For the last two weeks, I have been working with Ms. Hirsch’s 9th grade classes as they have been researching Elizabethan England. Both Ms. Hirsch and I feel the research project has gone extremely well so far,  and the students have seemed really interested in their research!

I used PollDaddy to do a quick survey of which information source the students found to be most helpful.  Here are the results:

As you can see, our Gale Virtual Reference Library collection (I am so lucky to have 300+ books!) was the clear winner.  The Elizabethan World Reference Library e-book collection was a tremendous resource for this project.

The 40+ print books we reserved were also quite popular—our 9th grade English teachers have done an Elizabethan period research project in conjunction with their Romeo and Juliet units since our school opened (this is our third year in our building).  We have worked hard to build up plenty of resources in our virtual and print collection for this unit, and I am always interested in which titles seem to be most valuable to students.

Based on informal conversations with students and observations of my own, our three sets of All Things Shakespeare was one of the most helpful and popular book sources (if you don’t have it, GET it!)—I will be purchasing the ebook version of this text before January is over!

Another print source students seemed to really like this year was Shakespeare’s World and Work:  An Encyclopedia for Students. The articles are long enough to give students an understanding about a topic but not so long they get overwhelmed.  The articles all seem to have clear organization with visual cues (boldfaced print) to guide students’ reading.

What do I take from this poll?  The poll reaffirms the value of our Gale Virtual Reference Library—I will continue to purchase ebooks that can support this research unit.  I also will continue to look for print materials that are appealing to all learners and to purchase additional copies of titles that students like, especially if I can’t get them in ebook format.

I will repeat this poll again in a few weeks as we replicate the research unit;  I am also going to incorporate a poll to let students vote on print resources. Stay tuned for additional information source surveys!