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.