Give Them Credit

As far as students being responsible for writing a bibliography, there are a couple of ways to look at the issue. First of all, the point of the bibliography is to site the sources used in the information presented. If the teachers provide the sources, then the sources are known. Does the student use all of the sites that are offered? If not, then which ones? Do the students know how to identify the information required for the bibliography? Do they know where to find it?

I will say this: Creating a bibliography from scratch is RIDICULOUSLY LABOR INTENSIVE for little kids who don’t know a domain name from a carrot stick, and who can’t type more than a word a minute. If the teachers are unenthusiastic about doing a bibliography is because one has to weigh the effort/time issue. It can and does take an entire class period to find and type the information in the bibliography.

Here’s a thought: Very often websites and legitimate research provides a “site source” at the bottom of the page. One example of this is Answers.com. All articles from Answers.com have a “Site Source” list at the bottom because Answers pulls from several different research resources i.e. online encyclopedias. When one uses information from one of the many articles, he needs to use which ever one in the list he took the information from. Then all he needs to do is copy and paste the source because all the information is already put in the proper format for a MLA or APA bibliography (it’s indicated). (See Picture attached.) That was a long way of saying that maybe when sources are provided for the students, copyright information could also be provided for the students so all they would have to do is copy and paste the information like from Answers.


In addition, I think that since the high school and college kids all use bibilography maker tools, that we should be teaching elementary school kids to use tools like easybib to create their bibliographies. Here’s a list of tools to create bibliographies:
EasyBib – this is the preferred tool because you can complete the entire bibliography and then download the complete sources sited document.
OttoBib – enter the ISBN of books and the generator creates the bibliography entry – this is great!!!
Zotero – Firefox extension that helps collect source information for the bibliography
Citation Maker
BibMe

Of course then the student has to be able to identify all of the required information to fill in the fields and then take the time to type in the author, date, sponsoring organization, etc. I’ve taught kids to identify those components and copy and paste as much as they can to save time.

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