Matrix Maker

This blog is for a graduate course called "Information Inquiry for School Teachers"

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Connecting with the Classroom

Having experienced this information inquiry process I feel I would have more empathy for students who struggle with research papers than I previously did. Having the right tools in school makes all the difference in the world and those tools include the right techniques, not just technology. I don't think it matters whether you are an adult or a child you still need to develop skills in arriving at topic selection and the mind maps, lists and other tools can help any age person to accomplish their goals. These techniques are not just for research papers, but for anything one does in life whether planning a corporate merger or buying an appliance for the home. While adults might do some of this in their heads, putting it done on paper helps to think more throughly. These techniques I hope to show my three kids that are currently in college and help them through their information inquiry processes.

As Dr. Callison writes in A Guide to Teaching Information Literacy, "the school media center is a place where student's may explore more fully classroom subjects . . . " (p.19) and I am so glad I now understand how I can help those students when they come searching for answers to not just their classroom assignment, but to analyzing how to go through the steps of information inquiry. I will also be able to let them know that there are stages to their information inquiry that include apprehension regarding their search, and fear and doubt about the material, to the stage where it all comes in focus and that these emotions are all expected and normal. (Kuhlthau, Carol. Teaching the Library Research Process.) As a support to the teacher, I would hope to collaborate with each on their chosen curriculum and have models like Lambs 8W's or the Big6 to give the teachers and their students to help them to brainstorm their topics.

My project involved putting information into the form of a brochure. I think a teacher could use this in place of any task that requires a report and it can be created on a computer or simply by the student designing with crayons and pencil. One content area in particular would be Social Studies for the 3rd grade, Indiana Academic Standard 3.2.6 Discuss and explain the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. Explain other ways citizens can affirm citzenship. The students could create a brochure and make drawings that explain the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. The teacher could post all of the brochures and get all the students involved in a discussion of how different people view their personal aspect of citizenship as illustrated by their own brochures.

Another classroom area where a brochure could capture the information details commonly found in a report would be the Science Class, in this case a 10th grade class room and Indiana Standard ES.1.21 Identify the various processes that are involved in the water cycle. Having each student design a brochure showing the processes of the water cycle would not only be constructive learning but would aid in retention of the information instead of memorization of information to be forgotten later. The student would have to fulling understand the concepts to put the different stages into the brochure correctly and by illustrating the brochure they would be reviewing the information for further knowledge.

The format of a brochure would also meets the 3rd Standard of AASL The Student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively and fulfills all 4 indicators:
Organize, implement, apply and produce. Creating a brochure is a creative way of expressing information literacy and the student gets immediate gratification when the project is complete. They can see their work and evaluate it themselves. They know whether they met the requirements; they know if their brochure is organized. They immediately gain knowledge and they use their critical thinking skills to design and layout the brochure. Including graphics or their own drawings lends to the creative skills allowing them to produce and communicate their ideas in a format for anyone to understand.

I had always thought of a brochure as a tool for marketing, but I now see that students can use it as a learning tool. I think it has helped me to see beyond the scope of all research as being in term paper form and I am challenging myself to look at other options for communicating my ideas.

I can definitely say I have enjoyed the blogging component of this exercise and will use it again. I also want to move into webquests and web pages and see how I can make those useful for the classroom.

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might

I wish I may, I wish I might not have to go through these challenges of uploading a file again. Next time, I will have set up that website before I need it. That is the biggest weakness I felt through the entire personal inquiry process.

The strength of the project was how I developed my topic. I know I have now conditioned myself to go through these steps of concept maps, KWLs and listings to determine what I know and what I want to learn. And the best part, is knowing that it is alright to have doubts, to change my mind and to have a little anxiety when I approach a project. I use to be sooo jealous of those who always know what they were going to write about. I find myself overwhelmed with all of the information and find myself going in all different directions. The information inquiry process has taught me concrete methods to arrive at the topic and I think as a librarian I will be most helpful now to students who struggle as I did.

Saying Goodbye

Not sure if the 8W is waving goodbye to the project or not, but it sounds good to me. I'm feeling that sense of accomplishment in that the project is now done and out in the drop box. It caused me a little trouble uploading the Geocities and again on Oncourse, but I have a copy out there requiring Microsoft Publisher. I know I need to learn more about the technology that was giving me so much trouble, so I am not giving up on getting it out there someday.

I did create a message in the POD for High School where we put our blogs and invited others to review my blog and the project.

I mentioned in that message that I though the brochure that I used would be a great project for any discipline and it allows the students the opportunity to be creative. I believe students learn in many different formats and I thinking creating a brochure gives them a little more ownership of knowledge than would a traditional report.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Creating a Rubric

The following is a rubric that I made using a rubric maker at This is just a simple tool and gives great clarity to what is desired from the project. I would recommend it to any new teacher to use.

