Thursday, December 5, 2013

Library R&R

 Of course, in this realm it's Reading & Research, not rest & relaxation (though the reading part can do both for some folks).


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!"
 This class of 7th graders is very fortunate to have Rachel involving them in research that is both meaningful and requires learning skills that will be incredibly useful for the rest of their lives. 


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

Between Here and Whatever Comes Next
(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.

1 comment:

Natalie Bernstein said...

Great post! Love what you are doing to teach junior high about the research process. And I found Sheinkin's book Bomb the most compelling nonfiction of the year. Well done!