Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dissecting a Bibliography

Every student finished the lesson with a bibliography that looked like this one above

Last week, I described how we began the research process with 6th graders by learning how to create a bibliography. I was happy with that lesson, but I felt concerned that the students did not really understand the elements that went into making each citation. I taught them how to create a citation using Easybib. This meant that they did not have to find the author, title, publisher, etc. because it was done automatically for them. I had an idea to go one step further with bibliographies to make sure that the students understood the process that we had done the week before. 

I took resources that the students had used to create their own bibliography with four citations and created a sample with eight citations. The teachers posted the document in Word on their online agendas so the students could each open a document that they could edit. The first thing I did was talk about MLA format and how the beginning of the paper should be formatted. We edited the heading, and the students inserted their name where my name had been. See the picture below.

The next step was to actually dissect the bibliography. All of the students were in Word, and I showed them how we were going to use the highlighter. We began by highlighting all the titles in yellow, then the databases in lime green, the publisher in magenta and so on. We did this step by step so that every student would end up with a matching document that they could save and submit for a grade. You can see my colored document at the beginning of this blog entry. Who knew that coloring a page on the computer could be so engaging. The students loved the activity. I know that they might not remember all the rules for MLA, but I am pretty sure that they now know that there are rules and that there are tools out there to help them follow those rules. 

We will continue the research process next by finding sources to read and to begin learning how to take notes on what we read. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Student's Senior Project Showcases her Love of Reading and Writing

I am so proud of the president of Bookmarked. She has really shown her passion for books, writing and authors. Her senior project is centered on authors and what made them the writer that they are today. Her mentor currently moderates a weekly radio show on our local NPR station that is about all things literary in and around New Orleans. Destiny's first project during her mentorship was to interview local author John Ed Bradley who recently had his first young adult novel published. You can read the interview here on Destiny's blog.  Be sure to check back again if you want to read more from this talented young writer to be. 

YA book by John Ed Bradley

Monday, September 22, 2014

Beginning the Research Process with Sixth Grade

The middle school English language arts' teachers and I have been really working on developing our method for teaching the research process over the last few years. When the sixth graders arrive at Patrick Taylor, we know that they have not had a lot of experience writing research papers. They may have written a report in fifth grade but not much more, and I am hoping with the Common Core standards that this will change over time. For now, the students need to be taken step by step through the process with the teachers and myself holding their hands. 

Using the ISBN on the book to create the citation in Easybib

As I reflected over the steps that we took last year to teach the process, I decided to change my tack and begin with the bibliography. Our school pays for each student to have an Easybib account. We thought that by starting with the bibliography, we would be breaking down the process to the smallest bits and make it easier for the students to handle. The 6th graders had read Flush by Carl Hiasson, and the teachers have a grant for service learning in conjunction with this novel and also have a cross curricular component connected to it. The students take a field trip to wetlands in our area to take water samples and study the environment with juniors taking AP environmental science. 

Print sources are easy cite
I pulled resources both print and electronic for research on water pollution, oil spills, conservation, the environment, etc. Then I created a slide show with the directions to use Easybib and seven task slides for students to complete using those resources. In one period of 90 minutes, I introduced Easybib and demonstrated how to create citations. and then we asked the students to complete four of the tasks and print out a completed bibliography in correct format. This process meant the students didn't have to juggle finding sources, reading and taking notes and create citations at once when they had never really done that before. All they needed to do was access the resources and make a bibliography. 

Sample task for students to complete
I also walked around the room and checked everyone's bibliography before printing so that every student would be submitting a flawless document. Actually, the students did not have to print their final bibliography. They just submitted to their teacher electronically so no trees were harmed in this process. 

Finding electronic sources

For the next step, I am going to print out a bibliography that I created. I want the students to take different colored highlighters and mark up the bibliography designating the author, title, publisher, database, etc. I am not sure when they create their citation in Easybib if they really understand what components need to be in place. We might even do this electronically also. There really is no need to print out the bibliography for 100 students. They can highlight the sheet in Word. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Capturing Students in the Process of Reading

I blogged the other day about my Caught Reading campaign on Facebook. I have been catching so many kids reading that I wanted to post more of the pics here. My library's motto is All Readers Welcome, and you can see by all these pictures that the motto certainly fits. The pictures also illustrate that reading can be a very social activity in the library. All of these photos were taken during the students' lunch period. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Decorating the Library Continues

Two weeks ago,  I shared the story of how we transformed a wall in the library with decals. When I purchased the dots, I also purchased an Einstein quotation to put on the wall. I was hesitant to begin that project because though the letters were removable, you did not have the option to reapply them if you made an error in placement. When I finally opened the package, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the process was and how professional the finished product looked. Like the dots, I purchased the quote decals from Demco

Step 1: Affixing the first part of the quote on the wall

Step 2: Rubbing the letters off of the transfer paper and onto the wall
(the transfer paper is sticky and you can move it until you are happy with placement)

