Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Module Materials

There are several ways to locate articles, speeches, books, and other materials needed to implement ELA modules, including accessing the embedded links that are provided within the modules themselves via Engage NY.  However, to simplify things, our School Library System has provided pathfinders with direct links to materials through our EOPALS library catalog.

To access this catalog, go to Laurens Central School Library website and click on EOPALS.  The module pathfinders are listed by grade on the right side of the website.  To access a resource, click on it, then click on the hyperlink to the URL for that document.  The pathfinders also provide information on multi-book collections that are available to borrow through the School Library System's Webmax catalog.

You may also try searching the GALE database for articles and associated materials to use with your modules.  If you are looking for multiple copies of a book, you may also check our OPALS catalog.  We may have the title you need on our set of 18 kindles (or you can request that we purchase the title for kindle).

As always, please see library staff if you need passwords or have any questions about using these materials.

Happy moduling!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Close Reading - Professional Development

Please share articles, books, and other professional resources in the comments for this post. 

Engage NY - Preparing for a Close Reading With Students

Close Reading @ Web English Teacher - Strategies, Activities, & Lesson Plans

Strategies for Critical Reading of Technical Writing

ASCD: Reading in the Mathematics Classroom

There are several articles in the Gale database. For example:

Cold versus warm close reading: building student's stamina for struggling with text
by Catherine E. Snow (Gale)

Close Reading
Lesson plans, strategies, and activities - See more at: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/close-reading-lesson-plans.html#sthash.eVuqcqge.dpuf
Close Reading
Lesson plans, strategies, and activities - See more at: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/close-reading-lesson-plans.html#sthash.eVuqcqge.dpuf
Close Reading
Lesson plans, strategies, and activities - See more at: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/close-reading-lesson-plans.html#sthash.eVuqcqge.dpuf
Close Reading
Lesson plans, strategies, and activities - See more at: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/close-reading-lesson-plans.html#sthash.eVuqcqge.dpuf

Monday, September 9, 2013

Integrating Technology - The Remote Classroom

Many of us have heard of the the flipped classroom pedagogy that has been making headlines for the past few years.  This method of teaching is a reversed teaching method which allows instruction to be delivered at home, and "homework" to be done in the classroom.  This allows for more one on one time with students as they practice and engage in the new skill or material during classroom time.  Concern remains, however, that this is just a new way to deliver an old-fashioned lecture.

Ideally, in the flipped classroom, instruction is videotaped by the teacher and delivered via the Internet.  Students are required to watch the lesson at home (or during a study hall).  Lectures are given virtually outside of the classroom.  Classroom time is then spent exploring the goals of the lesson, giving students time to ask questions, and teachers time to assess and work with students more collaboratively.

This model is most effective when teachers provide the actual instruction themselves, pre-taping lessons.  However, traditional lectures can be seen as 'boring' and still as unmotivating - whether given virtually or in the classroom.  A more engaging way to implement the flipped classroom would be to provide students with more inquiry based tasks with a variety of electronic resources to choose from.  Teacher provided video tutorials could provide guidance, and tasks could be completed both inside and outside the classroom.  A variety of tools exist that could be used for classroom delivery, including blogs, websites, and videos. 

If you are interested in recording your lessons and uploading them to the Internet, the library can provide equipment and instruction on how to do this.  Please see the articles below for more information.  They are available in Gale (see library website, click on Gale.  See library staff for password).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tablets in the classroom

Woot!  The library now has two Samsung Tablets and one Ipad to lend out to teachers for use in the classroom or to take to conferences.  Folks, it doesn't get more exciting than this.

You may be saying to yourself - this is great, but what will I ever use it for?

Read on, dear reader....read on...
  • Read a book (borrow online)
  • Free Shakespeare!
  • Take a Google Earth Trip
  • Use a concept map
  • Use as an interactive whiteboard or slate
  • Search the Internet with voice recognition
  • Create podcasts (audio casts) and vodcasts (video casts)
  • Use as camera or video
  • Edit photos and video
  • Type papers (with keyboard dock)
  • Use dropbox to share files
  • And so much more!
Check out this terrific slideshow with suggestions for specific apps to download/purchase for use in the classroom.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Modules and Text Lists - focus on ELA

We love Engage NY!  We really do.  Most recently, we love that they have created text lists for the P-12 ELA Curriculum modules.  For access to the modules as well as the text lists, please visit the engage website at  http://engageny.org/english-language-arts.

Keep in mind that the texts in Appendix B are examplar texts - which means that they are examples for the types of texts we may choose in order to teach the standards.  Many of the texts in Appendix B are outdated. More current, applicable texts can be found associated with the modules themselves.

In addition to the materials available through engage, please note that TeachingBooks (available through our school databases links) provides materials to enhance instruction of these texts.  These materials include multimedia, lesson plans, website links, book guides, author interviews and much more.  Please see library staff for the password to TeachingBooks.net.

