Yesterday I met with Rachel's 7th graders for a class on using ProQuest, SIRS and other subscription databases for research on their Race, Class & Gender (RCG) project. They are looking for information that sheds light on how RCG issues intersect with and affect food security & insecurity, HeadStart/early childhood education, and immigration.
The students are very interested in their topics and we covered a lot of ground. We looked at the similarities in ProQuest and SIRS, and at the major differences (ProQuest is a collection of newspaper & magazine articles, while SIRS is a curated collection of similar articles, but only ones that relate to one or more of 300-ish social issues identified by the editors). These kids are all using iPads, so they're pretty savvy with the mechanics of the apps and navigation -- it's cool that they will be able to save PDFs of the articles they find in one of the pdf notetaking apps we use (GoodReader and Noteabilty) and build their research collections right on their iPads. We may have another session to go deeper into using NoodleBib for pulling notes together from various sources and then creating outlines and written documents from the information.
An idea that Rachel and I emphasized is that research is a process, not a single activity, toward becoming knowledgeable about a topic. A couple of analogies to personal research seemed to click with the students:
- for those who participate in Fantasy Sports leagues: "Did you know everything you needed to know about your team and your players when you first started? How did you learn? Was it quick? Or did you read and talk about them, then try it out, then read and talk some more? That's research!"
- or, "if you're into, say, Justin Bieber. Did you know his favorite color, or his mom's name, right away? Did you find out everything from one place? Did it take some time? That's research!"
Earlier in the week I got to do my favorite kind of "travelling road show," going over to the junior high to booktalk great reading to Jennifer and Tony's 7th graders. Tony's also a great colleague, with regular invitations to go visit for a YA reading "show & tell" extravaganza! What a great class.
The books I took and talked were grouped into themes. The links go to the book descriptions in our Surpass Safari catalog. Books checked out by students at the end of class are marked with an asterisk.
* Chew, Vol. 1 by John Layman
* My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid
* Mind the Gap, Vol. 1 by Jim McCann
* Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoyeye
Suspect by Robert Crais
* The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
* The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Bonechiller by Graham McNamee
Lord Loss by Darren Shan
(is there a limbo? and what happens when you're there?)
* The Afterlife by Gary Soto
* Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Everlost by Neal Shusterman
Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
* Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Indigo Summer by Monica McKayhan
M or F? by Lisa Papademitrou and Chris Tebbits
Ash by Malinda Lo
(National Book Award nominees that didn't win)
* Boxers & Saints (2 vols.) by Gene Luen Yang
* Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - The World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire & Its Legacy by Albert Marrin
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
What books would you include in these themes? Are you a holiday book giver? Please share your suggestions in the comments.