Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Fun

I'm back, baby! Wow, the flu really had me down, but I am finally feeling like myself again. A few people told me how much they enjoyed the turkey lesson. I do something similar with a different grade level during the winter holiday weeks. This lesson can be done with bibliography or with locating different types of sources. You could even create holiday trivia questions and teach searching skills with it. The possibilities for skills are pretty wide open.

Once you teach the skill portion of the lesson, give each team the option of collecting flames for a menorah or parts of a Santa Claus. I found a template where Santa is broken up into parts: a head, 2 arms, 2 legs, and a body. How many parts you use depends on how many tasks you want the students to complete.

You could alter this in a number of ways---you could break up a template for a Snowman or a gingerbread man as well.

I'll talk about the rest of the lesson as a source search. I make a basket of winter/holiday related topics: snow, blizzards, evergreen trees, menorah,
Santa Claus, etc. The students pick one topic and try to locate one related source from each branch of the research hierarchy: general encyclopedia, specialized reference, non-fiction books, databases, and websites. Each time they locate a source, they bring up the required information from our district's presearch sheet and then they receive a body part or a menorah flame. Once they have collected all of their pieces, it is on to decorating. We have the class vote on the most beautiful menorah and the most creative Santa. They each earn a little prize for their efforts. We then use their creations to decorate the front windows of the library. Free and easy holiday decor! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sorry for delays in new posts

I had swine flu last week and am suffering from a secondary infection this week. I'll be back to blogging soon--I promise!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kirkus Reviews: Best Kid's Books of the Year

Here is another great selection tool, for the lucky few who have two cents to rub together!


Monday, November 9, 2009

2010 Newbery and Caldecott Predictions Link

See link below:


It is SLJ's Elizabeth Bird's predictions for the Newbery and Caldecott medals. Are you blessed with money? Check this list out before you place your next order!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Note Taking Lesson for Grade 6

There is a video clip from Rutger's Robeson Library that introduces plagiarism in a funny way: http://library.camden.rutgers.edu/EducationalModule/Plagiarism/. I show the clip to my 6th graders (be sure to cut off the clip right before the end---you'll see why) as an introduction to the concept of plagiarism.

We then discuss plagiarism and the consequences of it. They often think they will go to jail. I say it is more likely they will get a poor grade and have to start a project over from the beginning. We do focus on the need to protect yourself on the web---many have websites, blogs, Facebook, etc. and put themselves at risk for greater consequences.

Next, the students look at a quick Powerpoint telling how to avoid plagiarism. Step 1. Take brief, bulleted notes, zeroing in on important facts. 2. Write original sentences based on these notes. 3. Credit your sources. The Power Point also discusses patchwriting, which is the kind of plagiarism my students tend to do. I model patchwriting for the students.

We then look at excerpts from World Book Online with two student samples beneath. They love to make up names for the students (Bertha and Frank). We read both examples and students work as table groups to decide who has paraphrased and who has plagiarized.

Next, students work in pairs to practice note taking and paraphrasing with support. We share ideas as a class.

Lastly, the students are assessed. They take notes on an article and then they write their own original sentences.

I'd be happy to share the documents that pair with this lesson. It is one of those lightbulb lessons, where I feel like my students really start to get it. Feel free to email me at bkeegan@cbsd.org, if you'd like any attachments.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Bibliography Activity: Feather Up Your Turkey

Hi All,

My older students still love doing seasonal activities. They get all smiley, when they get to use a glue stick. Around Thanksgiving, my 6th graders start reviewing bibliography skills. For years, I have tried to think of ways to make bibliography more fun---I know---it is the mismatch of the century.
I have made up a game, where the children pick a Thanksgiving related topic (turkies, pilgrims, Mayflower, Squanto, Abraham Lincoln, etc.) They have to locate an encyclopedia article, book, specialized encyclopedia, database article, and website for their topic. Then they have to get the matching bibliography template and fill it out for each source. Each time they correctly fill out a bibliography template, I give them a colored paper feather. The first team to have all 5 colored feathers glued onto a blackline master of a turkey wins the game. To spice things up though, any time they have left over, they can decorate their turkey. 6th graders love to glitter things and use markers! We then end the class by voting for the most creatively decorated turkey. They love it, and they actually have told me they thought that a bibliography lesson was so much fun. That is something I thought I would never, EVER hear.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Favorite Halloween Read Alouds