What is nice about the rubric is that is gives the student an idea what the teacher is looking for. By publishing the rubric the students and the teacher are both winners because the requirements are stated. I wish I had had something like this when I was going to school. Too often students are spending more time trying to figure out instructions and what the teacher is wanting that could be spent on research.

Since it resembles an Excel spreadsheet I was not able to bring the chart into the blog like it was displayed, but I have the categories I chose with the expectations and points for each.

Writing - Organization
4 Points -Each section in the brochure has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
3 Points -Almost all sections of the brochure have a clear beginning, middle and end.
2 Points -Most sections of the brochure have a clear beginning, middle and end.
1 Point -Less than half of the sections of the brochure have a clear beginning, middle and end.

Writing - Grammar
4 Points-There are no grammatical mistakes in the brochure.
3 Points-There are no grammatical mistakes in the brochure after feedback from an adult.
2 Points-There are 1-2 grammatical mistakes in the brochure even after feedback from an adult.
1 Point-There are several grammatical mistakes in the brochure even after feedback from an adult.

Content - Accuracy
4 Points-All facts in the brochure are accurate.
3 Points-99-90% of the facts in the brochure are accurate.
2 Points-89-80% of the facts in the brochure are accurate.
1 Point-Fewer than 80% of the facts in the brochure are accurate.

Attractiveness & Organization
4 Points-The brochure has exceptionally attractive formatting and well-organized information.
3 Points-The brochure has attractive formatting and well-organized information.
2 Points-The brochure has well-organized information.
1 Point-The brochure's formatting and organization of material are confusing to the reader.

4 Points-Careful and accurate records are kept to document the source of 95-100% of the facts and graphics in the brochure.
3Points-Careful and accurate records are kept to document the source of 94-85% of the facts and graphics in the brochure.
2Points-Careful and accurate records are kept to document the source of 84-75% of the facts and graphics in the brochure.
1 Point-Sources are not documented accurately or are not kept on many facts and graphics.

Knowledge Gained
4 Points-All students in the group can accurately answer all questions related to facts in the brochure and to technical processes used to create the brochure.
3 Points-All students in the group can accurately answer most questions related to facts in the brochure and to technical processes used to create the brochure.
2 Points-Most students in the group can accurately answer most questions related to facts in the brochure and to technical processes used to create the brochure.
1 Point-Several students in the group appear to have little knowledge about the facts or technical processes used in the brochure.

Bitmap Graphics/Pictures
4 Points-Graphics go well with the text and there is a good mix of text and graphics.
3 Points-Graphics go well with the text, but there are so many that they distract from the text.
2 Points-Graphics go well with the text, but there are too few and the brochure seems "text-heavy".
1 Point-Graphics do not go with the accompanying text or appear to be randomly chosen.

Monday, February 21, 2005

A Pretty Little Package

From talking to family and friends about my Christmas Seals idea, I decided to create a brochure. Just as an agency would describe the program and particularly at this time, as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Seal.

The stage of wrapping in Lamb's 8Ws discusses the possible ways information can be used and I knew with the graphic images I had collected it just needed to be either a web page, newsletter or a brochure.

I like the idea of a brochure because it will allow me the opportunity to give a little bit of information to the reader without having to elaborate as I would in a long report. I can give a short history on the development of the Christmas Seal, as well as, today's developments with TB. This is the style I think an agency would use if they were producing a brochure.

I am looking at all of my information as categories. I have information on what tuberculosis is, how society viewed the disease, remedies, famous persons who have had tuberculosis, sanitoriums, the graphic images I have collected, the idea for Christmas Seals, Emily Bissell and her campaign and information from the World Health Organization on TB in the world today. I plan to make little sections in the brochure that have captions describing these particular areas. And, I must find a spot for a tearjerking story about a little boy spending his penny to get a stamp because his sister has the disease. I want to make this chronological in order and maintain the focus on the Christmas Seals but enterwining the reason for the stamps was tuberculosis.

I plan to use Microsoft Publisher to create this brochure and I have never used the product so this is as good a time as any to start. I have also looked at several products on the web for evaluating brochures and I have found a rubric that I created to help me as I design my project.

While I went into this project to learn more about my relatives and the disease that claimed their lives, I intially thought I would be looking at the social conotations associated with the disease, but I find it was not like I had expected living in a world with AIDS and HIV. From the research I felt better about the situation and environment they endured and learning about the United States and the world working to find a cure was enlightening for me. I really felt like I learned something despite my preconceived notions about the topic.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


I finally found the information I had been looking for when I first started my genealogy search. I found not only my grandmother's death certificate, but also her brother's and I learned alot more about tuberculosis. On both certificates it gave detailed information on the diagnosis including the first time the physican had seen the patient for the disease. This was more information than I had seen with other certificates I had been working with.

