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!).
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.