Friday, February 26, 2010

Found a New Book Trailer!

Loved the book trailer for Wendy Mass' book, Every Soul a Star! The kids are eating these up.

In other news, I am starting my Creeker Bookcasts this week. My first delving into Audacity. So excited, but a bit nervous. If anyone knows good sources of free podcast sounds and/or music, please let me know :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Changed Woman--I Heart Book Trailers

We teach our 5th and 6th graders about the Newbery Medal. Usually, I booktalk Newbery Award winners and my "readers" rush the table for the picks. This year, I used book trailers that I found on both YouTube and TeacherTube to introduce the topic.

TeacherTube has a beautiful book trailer for Savvy. YouTube has awesome trailers for Rules, The Westing Game, Al Capone Does My Shirts, The Graveyard Book, among others. My 6th graders, some of whom never want to check out a book (too cool), ALL rushed over to get the books from the table. Using current media to charge them up about "old-school" media seems to be the way to go. This girl is a changed librarian. Bring on more book trailers!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Evaluating POWER!

With my third graders, we use the 3 R's (Readable, Relevant, Reliable) for determining whether a website is "just right" for them. I think a lot of librarians teach "just right" books, but finding appropriate websites is just as valuable.

For READABLE websites, I tell the kids to type the word "kids" as one of their search terms. This increases the likliehood of finding a website on their level.

For RELIABLE websites, I used to have students use Nettrekker, but we no longer have access. Now, I try to show them the kids version of or how to use a subject directory like Kids Click, where you don't have to worry about reliability.

For RELEVANT websites, I teach the kids how to read the description in their results list to try to figure out whether that website is even worth opening. I also model changing search terms to find more relevant results.

After the mini-lesson, I give each child a bracelet, which I ask for them to keep in their desks until they go to the computer lab. The bracelet has three questions:

"Is is READABLE? Can I read and understand it?
Is it RELIABLE? Can I trust it?
Is it RELEVANT? Does it have what I need?"

This bracelet gives them Evaluating Power! By asking these three questions, they have the power to find the best websites available.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Read, Think, Write, Cite

Teaching note taking is tough. I think I finally have nailed it with my kids. They are really getting it, as early on as 4th grade.

First, we watch the free Brainpop (awesome) on Plagiarism. Then I have the kids identify plagiarism by reading an article exerpt from World Book and then comparing good and bad attempts at paraphrasing. If they can't do the simplest task of identify plagiarism, they won't have any hope of avoiding it.

Then, I have them practice paraphrasing a single sentence like: Mrs. Keegan is the most magnanimous educator in this fine institution.

Next, we work in pairs to learn the following note taking process:


After working with a partner to take good notes, they are ready to write new sentences. I tell them they will need to THINK AGAIN, then WRITE AGAIN.

They are producing better notecards and better paraphrased sentences, by following this pattern. It is easy for them to remember and easy to implement. Happy note taking!