Dissecting a Bibliography

Every student finished the lesson with a bibliography that looked like this one above

Last week, I described how we began the research process with 6th graders by learning how to create a bibliography. I was happy with that lesson, but I felt concerned that the students did not really understand the elements that went into making each citation. I taught them how to create a citation using Easybib. This meant that they did not have to find the author, title, publisher, etc. because it was done automatically for them. I had an idea to go one step further with bibliographies to make sure that the students understood the process that we had done the week before. 

I took resources that the students had used to create their own bibliography with four citations and created a sample with eight citations. The teachers posted the document in Word on their online agendas so the students could each open a document that they could edit. The first thing I did was talk about MLA format and how the beginning of the paper should be formatted. We edited the heading, and the students inserted their name where my name had been. See the picture below.

The next step was to actually dissect the bibliography. All of the students were in Word, and I showed them how we were going to use the highlighter. We began by highlighting all the titles in yellow, then the databases in lime green, the publisher in magenta and so on. We did this step by step so that every student would end up with a matching document that they could save and submit for a grade. You can see my colored document at the beginning of this blog entry. Who knew that coloring a page on the computer could be so engaging. The students loved the activity. I know that they might not remember all the rules for MLA, but I am pretty sure that they now know that there are rules and that there are tools out there to help them follow those rules. 

We will continue the research process next by finding sources to read and to begin learning how to take notes on what we read. 


  1. Every research paper in the liberal arts and humanities disciplines must have an MLA format annotated bibliography to cite the sources used to write the paper. Most students cannot recall MLA guidelines by memory. Students always need help while writing such bibliographies. annotated bibliography helper


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