Welcome to the Mediapprentice Blog. It is the online home of the Maple School LMC. My hope is that you will find excellent resource links for reading and research as well as informative posts.
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For any research project remember these 6 steps:
- Define the information need. What is your assignment? Has the teacher defined your research topic for you or do you need to develop a topic yourself? If you need to develop the topic, make sure it is not too broad nor too narrow. We will work on that skill together. Begin to create your research outline in EasyBib listing curiosity questions about your topic, or, the required elements your teacher has assigned. Don’t forget to add a bullet where you can keep track of your keywords as you find them.
- Discover possible resources. What resources can you use to find information about your topic? You will need to use at least three types of resources but it is good to use more. Think outside the box. We know that books, websites, and online encyclopedias are good resources, but what else can you think of? Are there primary documents you could use? Could you interview someone? Is there a museum you could go to? Can you send away for a pamphlet? Don’t confine yourself to the same old resources just because they might be handier.
- Locate your resources and evaluate them. Gather your resources. We will work on search strategies together. When using the Internet, don’t forget to use the website evaluation tool that is in your assignment notebook. Remember, you need to evaluate every resource, not just websites.
- Draw out relevant information. Once you have gathered your resources, create your bibliography in EasyBib. As you take notes, connect each note to the source it comes from. This will help you return to the source in the future, if you need to. Also, when taking notes, put only one fact on a notecard. It’s okay if you end up with 200 notecards. The reason for this is that you can make your own connections between your facts easier if there is only one fact per notecard. As you find a common thread between your facts, group them together and/or add them to your outline. Reflect along the way: Are you answering your curiosity questions? Are there new directions your research should go? Do you need more information? Do you need more resources? Are you fulfilling the requirements from your teacher?
- Synthesize the information you have gathered – show what you know. Each of you is a fantastic individual. You bring your own unique experiences to everything you learn. When you think about the facts you have gathered and add your own perspective, you synthesize the information. Depending on your assignment and the audience, you will create a final project that shows what you know.
- Reflect on the research process.Take a moment to think back on your research. What went well along the way? What were your roadblocks? Did you find the answers you were looking for? Were you able to find helpful resources? Did you find any that weren’t helpful? Do you think this type of source could ever be helpful to you? If you could rewind and do this process all over, what would you do differently?
(Our research steps are based on a combination of the Big6 and IIM research models.)
At the beginning of the summer, my sister turned me onto the Little Free Library (LFL) movement. The idea is to provide a space in your yard where anyone can come to take a book or leave a book. No strings attached. My husband and I, both being school librarians, were impassioned to build one of these for our neighbors before we left for our summer trip. Between my sister’s family and our family, we designed and built our LFL in 7 days taking about 150 person hours. It was a labor of love as we are not carpenters…remember we are librarians.
The success of our LFL has been heartwarming. Kids and adults alike, bring books and take books. One 5 year old was the librarian while we were on vacation. We left a journal inside for people to write anything they want. Many adults have left us encouraging notes. The kids, (girls AND boys) stop by to thank us. Lots of people stop to meet and talk about books in front of our LFL. One young mother, new to the neighborhood, was wondering how she was going to meet people, and felt warm and invited to sit awhile in our yard to talk with other neighbors. A retired Marine is inspired to build one in his yard to match his home. Although these little structures are adorable, the best part is in supporting reading. Literacy is the bottom line.
If you haven’t yet seen or heard about the Little Free Library, I encourage you to check out their site. If you want to build one yourself and have any questions, feel free to contact me. We are pretty proud of ourselves for figuring out how to weather proof our LFL and wouldn’t mind sharing our knowledge with you.
If I were still in the middle of raising my children, (although do we ever really stop?), I would rely heavily on Common Sense Media to help me guide my kids through the media world. I blogged about this website in the past, and I just want to remind you to check them out. They offer balanced guidance in all things media.
As you know, we are temporarily closed during the day for MAP testing. The library lends itself well to the various needs of our testers and technology and we are more than happy to support the school in this way. Please be assured that you can still check out books by visiting the librarian in the hallway outside the LMC. After school, we will be open as MAP testing will be over for the day.
We are excited to have the library space available to you Monday through Thursday until 4:45. Many students have found this time very productive to complete their homework or get ahead on a project. Please make sure you either have an activity bus pass or that your ride is here by 4:45 if you are staying to use the library after school. We will continue to close at 4:00 on Fridays.
The last Open Mic for this year was incredibly fun! The 6th Graders started the event with talent, humor, and community. Watching them spread their wings more and more over the next two years will be exciting! The last song of 6th Grade Open Mic was “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. The entire 6th Grade population helped perform that song. Although we left late, (after the bell rang), we couldn’t help but feel very, very happy. I say we ride on the wave of that chorus as we finish out this school year.
8th and 7th Grades, respectively, also turned out stellar performances! What a great day!
Take a look at the photos:
Being an information literate person in today’s world gives one a leg up on success. Besides being able to use print sources, we have a myriad of devices that connect us to an ever expanding pool of information. It is imperative that we all learn how to navigate and evaluate sources both in the Open Web and the Invisible Web. Some argue that we no longer need to memorize anything because we can access the data so readily. Wisdom, therefore, tells us that we must be able to thoughtfully discern the credibility of a source so that we do not build new knowledge upon a faulty foundation.
Training students to be information literate includes instruction on how to use the Open Web (non-subscription information easily accessed by all and in many cases written by novices) and the Invisible Web (content accessible through the Internet, written by experts and often needing a user name and password to access). This is a skill we embed in our curriculum through research projects. I have been fortunate to co-teach in each grade, and this year I have “flipped” my instruction of information literacy skills. To introduce new information or review skills they have been working on, students were asked to complete online “courses” before beginning their project. Students were able to work at their own pace giving them the ability to spend more time on skills that were unfamiliar to them. These courses promoted more confidence, excellence and independence in the research process. Having instruction moved online, I was better able to answer questions and assist individual students during class time.
The program I use is called ResearchReady and is a product of Imagine Easy Solutions. This is the same company that created EasyBib which we also subscribe to.
“ResearchReady is a cloud-based information literacy and assessment platform that teaches and assesses the research process for middle and high school students. ResearchReady is aligned with the Common Core and AASL standards.” (Imagine Easy Solutions)
Thanks to ResearchReady, we have a platform to instruct and assess our students on skills that will serve them well in today’s world.
This month was very well attended but a little sparse in performances. But here are some pictures for you to enjoy. See you March 18th!
Our Open Mic experiences just keep getting more and more phenomenal! The library was bursting with students and staff enjoying the talents of many peers. Just look at these pictures!
Just before break, Mrs. Morris’s Social Studies classes wrapped up a research project about world religions. 8th grade, you worked through the research process like pros. Using your curiosity, you developed terrific focus questions and subtopics to guide you in your investigation. Working through the ResearchReady modules, you cemented your research skills and learned how to be in control of finding resources on the open web and the invisible web. 8th graders…you all rock! :-) (Image citation: Symbols of five major world religions. Digital image. Christianity Judaism Islam Buddhism Hinduism Voting. Blogspot. Web. 29 Dec. 2013. )