Gratitude – Just say Thank You

IMG_0123-2It was hard going for explorers of the past. Just imagine the hardship they endured to find new ways to get spices and silk. Just hearing about the food they ate on board the ships that sailed the unknown parts is enough to make anyone reconsider – hard tack, moldy food and scurvy caused by lack of vitamin C. The promise of riches was enough to make sailors brave the hardship.

Today, explorers set off on a different sort of adventure. They do a different sort of work. While they may not have to eat hard tack or suffer from scurvy, they do apply themselves to their search. Whether a person finds the cure for a disease, finds a way to use solar power to power a school, creates a painting, writes a book, a song or a poem, that discovery or creation is their reward. It is also their property.

The ideas and words of people who created them are called Intellectual Property. Intellectual Property is protected by the law. That means that you cannot use the information and pictures you find without proper attribution. Sometimes you need to ask permission. Just like you wouldn’t use your friend’s phone without asking, you need to ask permission to use the product created by another person.

There are some exceptions. You can use a certain amount of a product for educational purposes. Copyright law is complicated, confusing and always changing. The rule of thumb is, if in doubt ask for permission.

Giving credit to the creator of the material you used to get your information is like saying thank you. I’m sure you have excellent manners. I’m sure you say thank you when someone feeds you a meal. I’m sure you say thank you when someone lets you take your turn. I’m sure you are a thankful person who likes to let people know how much you appreciate their effort. Citing your sources is your polite way of saying thank you to the person who helped you to know more.

“What is Citing Your Sources?” you may ask. It is telling where you got your information from and who is responsible for having created it.

An easy way to cite your sources is using the website Noodle Tools.

So each time you find some information that will help you on your search make sure you write down enough information to get back to the original information. Here are some of the things you will need:

The title of the book, magazine or web site

the person who created it

the publisher

the date

if you found it online, the URL

You want to know what standards you are covering by doing this?:

MSLA 4.20 Using a provided format, create correct citations for text and images.

MSLA 4.21 Adhere to the provisions of the school’s Acceptable Use Policy.

MSLA 4.22 Independently create correct citations for text and images used.

MSLA 4.23 With assistance begin to demonstrate understanding of copyright law, e.g., fair use and intellectual property rights.




Dear Explorers,

You are looking for something. Why? Why do you want to know? What will you do with the things you learn?

The early explorers were looking for a way to make their food taste better. Their goals were:

  1. Find a quicker, safer way to get to the spices.
  2. Get the spices (and have better tasting food along the way)
  3. Sell those spices and get rich.
  4. Eat better tasting food.

It seems really complicated to those of us who can run out to the store and select spices from shelves of little bottles or cans. The early explorers risked life and limb to get cinnamon.

You, dear Explorer, probably don’t have such high stakes. Your future may not rest upon your findings. Yet it is lonely to have gained information about your passion and have no one to share it with. It is much more satisfying to share your knowledge and have people to share the thrill of discovery.

So what are you going to do with this new knowledge you have? Hide it in a cave? Don’t be silly.

There are so many ways of sharing your passion with the world. Here are simply a few things to make to get you thinking:

  • a video
  • a slideshow
  • a puppet show
  • a board game
  • a playground game
  • an app
  • a poster
  • a paper doll
  • a sculpture
  • a mobile
  • interview questions and interview with a leader in the field
  • an article for a magazine or journal
  • wallpaper for your computer
  • a song
  • a greeting card
  • a guide for a newbie
  • a party or event
  • a report to your boss about the state of….
  • an advertisement
  • a newspaper or magazine article

Before you start your exploration give it some thought. Write down the focus of your exploration and what you hope to do with that information.

Project Format Worksheet

Want to know what standards you are covering? Here they are:

Massachusetts School Library Association Standards:

1.5 With assistance, list the criteria for a research assignment.

1.6 Demonstrate overall understanding of the final product, e.g., “I need to create a multimedia presentation, poster, essay, etc.”

1.11 Understand the criteria for the research assignment.

1.12 Explain what the final product will look like.