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Beyond Web 2.0

Published on Nov 18, 2015

Beyond Web 2.0 - The Research Process at Garden City High School


Beyond Web 2.0

The Mandated Research Process at Garden City High School
Photo by Roberto F.

DelGuidice -Calemmo

Teacher Librarian -
Garden City High School

On Twitter -

Symbaloo Page -

I am one of the teacher-librarians at Garden City High School.

Garden City High School Library Link:

I also work as a part-time Youth Services Librarian at the Freeport Memorial Library. Recently I have co-authored a monthly column for Publishers Weekly called Cut To The Core, that focused on the CCSS.

I have worked as an adjunct professor of academic writing and research at St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, NY.

My first co-authored book, Make A Big Impact @ Your School Board Meeting was published in May of 2012.

About Us

Making Connections - On and Offline
This is a shot of the library during one of our busy lunch periods. We have a student body of roughly 1100 students and on an average day we have nearly 500 students that use the library. This does not include classes that I teach in our research lab. The library is the heart of our school and is always extremely busy.

During the month of February, with only 15 instructional days,
I taught research skills to 65 classes. There were a total of 6460 student sign-ins during lunch periods, study halls and senior free periods.

Part I

The Research Initiative
Photo by Jared Wong


The Story of a Research Journey
The goal of the 6-12 research initiative was to prepare students for college level rigor and research. The Garden City School Board officially approved the initiative in May of 2010. The initiative had been in progress since September of 2009.

The result is a cumulative experience that works akin to "building blocks." Skills are introduced in middle school and then continually reinforced through grade 12. Two assignments are mandated each year (in all subject areas), with many teachers going above that mandate.

Some examples of learned skills include, the introduction of EasyBib and Turnitin.com in grade 8 and its continual use through grade 12. Research assignments are always collaborative. Some assignments are actually taught in tandem between two subjects. For example, English and S.S teachers working together on research throughout the year.

In grades 9-12 the librarian plays a key role in designing the assignments. Assignments are created based on curriculum needs and available resources. Here are some examples:

Grade 9 - Changing from poetry & short stories to "fake news."

Global Studies - Human rights violations & global issues

Living Environment - Annotated bibliography of alternative energy - Website/source evaluation

British Literature -
Changing from authors and literary movements to an evaluation of 1984 and the modern era


Research Assignment Creation @ GCHS
The path of assignment creation from inception to implementation almost always begins in the library.

I meet with Curriculum Coordinators to plan the time frame for research throughout the year so classes do not overlap.

I then work one-on-one with a teacher representative from each department to create the assignment. We rely heavily upon our digital resources, as well as the Common Core Standards and media literacy when we create the assignments.

Untitled Slide

This chart shows the progression of research from the Garden City Middle School into the high school. The projects listed on this chart are the ones that are mandated.

Teachers may choose to conduct research on their own that goes above and beyond this.

I have worked with every department from the core of English, social studies and science to math, health and various electives.

Part II

Gleaning Digital Resources

Hunting & Gathering

  • Databases & Unlimited Access eBooks
  • Sweet Search - Student Friendly Search Engine
  • Symbaloo - Interactive Curation Tool
  • Overdrive - eBooks & Audiobooks
  • Newsela - Lexile Leveled Research
  • Static Lab vs. Flexible Space
When students begin the research process at GCHS we want certain parts of the journey to become innate. Almost every assignment lends itself to a database search, or eBook search to gain background information. Within the past five years we have quadrupled our allocations to digital resources, including databases & eBooks. Much of our reference and nonfiction collection now exists in a digital format.

Before students even step foot in the library, the library is "flipped" via the use of "Jing" to record database tutorials that students are able to view from home, before their class begins the research process.

Armed with basic background information, students are then directed to Sweet Search, a student friendly search engine with access to inclusive web guides.

For assignments that deal with current "in the news" topics, Newsela is a Lexile-leveled resource that gives students access to primary documents, supporting the CCSS. This is great for Current Events projects and ties in well to our S.S. summer reading assignments.

What began for me as an alternative to iGoogle has morphed into an interactive way to disseminate information and interact with students. The curation tool Symbaloo allows students and teachers to add quality resources to a "webmix" that can be accessed and sharedfrom anywhere.

Similarly, Scoop.it is another curation tool that can be used to share relevant news and topics with students and staff. The visual appeal of Scoop.it makes it great for sharing updates with staff.

Discussion about static lab versus the use of chrome books.


The Creation Process 

Creating & Producing

  • EasyBib - Bibliography & Note Taking
  • G-Suite & Google Classroom - Writing & Collaborative Feedback
  • Turnitin.com - As A Teaching Tool
  • Revising - Librarian As Editor
  • NetSchool Support - Monitoring & Feedback
We introduce students to EasyBib very early in the research process. Many students remember how to use it from previous assignments and the process becomes innate. Others may need a refresher. Either way, EasyBib becomes the main place for students to conduct research (via the Sweet Search add-on) and to store their sources. Students create a bibliography of their work and that forms the basis for note taking exercises. With the integration of SweetSearch, G-Suite and certain database exports into the EasyBib program, students are able to seamlessly access everything needed to create a paper from start to finish in one location. This works well given that it is device agnostic and cloud based.