Step 3: First part done, two more to go

Step 4: Second part done, one more to go

Step 5: Almost done

Job is all done!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

President of Boomarked is Selected to Blog for YALSA

I am very proud that this year's president of Bookmarked (the high school book group), Destiny Burnett, is both a big reader and big writer. This summer she applied to be a guest teen blogger on the YALSA blog, The Hub, during Teen Read Week in October. We knew a while ago that she was selected as one of the bloggers, but just a few days ago ALA made it official. Open here to read all about it. I also want to share Destiny's book review blog. She doesn't post on a regular basis, but I find her book reviews extremely well thought out and insightful.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Caught Reading Campaign on Facebook

I caught this student and three others reading from the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

I am creative, but I often get some of my best ideas for the library from others in the field. When I "borrow" an idea from another librarian, I usually adapt, modify or change it to fit my school population. Librarians are so good at sharing, and I know others don't mind if I take their idea and run with it. I am happy to share. If I wasn't into sharing, then I wouldn't use this blog to spread the word about some of my most successful and least successful activities, too. I feel honored to have someone else adapt, modify or change something that I have done to fit their needs in their library. So I have been quite full of myself with my new campaign this year because I figured it out all on my own. I did not see someone else's version before I created my own. 

This student is rereading all his favorite series, but I convinced him to give Ashfall by Mike Mullin a try

This is a campaign to help spread the love of reading in my school. I am using Facebook to broadcast the fact that students at Patrick Taylor do read and seem to love it. I am calling this campaign, "Caught Reading." When I see a student reading in the library, (well it could be anywhere on campus, but I spend the majority of my time in the library) I grab my iPad and take a quick picture. I don't ask the students to pose. I want to catch them in the act. It doesn't matter what they are reading. I haven't caught anyone yet reading on a device, but I am not opposed to doing so. 

She found a comfortable spot to finish her book

I know the campaign is having an effect because a parent commented on a post and wondered when their child will be caught reading in the library. You can visit the library's Facebook page to see all the students caught so far. Feel free to like the page if you want to continue seeing these pictures as the year progresses. 

Graphic novels are very popular for all ages in my library
If you want to try this in your library, feel free. Let me know how you adapt, modify or change it to fit your needs. I see endless possibilities of getting the word out that kids are reading. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It is the Little Things ...

I have said it before in this space, and I will say it again. It really is the little things that make life sweet. In August of 2013, we opened the doors to our new school building which included a brand new library. The library wasn't quite ready when school opened, and I was okay with that because I thought it would be finished in a few weeks or a month or two. Little did I know that I would spend a year with a storage room full of boxes that could not be emptied. I had a great storage space and really, the only storage space in the whole library except for my office. Every time a new punch list was created, I added the need for shelving to it. All the other storage closets in the building got shelving. I kept waiting. 

This is what I have had in the closet since August of 2013
(the shelf you see on the right was borrowed from the cafeteria)
It is not easy to find what you are looking for when all you see are boxes

On Friday, about six workers trooped through the library with wood in tow. Beautiful wood that was trimmed out that was going to be installed in my storage closet. Finally! One of the great things about emptying boxes of stuff that you haven't seen in almost 15 months is that you find some treasures. I had what I thought was a box of random books, but when I started unpacking the box, I found several the books that I thought were lost from the collection. That put a smile on my face. I hate lost library books.

Everything is out of the closet waiting to go back in when shelves are installed

Two sets of shelving like this were installed in the closet

Now, the door to the small room has a window, and I don't really like seeing boxes through that window. I may have to buy containers for my stuff, but I can live with that. 

Everything fits neatly on the shelves, even my microwave

I really don't like seeing the boxes on the shelves, I will need new containers

Monday, September 1, 2014

Putting a Little Color on the Walls of the New Library

I am not sure if the year old school and school library count as new anymore, but the teachers were not allowed to put any holes in the wall or hang any posters or art last school year. The school had a year warranty with the construction company, and the principal did not want to void that warranty by any damage caused by one of us. Actually, I did not mind the restriction because I was busy enough trying to organize the new library and figure out how I was going to make it work for my program. 

The large empty wall that I see from the circulation desk

The other day as I was looking at photos to use on the library website, I realized that the wall I see from the circulation desk was immense and void of anything. I knew that I needed to figure out how to dress it up. I was making a DEMCO order, and as I perused the online catalog, I found some wall decals that I thought would suit my purpose very well. 

Packaging for the dots, each package holds 18 decals
I ordered two packages of the decals, and  I would be receiving 36 different circles in various colors and sizes. When the order arrived, I asked my student worker, Jazmine Wells, if she would draw out the design for placement of the circles. She took out paper and pencil and came up with this. 

Original design for the dots
She works with me during third period, and I was worried that we would not be able to finish in an hour and a half. So, earlier in the day, I took my blue tape and marked off the swirl that we were going to use as our guide. 

I begin the process of marking the wall

The wall is ready
As we started to place the circles, we made adjustments to the shape of our design. When we finished the initial design, we had circles left over and had to make a plan as to where they would be placed. We attached them to the wall without a guide, and we were happy with the placement until we got to the last circle. It took us a couple of tries to find a home for it. The nice thing about these decals is that they are easy to lift off and re-position. Knowing how forgiving these decals are made it much easier to begin. I knew that I wouldn't be stuck with a circle in the wrong place. (Pun intended.)

Jazmine helps to place the circles
The wall in process of getting decorated

Some students helped with the placement of the circles

The wall is completed

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