Archive for February, 2010
This is a great, short article including seven valuable tips for students writing research papers. Although aimed at college students, considering the work our students do and the resources available through our library, this article has lots of useful information for them as well.
Thanks again to Joyce Valenza’s blog for locating this article!
This new search directory looks very useful. It consists of human-evaluated sites organized by subject. Of particular interest to our students and teachers will probably be the subject-oriented web guides. One of the biggest problems of using Internet sources is reliability, so it’s great to have access to pre-evaluated websites!
This is just fun; a middle school in Florida made this video to encourage reading, inspired by a flash mob dance on Oprah.
Worried about the copyright issues surrounding your student’s use of media (pictures, sound, etc.) in his or her projects? Thanks to a wonderful librarian blogger, I found this site which is a portal to several dozen sites with, according to the title: “Copyright-Friendly and Copyleft Images and Sound (Mostly!) for Use in Media Projects and Web Pages, Blogs, Wikis, etc.”
(“Copyleft is a type of license that attempts to ensure that the public retains the freedom to use, modify, extend and redistribute a creative work and all derivative works (i.e., works based on or derived from it) rather than to restrict such freedoms.” — http://www.linfo.org/copyleft.html)
Interested in the science behind the sports presented at the Olympics? NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation combined to create a website on the science behind the Olympic Games. Here’s the description from the website:
“NBC Learn interviews athletes, coaches, and scientists in this original 16-part series, and unravels the physics, biology, chemistry, and materials engineering behind the Olympic Winter Games. The Science of the Olympic Winter Games is made possible through a partnership with the National Science Foundation.”
From time to time (translation: about once a year!) I write a professional article for VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) magazine, which is targeted at librarians, English teachers, authors, and anyone else interested in library services and literature for young adults. (I also review books for VOYA, and have several students doing teen reviews that are published alongside mine–interested teens should contact me (Rebecca).)
This year’s article is about an internet author who used his blog readers–all 2500 of them–as beta readers to help him revise and improve his first self-published book. For those interested, the article can be found here. If that link doesn’t work, go to www.voya.com and you’ll see the article, ‘Trial and (Ex)Tribulation,’ under ‘Teens and Technology.’
This seems to be a question people are asking ever more frequently these days. For five thoughtful and interesting responses, check out this article from the New York Times. Those consulted include Dr. James Tracey, headmaster of Cushing Academy, the school that (famously and controversially) got rid of nearly all its print collection. Also included is Liz Gray, president of the Association of Independent School Librarians.
Essentially, (spoiler alert!) four out of the five experts agreed that school libraries still need print. Reasons include extended attention span, collections tailored to particular curricula, the ‘deep reading’ experience, and awareness of how information is gathered and structured. None is at all against technology or in denial of its patent benefits, just arguing for cohabitation of both formats. For a thoughtful response to the article that includes additional support for retaining print collections, check out this blog post by Wendy Stephens, a librarian and doctoral degree candidate in Alabama.
Battle of the Books
Battle of the Books is a combination reading contest/game show in which participants read at least two books from a ten-book list compiled both by students and the librarian. Students choose half the books on the list, and the librarian chooses the other half to balance for gender, genre, and diversity. Students are divided into teams of 4-6 players, and the teams compete against each other to answer questions from the books. Overlake conducts two separate Battles; one for the entire 5th grade, and one for volunteers from the 6th-8th grades. (5th grade booklist, 6th-8th grade booklist)
Both Battles went off with a bang—we’ve never had such good teams! The competition was fast and furious, and it was impressive how many students had read most or even all of the books on the list. In the 6th-8th grades, we had 26 participants—the most we’ve had at Overlake—and the teams were so good we went through several tiebreakers. In fact, the kids from the teams not in the finals ended up writing some tiebreaker questions for the final since I ran out of my official questions! Everyone had a great time, and we’re looking forward to just as much fun next year.
5th grade, team three: Kiera, Talia, John, Sebastian S., Nathan
6th-8th grade, team four: Erika, 8th, Ben, 7th, Sarah M., 6th, Tapan, 6th
I could not do the Battle of the Books without lots and lots of help. Thanks go to many, many teachers for helping to read books and write up questions, for helping during the Battles, and for giving up precious class time so that students could participate. Immense gratitude also goes to the many parents who brought snacks, took pictures, and helped during the Battles.