Best/Worst Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson
Duffy's Jacket a ghost story by Bruce Coville
Mercy Watson, Princess in Disguise by Kate DiCamillo
Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots by Debbie Dadey
Skellig by David Almond
"The Baddest Witch in the World" from Ramona the Pest

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Using Raffle Tickets for More Motivating Games

In our library, we play A LOT of games. I have found over the years, that once my fastest teams finish, the slower teams quickly lose their motivation. I have started using 2 part, perforated raffle tickets (available at toy warehouses or party stores)as motivators to keep all of my teams working hard the whole time. Instead of the fastest team winning the game, for each correct answer the team locates, they receive half of a raffle ticket. The other half of the ticket goes into a raffle basket. Of course, the more correct answers the team gives, the better chance they have of being lucky at the end. However, the slower teams know they still have a good chance of winning, so they stay focused until time is called. Then, at the end of the class, we pull one or two tickets and the students check their numbers to see if they have the matching half. A prize is given to those holding the lucky numbers. They love it. The excitement in the room is palpable as we check the raffle numbers. I have found that they students beg to play the raffle game again the next week!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween "Boogle"

For my 4th graders, I do a similar lesson to the Money, Money, Money lesson, called the Halloween "Boogle." The week before Halloween, I start off by reading a ghost story. We turn off the lights and I use a flashlight to help enhance the mood. The kids love it! While they are on the rug, I "sell" them good ghost story collections and Halloween themed chapter books.
The students then make their way to the tables for their library skills lesson. The lesson consists of Google skills, similar to the economics lesson (see previous post). After reviewing what a search engine does, we look at choosing keywords for Google and using the cached search. The students are then given a laminated page of Halloween trivia questions. They must first underline the keywords using a dry erase marker. They then must use the Google cached search to help them find the answer. The students love this activity, and it is a great way to motivate the kids during a week that makes concentration difficult. If you can't beat them on Halloween, join them!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Great lesson to integrate with Economics

Our third grade teachers teach an Econ unit. I start the library lesson by sharing money themed books like The Lemonade War, Lunch Money, How to Get Fabulously Rich, and The Get Rich Quick Club, as well as some non-fiction titles. I usually read a chapter from TGRQC to the class.

Then, we proceed to the tables for the second part of the lesson. We discuss what a search engine is. Then, I explain that Google has no brain and cannot think. The kids laugh when I tell them Google is stupid. What I am trying to stress is that THEY have to use their brains, because Google doesn't have one. We practice "talking like a caveman" to Google----telling Google what we need by giving it keywords instead of long questions. Then, I give the students 4 money themed questions. An example is "Which president's picture appears on the $100,000 bill?" They must first highlight the most important words to "tell" Google : $100,000 bill president. I then model a Cached search, which color codes their results for them. They can locate their answer by scanning the pages for the correct color combinations.

Once the guided lesson is complete. The students highlight keywords for the other three questions. They then use Google to try to answer the questions. For each correct answer they find, they get to pull a bill out of the money box (a tissue box filled with fake money of every denomination). The team that wins, is the team with the highest amount of money at the end. The kids love that the game combines searching skills with a little bit of luck. They are so excited when they get to reach into the money box! This lesson is always a big hit, and the students really do use the techniques I've modeled to find their answers.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

1st Post

This is exciting. My very first blog post...ever. As an elementary librarian, I knew it was high time that I became a part of the Read/Write web. My goal is to blog about all things library, (and maybe a few that are not). I will blog about great books I am reading, lessons that my students love, research tips, technology info, and anything else that floats my boat. Hopefully, there are a few of you out there who will want to join me on the ride!