Tuesday, December 13, 2011

College ready research skills

Are our students ready for college? Do they have the information skills required to conduct higher-level, academic research? In April of 2010, the magazine “School Library Monthly” interviewed college professors and students and reported on the number of college freshmen who had been given adequate preparation in terms of research skills. The article states that “59% of college instructors are dissatisfied with the ability of high school graduates to do research.” And, in fact, surveys of students revealed that much less than half of all high school graduates felt they had basic research skills. In light of these findings, a basic checklist of student skills was created by Patricia Owen and M. Oakleaf. Listed below are some of the research skills your student should expect to have upon graduating high school. I begin developing these skills from 5th grade on.
 Define a research question or topic that’s not shallow or “pop”
 Understand that Web search engines rarely locate college-appropriate information
 Find and use different forms of information
 Distinguish between OPACs and online databases
 Conduct effective searches using keywords, Boolean logic, and field searching
 Find full text articles
 Find books using Library of Congress classification
 Weed through and evaluate search results to find adequate and accurate information
 Use evidence to synthesize, communicate and argue a thesis
 Cite sources properly using multiple citation styles
 Write without plagiarizing, use in-text citations

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Inquiry, the Library, and Common Core Standards

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -William Butler Yeats

  • Inquiry, the library, and Common Core Standards
    As most of us know, the National Common Core Learning Standards were revised last July in NY to emphasize inquiry. Inquiry-based learning has long been at the heart of the American Association of School Librarian's Standards. As we are asked to have a shared responsibility for the literacy development of our students, working together should be a natural step in integrating inquiry and research based skills. By reviewing the new state APPRs, we can take note of the collaboration and integration that is expected from each of us.

    For years, librarians have been considered by school districts to be experts in instruction design and curriculum development, embedding the use of technology, inquiry, and research skills into all areas of the curriculum. As we review the new standards, we can see that these skills are essential for our students as we make them college and career ready. I have provided the links below to help you navigate the world of Common Core. In addition, I hope that we can work together more closely in helping our students develop strategies for navigating information-rich text

EngageNY - Information on Common Core
Common Core "Shifts" - pdf
Mary Ratzer's Standards Based Vision

State approved Teacher Rubrics (APPR)

AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner
(National standards for the Library Media Specialist)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Online tools for educators

October 14 LCS Faculty Workshop

GOAL: To discover online tools which will enable you to 'go paperless' in your classroom while providing engaging ways for your students to take tests and hand in assignments.


Classmarker.com - Create and administer online quizzes and tests for students of all grade levels.

Google.docs - An easy way to store and share documents, presentations, and other file types.

Blogspot - Communicate with students online and provide a forum for students to actively participate in discussions. Post questions and read/respond to student comments.

The databases! Please see the bookmark of passwords to log in to the Laurens databases. Visit the library's website for links to all databases.

Also...have you heard about youtube for teachers? Youtube has created a teacher channel which contains curated video lists which are suitable for teachers to use. There are many useful videos and uses for youtube in the classroom - check it out!

Please let me know what you would like to get out of this workshop. Is there anything you would like to see covered in-depth or questions you have which are not part of the pre-selected topics? Please let me know by posting a comment. You do not need to sign your real name. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New collections in the library

New Collections!
If you haven't visited the libraries in a while, you'll be in for some surprises. This year we have focused on creating new collections in each of the libraries.

Pre-School Bookbags
As we know, the more we read to and with our children, the more their comprehension skills and life-long reading habits will improve. Preparing pre-schoolers for school by reading to them is one of the building blocks to successful learning. This year, in collaboration with Jen Sanders, the elementary library has created a pre-school bookbag collection. These bags circulate to families in the LCS school district who have pre-schoolers at home.

At this time, we have 15 canvas bags each with 5 books on a certain theme. So far, we have signed up four families for family library cards who have come in to borrow these bags! We hope to extend this program in the future by purchasing more bags and offering incentives for those families who reach a 'Read at Home' goal.

LCS Staff Book ExchangeThis year, we have also created a staff book exchange in the High School Library - and, it has really taken off! We already have at least two full shelves of books which are of interest to adults which faculty and staff have brought in and are welcome to come and borrow. Even if you don't have anything to swap, please feel free to stop in and borrow some books for summer reading. We also have many young adult books in the HS library which are of interest to adults. So, don't forget to pick up a couple (or a few) books for those long, lazy (we hope), summer days.

Career CenterTeachers' goals this year included collaborating with the library or Library Media Specialist in some capacity. One way of doing this was to recommend books to add to our collection. Mrs. Sider recommended several specific titles on a variety of topics, including careers. Several of these books, including a five volume set of "The Encyclopedia of Careers," were also very useful for an extensive project in Mrs. Dutcher's class. We created a 'Career Center' in the High School library which highlighted our new titles and also included several other books on careers - helping our students to identify possible jobs and future goals for themselves.

Have a great summer and See You in the Library!