Citations . I love the citation idea and it really got me thinking about ways to incorporate this hands on […]

  5. Teacher Tips: Citation and References | Exercise the Positive Says:

    […] was also in the same predicament as I was. Bless his soul, this teacher was nice enough to compile a list of references, analogies, and wheeeee! exercises that would make the citation and reference lesson not only clear, but much more interesting and […]

  6. Citing your sources Says:

    […] quoting, a good and responsible writer always cites his sources. Citations or references are the addresses where resources reside- you must always give credit where it is due. Learning how to cite prevents […]

  7. english teacher Says:

    You’ve really inspired me to make citing sources “ex-citing.”

  8. Sherri Malget Says:

    Thanks for the ideas! Love the puzzle idea and thought that a citation tells where the resource lives.

  9. Ashlee Cournia Says:

    Do you have a copy of the “puzzle that you created?”


  10. Crystie Ewen Says:

    I haven’t put it together yet, but one example I thought of was playing some songs that sample others work – like Fall Out Boy’s “Uma Thurman” or “Centuries”. Then, show them an article on Sam Smith “Stay With Me” and talk about how much money he lost because the courts decided he “plagiarized” the song. While most of our kids won’t be rock stars, it is a good example of real world issues.

  11. Krista Says:

    Thank you for your resource! I plan to use this tomorrow!

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