Monday, September 26, 2011

October book presentation for 5th grade

October's genre for Ms. Russell's 5th grade Humanities class is mystery/suspense!

We have a number of books available in the library learning commons just for 5th graders to choose from. Stop by anytime between 8:30am-4pm to choose your book! The deadline for letting Ms. Russell know which book you will be reading is October 3rd.

Here are some places you can look for more ideas. As always, check the recommended age level for each title! The best way is to look up the book at KCLS, click on "Reviews & More," then "Reviews." I highly recommend Booklist or School Library Journal. A review will also give you a summary of the plot so you can see if the book interests you or not.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Create a Culture of Reading at Home

This week I'd like to share my guest post on the Mothering magazine blog entitled Create a Culture of Reading at Home. It addresses some of the questions I have been most frequently asked over the years and I hope you will find it interesting and helpful!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Before you turn in that paper...

I'm sure you are all familiar with the concept of "plagiarism" but sometimes, especially when you're doing research online, it can feel a bit confusing. This website from the makers of Turnitin (which a lot of your high school teachers will probably use) helps clarify things. You can also use this fun interactive tutorial to test your knowledge!

Now, before you hand in your paper, you might want to run it through
Plagiarism Checker (you can enter a maximum of 32 words at a time on this site) or Paper Rater (this one works better for longer papers and also gives you advice on grammar and writing style).

What do you do if one of these sites says you plagiarized? Remember that if you paraphrase in your own words or directly quote someone else's original idea, you must give them credit by including a citation! If you intended to paraphrase but didn't manage it the first time, try using a thesaurus such as WordSmyth to find other ways to word your sentences.

A direct quote also needs to be put in quotation marks. Use the citation generator in World Book Online (see my page on Vista Sharepoint for login information) or KnightCite to create your citation. At our school we use MLA format for citations.

Citations need to be used to give credit to authors whose works you used in your research even if you do not quote or paraphrase them. General knowledge (e.g. "George Washington was the first president of the United States") does not need to be cited.

When in doubt, check with your teachers or me! It's better to play it safe and give credit to the sources you use.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nonfiction book presentation for 5th grade

Welcome back to school!

This month 5th graders will be reading a nonfiction book for their monthly book presentation for Ms. Russell's class. Qualifying books will have more than 40 pages that are primarily text, and will not be biographies. Science books must have been published during or after 2006. No duplication is allowed (each 5th grader must select a unique title).

Books need to be selected by Monday, September 19th.

Students may stop by the library learning commons to select an appropriate book from the 5th grade “genre of the month” shelf. If you prefer to borrow books from the public library instead, you can check out some recommended authors and websites below. Make sure you evaluate all titles in terms of age appropriateness as well as whether they meet the parameters Ms. Russell has set.

Suggested authors:
Rhoda Blumberg
Russell Freedman
Sy Montgomery (please note that she writes for both adults and young people)

Suggested websites:
Classic Non-fiction from the TeenZone at KCLS

The Sibert Medal, an award for exceptional non-fiction given by the American Library Association (which also gives out the Caldecott & Newbery Medals)

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 offers detailed annotated lists for those who enjoy science.

The Cooperative Children's Book Center has numerous reading lists, many of which focus on non-fiction. Select first by grade level, then by topic.

Friday, September 2, 2011

New this year in Vista: The Nook!

E-readers are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason! In late August I purchased a dozen Nook e-readers for use by our Vista students. They will allow us to get new releases into the hands of students much more quickly than before and make multiple copies of hot new titles easily accessible without taking up a lot of shelf space.

Information you need to know:

• Nooks may be borrowed by Vista students with parental permission. The E-reader Appropriate Use Policy form is available on my Vista Sharepoint site and will be sent to families via email along with other Vista news the week before school starts.

• Families are financially liable for replacement and repair costs due to damage or loss while the Nook is checked out in their student’s name.

• Nooks may be borrowed for 3 weeks. Students may place holds on them just as they do with print books.

• The Nooks will be preloaded with books for a middle school audience purchased by Ms. Simeon (who welcomes additional requests from students)!

• Students may download e-books they borrow from the public library, however they may not purchase additional titles or delete or modify titles already on the Nook.

Have more questions? Contact Ms. Simeon anytime at library at ows dot org!