Citations are a big deal...but at elementary, do we really need to worry about it? Just as with any other concept we teach kids, giving credit where credit is due is a big deal! Ask any student who puts time and effort into a project if he/she would be willing to let someone else share the glory, and more than likely, he/she will answer with a firm no! And rightly so, as students should receive credit for their hard work.
So how do we begin teaching students to cite? I would argue that while there are a variety of formats to choose from, at the elementary level, we should be less concerned with formatting and more focused on the big idea of teaching kids to acknowledge when they use the work of others to support their own ideas. Google Drive is constantly making improvements, and sometimes with success. When changing the “Research” function to the “Explore” tool, they initially removed the citation feature. Happily, they have brought it back, new and improved!
Researching within Google Docs has become a useful process, with the citation tool built right into the search results.
Click the Explore button in the bottom right corner and begin seeing results immediately. After using a source, students would hover over the website to see quotation marks appear. With a simple click of the button, students now have a footnote with a full, ready-made citation.
For example, here’s a citation for a quote regarding my favorite food:
There are few foods that people feel as passionate about--
a passion that goes beyond a love for the ‘sweetness’ of most candies or desserts…”
Citing images in Google Docs is a little trickier, but when using the Explore tool and selecting the tab for Images, students can click and drag an image right into his/her Google Doc, and it comes with the link to the website from which it belongs. Students at least have a web address to give credit in their list of sources.
Another option for inserting an image is to click on the image in the search results and enlarge it for a clearer view. Then with a click on the blue “Insert” button at the top, it is quickly inserted into the document. The website (and link) appears when the image is highlighted in the document itself. For example, here is the result of inserting my selected image:
As elementary teachers, we do have the responsibility of laying a firm foundation for students and their success in education, and thankfully, Google Docs has made citation very user-friendly.
I am a technology integration coach for a school district supporting one preschool, fifteen elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools. Check here for the latest updates on instructional technology.