And, as always, do not forget to check our library catalog for books and ebooks which we may already own that are on the lists.  If you do not find what you are looking for, be sure to recommend a title for purchase!

ELA Learning Standards
Modules and Text Lists
Text Lists
Teaching Books

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Credible Sources

As your school librarian it is my job to be familiar with the ELA Common Core standards for all grades.  When preparing lessons I often check the standards for that grade and try to incorporate at least one objective that is tied to ELA.  It is worth noting that many times the Information Fluency Standards that I teach are emphasized again and again throughout the ELA standards.

For example:
In grade 7 and 8 , ELA standards state that students should be able to "gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, use search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; avoid plagiarism; and follow a standard format for citation."  Again, in grades 9 -12, we see the emphasis on the use of "multiple authoritative print and digital sources; use of advanced searches effectively, assessment of strengths and limitations of each source in terms of task, purpose, and audience; avoidance of plagiarism and overreliance on any one source."  These are skills that I begin teaching as early as 4th grade - especially in terms of evaluating and selecting the best possible sources to match our research query.

The library provides access to high-quality, academic sources which allow students to select "authoritative" print and digital materials.  OPALS, our Online Public Access Library Service, allows one stop shopping for access to the library's print and digital collections.  Students learn how to search OPALS at the end of 1st grade and this skill is re-inforced throughout their library classes.  For most projects, it would be useful to direct students first to OPALS to check for an expert source.  OPALS not only provides a list of books the library owns, it also links directly to ebooks - the full text of materials that are just a click away for your students - materials that are reviewed and selected by  your friendly librarian.

So - don't forget about OPALS!  Whether you are looking for a good book to read or would like to know if the library has materials for an upcoming research project, have your students check OPALS first.  You may be able to direct your students to those credible sources with just one click.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lexile Levels and the Common Core

“…We were born vampires."
"I thought you became –"
"— vampires by being bitten? Dear me, no. Oh, we can turn people into vampires, it’s an easy technique, but what would be the point? When you eat… now what is it you eat? Oh yes, chocolate… you don’t want to turn it into another Agnes Nitt, do you? Less chocolate to go around."
He sighed. "Oh dear, superstition, superstition everywhere we turn.”
― Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum 

The new lexile level framework requires us as teachers and learners to work within a more complex dimension of text.  This may require that some of the old familiar standbys be replaced by texts that offer deeper levels of meaning and provide for a more vocabulary-rich reading/understanding experience. 

Librarians stand at the precipice of both understanding what is required by the Common Core and providing appropriate resources to teachers and administrators.  For example, if a teacher needs samples of persuasive writing or satire to use in the classroom, the library media specialist can offer a variety of books and other materials to use. 

The above quote from Terry Pratchett's book Carpe Jugulum (Seize the throat) satirizes our contemporary culture's love of vampire literature and film.  A deeper reading into both the author's literal and underyling message supports the new demands that students must delve into the layered meaning of language-rich texts.

To illustrate the type of texts that can be used to support classroom learning, below is a list of titles that the library recently purchased for a 5th grade persuasive writing assignment.  Lists of this sort can be generated for teachers for units across the ELA curriculum.

Dear Mrs. La Rue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague
My Brother Dan's Delicious  by Steven L. Layne
I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff
I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff
Writing to Persuade: Minilessons to Help Students
Should We Have Pets by Sylvia Lollis
Should There be Zoos by Tony Stead

 The lexile framework above has, according to the Common Core: "adjusted upward its trajectory of reading comprehension development through the grades to indicate that all students should be reading at the college and career readiness level by no later than the end of high school."  Librarians specialize in the analysis and evaluation of text and are on hand to select, purchase, and make available in multiple formats texts that support this new framework.

New this year - OPALS now provides the lexile levels for many of the books in our librariesAs you search the catalog you will find the lexile levels in the records for many books - especially ones recently purchased.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Distracted by Everything

Remember the good old days when you rushed home to see if the light was blinking on your answering machine? Yes! Someone was thinking of you. Now, we incessantly check our cell phone even if it hasn't chirped or buzzed - just on the off chance. Hey! Can an hour really have gone by without someone thinking of us? How many times a day can the human brain be interrupted? It may be long past time to consider how these distractions add up over the course of a day. Consider the possibility that constant distractions have ramifications far beyond what one may think. Research (see below) shows that our brains are ill-equipped to bounce back and forth between higher level thinking tasks - and to do either task really well. Not to mention that odd social expectation that we must respond quickly to all electronic messages. Face to face. Single tasking. Those are my new year's resolutions. Say, I may just leave my phone at home. How retro!

For more information:

The Myth of Multitasking - The New Atlantis

Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows
The Stanford study shows that constant connection to technology and steady stream of interruptions may actually be causing our brains to be less effective.