Dear Students, Parents and Patrons,
We are rounding out a very busy month in the MPS Library! While the outer world slows down a bit with the changing of the seasons, cooler temperatures and more indoor activities, here at school we are running at full capacity.
Traditionally the library has been a quiet place to read and study, and while that is still true, the ever changing face of digital literacy and technology is reshaping the library as a “learning commons” a place to come together to work, study, research, prepare, create and collaborate. Our students are truly fortunate to be living in a time when information is so readily available. With one-to-one computers, skilled and dedicated teachers, and clear, focused educational goals, we are helping our students to become 21st Century Learners.
Digital Citizenship is a particular focus that we are all being called to develop and respond to. Students in Library Skills class learn about what it means to create a “clean digital footprint” as well as how to stay safe online. We must become all become familiar with these practices, as we continue to move into a technological advanced society.
One of the concerns that I’d like to address is appropriate internet use. While teachers are tasked with monitoring screen time and making sure students are on-task, we must also empower students to self-monitor their activities as well. It is very easy to get lost in cyberspace, so one of the things I encourage others to do is set a timer. If we are not done with our task/project within an hour, it’s a good idea to get up, move, stretch and walk away from the screen anyway. Young students especially will benefit from a timer prompt.
Additionally, many students enjoy playing online games. While these can certainly be entertaining, they can also become huge time wasters. We ask that students refrain from playing games at school on their devices. We also ask that students use their school accounts for school related work, research and study. Many students have personal Google accounts and these may have applications and downloads ties to their personal accounts, so please remind your junior high and high school students to use their school account for educational purposes.
Once students complete their homework activities, we encourage them to work on Compass Learning and of course, we have GREAT novels available. There are many excellent NEW titles this year, covering a wide variety of genres.
APP of the Month:
Popplet or http://popplet.com/ is this month’s featured application. Popplet is a digital graphic organizer that has a variety of possibilities for classroom use. Students can use it to research topics, create definitions, design presentation and take notes. It is a very user-friendly program that allows students to work with color, upload pictures, and share live links. It is a free program that requires an email address and password. Popplets can be shared via email or social media.
It is applicable for both children and adults.
We know students are busy and involved in a variety of activities. We also believe that reading for pleasure is educationally supportive. Once students meet the AR reading goals for their grades they receive a snack and beverage of their choice. The points are not difficult to attain and we love recognizing our “natural readers.”
The following details point requirements for each grade:
6th and 7th: 3.5 points per month
8th grade: 4 points
9th grade: 4.5 points
10th grade: 5 points
11th and 12th grade: 5.5 points
Greetings from the MPS library! We’re rolling through another month and preparing for busy fall and winter seasons. Soon basketball season will be in full swing and we’ll be gearing up for semester finals. It is crazy how quickly the days fly by.
Reading Mastery students continue to learn the SQ3R reading strategy as well as text connections, comprehension monitoring and word-learning strategies. Students are learning to change headings into questions and then answer the questions in note-taking form. They are currently in the Science unit studying waves, sound, light and sight. They continue to practice reading fluency and are reviewing how to write a text reflection.
Library Skills students are extending their writing skills to include author research and biographical writing. Students will identify common categories such as birth place, date, family, education, early life, challenges/struggles, family life, children, accomplishments and contributions. Additionally students will review note taking, outlining, identifying a thesis statement, draft writing and the editing process. Once students complete the writing process they will present and introduce us to the VIP they have selected to study.
6th Grade Reading students have wrapped up the Literary Elements unit, though they will continue to build and expand comprehension skills throughout the remainder of the year. Students can successfully identify plot, scene, setting, characters, rising action, falling action, conflict, author’s purpose, theme and resolution. Students will begin their next novel, Soldier Dog. This is a captivating story that takes place in World War I, with a young boy who runs away to join the army. Paired with a difficult dog to train in War Dog School, both the boy and the dog are pushed to their limits of strength, endurance, loyalty and bravery.
Applications of the Month:
This month’s featured application is Momentum https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/momentum/laookkfknpbbblfpciffpaejjkokdgca?hl=en It is a Google Chrome extension that can be downloaded to the desktop. The new tab creates a personal dashboard that features weather, inspiration and a daily to-do list. A goal for the day is set in the middle of the screen. Momentum provides a positive quote and a beautiful picture as well. In the top, left hand corner, favorite links can easily be added. Clink on the word “Links” for a drop down menu to add sites that you frequently visit. The temperature for your location is in the upper, right hand corner. Customized options are available with purchase, however the free version that I am using works great. This is a very nice way to organize your thoughts for the day and a good reminder of the goals you’ve set each time you open a browser tab.
Scrumblr is another great application that acts as an online “whiteboard.” It is free and requires no username or password. Simply visit this site http://scrumblr.ca/ name your board and click enter. Once you are on the site, click the plus sign on the right to add columns. At the bottom of the page, click the + sign to add sticky notes. Click and drag the note card to the appropriate column. The colored dots on the bottom of the whiteboard can be used to organize/categorize groups. Here’s an example board that I’ve recently created http://scrumblr.ca/easyapplications
We’d like to thank everyone for making this year’s Scholastic Book Fair a SUCCESS. Thanks to your contributions we will be receiving some wonderful new titles for the library as well as building up our “scholastic dollar funds” for future purchases. We are already planning next year’s fair! Again, thanks for shopping with us and Happy Reading!
March looks to be a very active month! I think it’s unanimous that most of us would be more than willing to trade our winter gear in for lighter jackets, though we can always be in for a surprise, this is Nebraska afterall! The many events like Quiz Bowl, Track Season, and Easter Celebrations happening this month that will help us shake off the final throes of winter.
The seventh grade library skills class is learning about the components of researching and writing papers. Students are learning how to use MLA citations for print and digital resources as well as how to use in-text citations and copyright free photos. They are completing a mini-research on the history and symbols of Easter. Our next project is a research and multi-media project on planets. Students are learning to use writing plans to organize their questions, categories, notes and reflections. They’ve created great organizers using an application called Popplet. www.poplet.com)
6th grade reading students are finishing a novel about Sacagawea. They will begin their research on Lewis and Clark in a couple of weeks. Students will be working with a partner to design character sketches, book trailers and multimedia summaries of York, Lewis, Clark, Charbonneau and Sacagawea. Students reading Dogsong created character tributes to Oogruk, the main character’s mentor. They will be learning about the Inuit culture, food sources and climate. They will be using Popplet and Lino to create multimedia presentations on their research projects. We’ll also start taking an in-depth look at figurative language and using contextual evidence to back up evaluation and summary statements.
Jr High/High School Book of the Month: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Who says poetry can’t be “sporty” and “cool”. This book features twin basketball playing brothers who enter middle school and identify vast differences within their personalities. Written from Josh Bell’s viewpoint, readers will feel as if they are reading his personal journal, walking beside him every day. Students will easily be able to identify with the challenges and themes that the characters encounter, all the while reading a selection that doesn’t feel like a book, as this is written in verse fiction. This book is a great change of pace, featuring everyday realities, and creative descriptions for the challenges of teenage years.
Elementary Book: Creature Features by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
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