Paper Trail Assignment

Step Two

Step Two, Research Journal: this will consist of a journal students will keep listing all the steps taken as we go through the research process (both successes and failures). This process will help students identify weaknesses and strengths of the research process.

First Step

My first step was to get with my peers, specifically the Social Studies and Science SAL’s (Subject Area Leaders), to find out what their needs were and receive first hand information. Through a series of e-mails over the past few weeks, I discussed their needs as far as creating information literacy lessons and found that this was going to be a very in-depth process.

  • Through  my communication with SAL’s, I learned that next year, Geography teachers will be teaching an entirely new curriculum for Civics.
  • Geography classes were currently working on a “countries” project, which would involve extensive research on a specific country of each student’s choosing.
  • The Science department was looking to book computer time in the Media Center to begin using the online, interactive tool called Gizmo through the website:


Second Step

  • After talking with my colleagues, I knew I would need to do some research into the content areas’ curriculum and pacing guides. To do this, I accessed the School District of Hillsborough County’s website:
  • I clicked on “District Divisions”
  • Then, the “Curriculum and Instruction” website
  • The “Middle School Education” tab
  • Then, from this tab, the following page opened:
  • Within this page, there are several resources for teachers regarding middle school education; for my project, I focused on the “Curriculum and Programs” tab and within that tab, the Middle School Social Studies and Middle School Sciences tabs.


Social Studies (includes Geography and History)

  • The Middle School Social Studies tab ( consists of the following subheadings:
    • Social Studies Curriculum – this tab did not produce actual curriculum guides, but instead, directions for accessing guides through IDEAS (the district’s internal networking system)
    • Sunshine State Standards
    •  Course Descriptions
    •  Social Studies Competitions
    •  Social Studies Links
      • National Council for SS
      • Florida Council for SS
      • Project ELECT
      • Teaching American History Grant


Science (includes IPS, Introductory to Physical Science)

  • The Middle School Sciences tab ( consists of:
    • Science Links
    • Regional Science Fair
    • Course Descriptions
      • When you click on the “Course Descriptions” tab, it takes you to the following link:
        • This link identifies each middle school science class by coding and gives descriptions of each. This is a great starting point for what middle school science teachers teach, but, it is dated from 2008-09, so it may not be current.


Third Step

  • After searching the school district’s site that any parent, student or educator could access, I decided to search within IDEAS, the school district’s network. I found a plethora of resources and spent several hours sorting through the attachments and information.
  • I was able to find curriculum guides for all Social Students classes, including 6th and 7th grade Geography and our updated 8th grade History curriculum guide.
  • I was also able to find all curriculum guides for grades 6-8 Science, including the updated curriculum guides, which showcase Gizmos, an online interactive tool Science teachers use in conjunction with their text.
  • There were also pacing guides, FCAT tools, Think Central information, MediaCAST videos, an interactive Curriculum “Big Ideas” guide and much more.
  • I went into “information overload” and found it hard to stay focused on the task at hand. I constantly referred back to my outline in order to stay focused.


Fourth Step

  • I then had to look into the standards; I was able to find the Florida state standards for Social Studies via the school district’s middle school education tab.
  • I found the state’s Science standards via the IDEAS network.
  • As for national standards, I perused the Common Core State Standards Initiative site online ( and printed out information on reading and writing standards in regards to Social Studies and Science.
  • I then visited the Florida Department of Education’s website looking for information pertaining to the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). Students in 8th grade take the Science FCAT; therefore, it is essential to assist Science teachers in solidifying state standards when conducting information literacy lessons.
  • Within the FLDOE’s site, I was also able to find information pertaining to EOC’s (End of Course exams). Based on the site, I was able to determine that only Algebra 1 students within the middle school setting take EOC’s; therefore, there was no need to look into this assessment when considering information literacy lessons for Social Studies and Science classes.
  • I visited the SpringBoard website, which is a part of the College Board’s College Readiness System; this “system” is used in all Hillsborough County public schools. Although this is a curriculum specifically designed for English Language Arts and Math, it does crossover to components within middle school History and Science classes. It would be adventageous to try to incorporate information literacy lessons that could be cross-curriculuar in nature. When I was in the classroom, I worked with an 8th grade History teacher to create a webquest lesson on the Holocaust using a SpringBoard lesson as a conduit.

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