Mission Possible: Research Projects with Primary Students

Anyone who works with young children knows that it can be tricky to teach them how to complete research. At this age, children are still developing their reading skills and meaning-making abilities, but Jennifer Siderius (@NMESmediacenter) showed in her session many ways this can be done!

At the end of Jennifer’s presentation she gave us a bit of homework. She asked us to write an email to ourselves in the future. Using the website https://www.futureme.org, you are able to type an email and determine when it should be delivered. I thought I would share the letter I wrote to myself, based on her presentation, with you!

Dear FutureMe, 

On Friday, November 6, 2015 at the 2015 AASL Conference, you watched a fabulous presenter named Jennifer Siderius. She is a Media Specialist from New Market Elementary in Frederick County, MD. She works with students from preschool to fifth grade.  Here is what you should remember about her presentation so that you can make your library program more awesome than it already is!

You know that students need to complete research using both print and digital sources. You also know that in order for children to understand how to conduct research they need to be shown the process. To do this Jennifer uses the steps of the Super3: plan, do, and review.

You need to spend more time finding out what students are interested in! There is not enough time to have children researching things they already know about! You could try reading the book The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring and then have students share interests they have in their own hearts.  

I know that you do not like KWL charts, but you need to give them another chance. Remember, that Jennifer uses them to guide the research process. After the class has developed questions for the “want to know” section of the chart she goes through these questions with the children to see if they can actually find the answers.

Keep using PebbleGo and BrainPopJr. to have students find their information, but you might also want to consider using Capstone eBooks too! All of these resources have an audio option so your kids can read them regardless of reading level and background knowledge. This is your great equalizer!

You might want to consider trying a Padlet or Popplet with your first and second graders. They will be able to see the thinking of all their classmates and can tell what information they still need to look for without as much guidance from you.

You might want to also try things like Voki, Educreations, Book Creator, and Make Belief Comix for having students share their work!

Do forget to have the kids reflect on their learning. This is always the hardest thing for them to do. Jennifer suggested resources like Plickers, FlipQuiz, Quizizz, Google Forms, and even simple smiley face charts.

Lastly, always keep your objectives in mind when your making decisions on the type of projects you are doing! Remember, if you only try one of these amazing resources you are still moving forward!




Siderius, Jennifer. “Mission Possible: Research Projects with Primary Stuents.” American Association of School Librarians Conference. Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, OH. 6 Nov 2015.

Do see the goggle doc created for her session you can visit: http://bit.ly/1kyWmvh


Author: Kelly Hincks

I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a school librarian for the past eleven years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a school librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair. I currently serve as secretary of my state association, Michigan Association of School Librarians (MASL).

Categories: AASL National Conference, Community

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1 reply

  1. I wish I could have attended this session, but Kelly’s article made me feel like I did not miss out on anything. Well done.

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