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A Lesson Plan on Completing a Works-Cited Page

written by: Lady Lit • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/25/2014

If you simply tell your students that they must turn in a works-cited page, they will look at you as if you have sprouted two or three heads. This lesson will walk students through creating a works-cited page as a crucial step to writing a research paper.

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    Explain It to Your Students

    A works-cited page is the page on which a writer cites all of the sources that were used in the body of a research paper. The Modern MLA Easy Formatting Style Writing and Grammar Guide Language Association, more commonly referred to as MLA, has published Guidelines for Writers of Research Papers which help writers document their sources correctly.

    Begin by sending your students to the computer lab or to the school library and explain to them that they must find books and articles. Students may use sources that are in the stacks in the library, or they can use electronic sources, like articles on Ebscohost and JSTOR. It does not matter what research sources your students use for the sake of this assignment; you just want them to find credible research sources.

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    Provide a Documentation Guide

    Provide your students with an MLA Documentation Guide. I typically find one online, like this one on at Purdue's Online Writing Lab, though you are free to use whatever guide you have access to. If you have a classroom set of the MLA Guidelines for Writers of Research Papers, then that is even better.

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    Pertinent Information

    After your students find their sources, go through a book and point out where to find the following information: title, author, publication date, press, location of press, volume number, issue number, website address, date of access, page numbers, etc.

    Then, select a book and write the citation on that book on the board. Instruct them to write all their citations according to your model.

    After completing the previous step on writing down all the citations, repeat with all database articles, websites, journal articles. Put one example on the board, and then, students are able to model that example.

    Explain to students the specifics of a works-cited page, concerning margins, header, format, etc.

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    After completing this activity, give students a documentation test. On this test, provide all the information that students need: title of book, publication information, page numbers, etc, and have students write a correct citation.