Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Those Baffling Bibliographies!

Carol Rine
Bay District Schools


This is the fourth lesson in a unit on expository writing. Instruction guides students in using source cards to create a Works Cited list for a report.


The student compares and contrasts elements within or across texts.


{NOTE: Many of the handouts mentioned below are contained in the associated file for this lesson. They are available for downloading and printing.}

-Overhead display method such as dry erase board, overhead projector, or chart paper (NOTE: I use an overhead projector)
-A model and mini-lesson to demonstrate using source cards to create a works cited list for a report {NOTE: If there is access to a computer presentation cart (big screen TV and computer with online capabilities) use the Beacon Web lesson Bibliography Blunders
-Decide upon a style guide for students to follow for the duration of the report-writing process. For example, use APA for psychology, education, and other social sciences. Use MLA for literature, arts, and humanities. Other styles include AMA, Turabian, and Chicago. {NOTE: I used MLA for my students.)
-Report Checklist transparency
-Sample Source Card transparency
-Notes describing working with sources
-Baffling Bibliographies transparencies
-Sample Source Card student copies
-Notes from the previous session to guide students during today's practice
-Baffling Bibliographies student copies


Print and download the associated files for this lesson.

-Overhead display method such as dry erase board, overhead projector, or chart paper (NOTE: I use an overhead projector)
-A model and mini-lesson to demonstrate using source cards to create a works cited list for a report
-Decide upon a style guide for students to follow for the duration of the report-writing process.
-Report Checklist transparency
-Sample Source Card transparency
-Ask students to bring their notes to class for the next session

-Baffling Bibliographies- transparencies
-Sample Source Card student copies
-Baffling Bibliographies student copies


This is the fourth lesson in an online unit entitled Info Expo. This lesson is an introduction to using source cards to create a Works Cited list. The unit, as a whole, teaches the art of expository writing. This lesson provides students with the rules and a model for working with bibliographic information. Teachers across subject areas and grade levels might use this lesson to support their own research units. The lesson plan spans two sessions.

WRITING-Students beginning this unit should already come prepared with a strong background in writing. In my own classroom, this unit follows a unit where students have already explored the Creating Writers' six traits or qualities of good writing as specified by Florida state standards. Students are experienced with the writing process and publishing writing.


1) Review the learning from last lesson, No Plagiarism, Please! (paraphrasing to create note cards.)

2) Orient students to the current step--working with sources-- by questioning them as to what they know already.

3) Use the presentation center and work through the Beacon Learning Center's Web lesson, Bibliography Blunders, or deliver a mini-lesson on working with sources. {NOTE: Every teacher varies on his or her approach to working with sources. Depending upon what the teacher decides to emphasize, certain elements should be contained in the lesson. For example, 1) choose a style guide (MLA), and stick with it, 2) credit authors appropriately by citing the sources throughout the paper whenever their information is used, 3) follow the correct format when organizing the Works Cited list.

4) While working through the Web lesson, require students to take notes on the important steps in working with sources. Ask students to save these notes, as they need them for tomorrow's session.

5) Review the steps as a whole class in a discussion format.

6) Display the Report Checklist transparency. Ask students to take out their copies. This was distributed in the second lesson, Information Sensation.

7) Ask the students to review the checklist briefly and decide which part of the checklist today's lesson might be emphasizing. Students should respond by identifying the WORKS CITED section of the checklist.

8) Review each of the steps from the checklist in the WORKS CITED section, and explain to students that this class and the next are to identify the process involved in completing the steps.

9) Using the overhead Sample Source Card, show students the example of a completed source card.

10) Describe how students will use the information from all three of their source cards to create a Works Cited list. Model placing necessary information from the source card into the practice works cited list. Display the list on the overhead while transferring information for the students to see. Also, use this opportunity to discuss citing the sources throughout the paper. If this is the first time students have ever seen this information, you may decide to extend this lesson by one session to discuss the various methods of author-page citations.

11) Conclude session with a review. Clarify misconceptions and any questions that might arise.


1) Review learning from yesterday's session -- working with sources.

2) Direct students to use their own paper for the following assignment. Also, ask them to use their notes from yesterday's session. These notes remind them of the correct steps in working with sources. Display the Baffling Bibliographies transparencies, and distribute copies of the student copy of the handout.

3) Discuss items on the handout. They are Guidelines for MLA citations and Group work assignments: a. Create a practice Works Cited list from a group of sample entries following the established guidelines; b. List at least 8 characteristics of a Works Cited entry by noting observations for each entry from the samples provided; {NOTE: students can come up with many more than 8 if they effectively use strategies such as comparing and contrasting the entries, within their group work schemes.} c. Create a source card from one of the entries. Discussion should include a thorough review of the guidelines. Check for understanding and deliver assignment.

4) ASSIGNMENT: Ask students to return to their groups. Ask members of the group to designate one person as the recorder for the group. This person will record the group answers. As a group, they work through each of the three problems contained in the Baffling Bibliographies. Teacher circulates to respond to questions that arise. Item j in the handout directs students to ask the teacher for clarification for any items that are exceptions to the rules. There are several of these exceptions contained in the handout. Teacher can use these as teachable moments for the small groups or stop work session to deliver an all-class mini-lesson.

5) After groups have finished the assignment, in round-robin fashion, ask them to report the eight characteristics they determined as belonging to a works cited entry. At this point, the teacher should check for understanding. If any group makes an incorrect assumption, then the teacher should clarify any misconceptions at this time.

6) Ask students to submit their group work you. Collect the group work.

7) Conclude class with a review of the learning achieved during the lesson.

8) Observe students during the practice and during their reporting to make certain they understand. If some students are struggling with the concept, provide them with further practice for homework. Continue providing direction through differentiation of instruction.


For this activity, formatively assess the collection of the group work. Check the group work for the following:
1) accuracy and correct format for the practice Works Cited list
2) at least 8 characteristics of a works cited entry {NOTE: A teacher can never predict what students will come up with; however, responses might include the following: list last name first; underline or italicize titles of books; list the city for and name of publisher; list the date of publication; list URL for Website; if there is no author, begin with the title of the article; etc.)
3) accuracy and correct format for the practice source card.

Further formative assessments occur in this area as the unit progresses.

Summative assessment falls at the conclusion of the unit Info Expo. (See Extensions)


A) The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

B) For homework, students create a bibliographic entry based on a source in their home. In next session, spend the first five minutes of class exchanging entries to guess what type of resource was used to create the citation. Encourage a variety of resources such as personal interviews, etc.

C) To integrate the subject areas with this lesson, work with a teacher in the science or social studies area and supplement their units by focusing the research of this lesson to their needs.

D) Finally, there are interactive student-oriented Web lessons that complement this unit. Specifically, a lesson on narrowing the topic is called, Bibliography Blunders. See Weblinks for a direct link to the Unit Plan, Info Expo.

Web Links

This Weblink is a useful resource for students working through the research and writing proces.
Your Turn

This Weblink is a useful resource for students working through the research and writing process.

This is an interactive Student Web Lesson.
Bibliography Blunders

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