Citing and Crediting - Super3 Style

I've been thinking a lot about developing citing/creditng skills among elementary students.

This can and should be fun - creating a "culture of crediting" in a school with classroom teachers, teacher-librarians, technology teachers, administrators and even parents modeling for students by continually crediting and citing sources - in coversation, teaching, on paper, and electronically.

We also talk about having the very youngest begin to learn citing by using rubber stamps or stickers to give credit -

  • Book
  • Computer
  • People
  • Me.

Here are examples of the Super3 Sam citing stickers -

At a workshop last week (in Puerto Rico), I was asked about when and how to transition to an accepted format - such as APA or MLA.  At what age should the kids be using APA or MLA?  Good question. I answered that by middle school, grade 6 or 7, students can start to cite formally - BUT,they should use a citing tool such as NoodleTools, RefWorks, EasyBib or one of the others.

That got me thinking furthe- what's in between?  What can we do across the elementary grades to make it easy and common for students to credit/cite?

The answer - a simplified, but standard style that builds on the rubber stamp/sticker/graphic approach but encourages students to enter more information. Let's call this format "Super3 Crediting". 

Here are the elements of Super3 Crediting style -



Type - the format of the resource used, e.g., book, computer, people, self. These can be indicated by a graphic/icon/picture or by word or phrase.

TItle - the name of the item (item = page, article, person, etc.).

Author - the creator of the item. There can be multiple authors-creators.

Date - the date created.

Location - where to find the resource - the web url, or other locator if available.


The point is to add various elements at different grade levels. These are suggested grade levels. Adjust as appropriate, but don't try to do too much too soon.  Make it easy, quick, and fun!  I also tried to make the order of elements logical and easy for the kids.  When you ask them, "what resource did you use," they will usually answer with the type of source (a book, or a website) andthethe title if you ask.  The author, date, and location may require a bit more digging.

PreK - 1:  Just identify the type of source - Book, Computer, People, Me - and use a graphic approach (e.g., picture, stamp, icon, sticker).

- 2:  In addtion to the graphic, add the name of the type of source (Book, Computer, People, Me). Add additional types of sources - website, article. Also, have the students identify the Title - the name of the item.

- 3: Add Author and drop the graphic. So, now the style is Author Title, Type, .  Here's an example:  Michael Eisenberg, The Big6, Website.

- 4: Add Date, as in  Author, Title, Type, Date. Here's an example:  Michael Eisenberg, The Big6, Website, 2011.

- 6: Add Location, as in Title, Type, Author, Date, Location. Here's an example:  Michael Eisenberg, The Big6, Website, 2011,


Mike Eisenberg
revised April 17, 2012