I showed the information to my mother and asked what she remembered about her mother and uncle having TB. She told me of how they had to move to Arizona because the air was better for them there. She also told me that my grandfather had contracted TB but recovered. I didn't know anything about this because he died 40 years after my grandmother did from a heart attack. She told me how her brother and her had to bury her mother's spitum cups in the backyard because it was to hot outsideto burn them and it was the only sanitary method of disposal. It seemed from her stories that having tuberculosis was just something common back then and you just dealt with it.

I told her about my plans for the project and what I had found already in books and on the internet. I was so excited about the project and the death certificates I found, I didn't realize that I was doing information inquiry. In the Weaving phase of Lamb's 8Ws it mentions discussing ideas with peers and family. I have been doing that alot with my mother, my husband and co-workers.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Wiggling and a Little Squirming

I have been reading the books that my friend at the library sent me. It's overwhelming how much information I have collected. More than what I need, but I feel like I need to tell a little about what tuberculosis is before I can tell why they tried to raise funds to get rid of it. I am trying to take into account that the reader of my piece will not have the same amount of knowledge about the subject as I do, so I need to convey basic concepts.

Since I have a focus now on what I want the project to be about "Christmas Seals" I want to streamline the information I have. As in Kuhlthau's model I am working at gathering information that defines, extends and supports the focus. So I am keeping some of the resources regarding the disease, but I am really more interested in the resources that address Christmas Seals in general. I am particularly excited about the actual images I found in another article on the internet and I am thinking about incorporating them into my project.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Where Am I?

I have been looking over my blogs and I have found that my personal research style appears to be closer Kuhlthau and in some respects to the REACTS model.

With my blog entitled "It's all Relative", I started looking at the broad topic of genealogy in correspondence to the Watching from the W's. Of course, I had alot of the apprehension and uncertainty that goes with Stage 1 and 2 of Kuhlthau's Information Search Process. I worried alot about the end result and if I would be able to find a topic that would meet the criteria set by Dr. Lamb. I do really enjoy the journaling in the blog, so I guess that does fit with the first W also. I think it helps me write down my thought processes.

In the blog entitled Doctor's Orders, I started the 2nd W of Wondering and asked questions to begin to narrow my topic (Explaining stage of (REACTS) when I talked about family health issues and in particular about my grandmother's TB. I was also Exploring (REACTS) by reading internet web sites, scanning books and talking to others which leads to topic selection in stage 2 of Kuhlthau.

Although I labeled the blog "Too Much to Choose From" Wondering, I think I may have been further ahead with stage 3 of Kuhlthau's Prefocus Exploration as the list I developed was investigative in origin. I also can see what I did while reviewing the blog was using the REACTS model of Analyzing. I was examining and organizing materials I had gathered and determining if a thesis statement could be based from my findings and, of course, I hadmore confusion, doubt and uncertainty (Kuhlthau).

So where am I today?
Well, my prefocus exploration (Kuhlthau) has taken me into some unusual areas to find a topic. In my search for learning more about TB I ended up on e-Bay. Yes, e-Bay. Here I found a ton of sales on Christmas Seals. I started researching Christmas Seals and began to find their history with the fight to erradicate the disease of tuberculosis. So, while I was first leaning towards how society viewed TB and later in my listing process put charitable organizations as a the number one topic, I have now narrowed my topic to (drum roll) - How Christmas Seals helped stamp out Tuberculosis, which kind of combines the two with a specific focus that can be achieved.

So, I'm at the turning point (Stage 4 Focus Formulation, Kuhlthau). The uncertainty, as Kuhlthau describes it, is diminishing and I am ready to start gathering materials.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

So much to choose from

To find out more about the disease that took my grandmother at the age of 30, I have been skimming and scanning information about TB on the internet and have received several books from a librarian friend on the topic. I am still not sure yet where to focus in regards to the topic of TB. I am actually blown away with how much I have found. I would like to read all of it, but that's not practical now.

I really liked Desa blog where she made a list and ranked them so I think I will borrow that idea in regards to my findings so far.

Possible Topics
1. Charity Organizations
2. Art Forms and Tuberculosis
3. Sanitariums
4. How society has viewed tuberculosis through the ages (as compared to Leprosy/AIDS)
5. The symptoms of tuberculosis.
6. History of tuberculosis (has been here since beginning of time)
7. Medical treatments through the ages for tuberculosis (blood letting?)
8. Famous people who died of tuberculosis
9. Other terms for tuberculosis
10. Tuberculosis and modern day society

I think I want to look at each of these once again and see which will give me a sense of how tuberculosis was viewed around the time my grandmother contracted the illness.