By Emily Ford, photo editor
What has happened on your birthday throughout history? Do you know? From a quick Google search, I can gather that Floyd Mayweather, John Lithgow, and Ty Pennington share my birthday, October 19. In 1914, the United States Postal Service used its first automobile to collect and deliver mail. And in 1963, the Beatles recorded “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Recently, the seventh graders in the newly created library skills class, taught by librarian Mrs. Betty Litke, completed a birthday research project. Designed to teach research skills, the class is filled with in-depth information on literacy and online print with the goal of helping students understand the distinguishing characteristics between biased and authentic sources.
After Christmas break, the students were assigned a project on how to paraphrase facts found on the Britannica and Grolier Online Encyclopedia programs.
They researched their birthday on the database and found a historical event that sparked their interest. Ryland Lutz said, “I enjoyed the project, I found that Daniel Boone was born on my birthday.”
The students spent five class periods completing the project. They had to quote their event and then use a website and book to find two interesting facts about it. That is when paraphrasing what they found in their own words was incorporated.
This also gave a lesson to them on avoiding plagiarism. “After the students found their facts, I wanted to teach them how to cite their information using Easybib, an online bibliography creator,” Mrs. Litke said.
After the students completed their research and source citing, they created a birthday cake out of paper, publishing the information they discovered.
On the cake, the students recorded their birthday, the historic event, their facts before being paraphrased and after, and their cited sources. They then had the option to color the cake.
Ryan Yoder said, “This project taught me skills that I can use throughout high school.” And Anthony Hernandez, who found out that his June 7 birthday coincides with the day the United States won the Battle of Midway, said, “We made notecards, and I learned how to paraphrase better.”
Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School