Google Docs is used heavily in the flipped classrooms at GCHS and has now become an increasingly more popular option for students and teachers given the functions of Google Drive. Students can type directly in a document that mimics MS Word and teachers can offer feedback via the share feature.

Net School Support is a program that serves as a monitoring tool, but goes beyond that to offer support to struggling students. The viewing and "share" features embedded within Net School Support allow teachers to privately watch a student work and offer feedback in an environment that does not draw attention to the student. This can allow for individual online "conferencing" throughout the course of a class period in the lab.

Although Turnitin.com has gained popularity as a plagiarism detector, we try not to use it as a "gotcha" tool at GCHS. Instead, we educate the students on how to not commit plagiarism by dissecting the "Similarity Report." Students are encouraged to submit their papers several days before the assignment is due so they are able to fix any accidental plagiarism. The "Parenthetical Tool" in EasyBib assists with this process.

Finally, we encourage students to revise their assignments based on feedback from their teachers and librarians. In this capacity we often meet with students during their study halls and lunch periods to revise their writing and then resubmit to Turnitin.


Analyzing & Revising

EasyBib offers an option that allows students to analyze their bibliography before it is exported. The results are analyzed to show the type of sources chosen, along with the date and other relevant information.

In the advent of the "fake news" epidemic I have partnered with various subject area teachers to help students learn how to evaluate all sources of information. Google Classroom made this an easy, collaborative process.

As librarians we often meet with student one-on-one during lunch periods and study halls to conduct "writing center" work shopping with students. In fact many of the assignments now have the component of meeting with the librarian as a requirement before the assignment can be turned in.

Professional Development

  • Individual Assistance - Turnitin.com Assignment creation & Grademark
  • Monthly Newsletter - SMORE.com
  • Database Demos -  Department meetings
  • EasyBib Demos - Department meetings
  • G-Suite - Common Time
  • eBooks/Overdrive for Summer Reading
Another part of our job is helping teachers to feel comfortable with these new technological tools. Teachers are more inclined to have students use technology when they are able to better understand it and work with it.

For example, many teachers shied away from the use of Turnitin at first because they simply did not know how to use it. I have spent many hours, after school and during my lunch and prep periods, sitting with teachers to help them set up their Turnitin assignments and demonstrating how to use the Grademark features. Many never want to grade by hand again!

A good time to explain the use of these new tools to teachers is at monthly department meetings. I have demonstrated the use of everything from the basics of the databases and eBooks to the various functions of EasyBib. This type of professional development is targeted and I coordinate with the head of the departments in advance to ensure that teachers have a meaningful experience.

This increases the comfort level of faculty and in turn makes them more inclined to collaborate with the library on research assignments.

New this year: Technology Summit for educators during the last week of June.
Photo by c_ambler


Troubleshooting Common Problems
We strive to create the best possible research experience for our students; however nothing is ever perfect. Some common problems that we have encountered over the years range from, the lack of time to institute research projects (especially in Regents level classes), to overcoming technology incompatibilities.

The solutions for us have been achieved through collaboration. Having a set schedule for mandated research at the beginning of each school year is key.

Also, continually changing the nature of the research assignments allows us to adapt and change to support the evolving curriculum and state exams. A perfect example of this is the changing nature of the Global 10R and Global AP research along with the introduction of an Annotated Bibliography project in Living Environment that focuses on source evaluation. The assignments are constantly evolving. This fluidity has allowed us to take the direction of placing an emphasis on understanding and evaluating fake news.

Having the support of our cutting edge principal has allowed us to overcome numerous technological hurdles. Having chrome carts in almost every classroom with access to G-Suite and Google Classroom has helped to transform the process.

This has facilitated more faculty sharing of information with students via the mobile app and as the librarian I have helped teachers incorporate the calendar, assignment and stream functions into their class instruction and research assignments.
Photo by kvanhorn


It is not "all work and no play" in our library. In addition to the rigor of the research process, students also have the opportunity to create and innovate in a hands-on manner via the introduction of our "Stress Reduction Station" this year. A precursor to a maker space, this "station" allows students to practice mindfulness throughout the school day via creation. Students are encouraged to "Relax, Recharge, Connect" and unwind during lunch periods or study hall periods. Items in the "Stress Reduction Station" include:
Knitting and Crochet
Adult Coloring Pages
Duct Tape Projects
3-D Pens
Rubix Cubes
It was recently announced that the "Stress Reduction Station" is the winner of the 2017 NYLA, YSS "Pied Piper Award" for " the creation of an individual program that promotes service to the young people of New York State Libraries."


What Tools Do You Use With Your Students?

For More Information:

Follow me on Twitter: @metadatachick

E-mail me: metadatachick@gmail.com

Curriculum Vitae:

Here is my contact information, feel free to reach out with any questions or to follow up. Thank you for your time and attention!

Thank you!