Week by Week Series – Week 4

Most of my elementary classes fall on Tuesday this year. I am in a K-12 school so this helps the secondary students and teachers know which day the library is “closed” to them. This year, September 11 fell on Tuesday. Our students and faculty were encouraged to wear red, white, and blue in honor of Patriots Day (9-11).

My first class on Tuesdays is the second grade. One of them asked, “Why is everyone wearing read, white, and blue?” I answered, “to remind us of what happened on 9-11.” I was saddened to discover that over half of the class did not know the significance of the date. So, we started library time with a history lesson. I was careful to use age-appropriate information, but some were visibly upset over what I shared. I shifted gears and read the chapter from the day’s book and proceeded with the lesson – my history lesson soon forgotten. For this lesson we reviewed the information found on the front cover and spine of a book. For the assignment, I created a worksheet with a book cover and spine for them to fill in with the appropriate information from one of the books they checked out.

We continued our Digital Citizenship lessons with the older elementary students. Third grade looked at private and personal information and what information is okay to share with people you don’t know. With the fourth grade, we looked at the type of behavior a good digital citizen exhibits. We talked about a Digital Citizenship Pledge which I encouraged them to sign and discuss with their parents. Super Digital Citizen was the topic for the fifth grade. After our discussion, they each created a Super Hero who encourages good digital behavior. I really like the resources and lessons created by Common Sense Media. They make it so that we don’t need to re-invent the wheel on this topic.

With my kinder and first graders, we continued our work on library behavior and book care. I was recently introduced to a YouTube video featuring Mr. Ginger. He really shows inappropriate behavior in a way the kids get. Our story this week was Petunia, which I use to reinforce book care rules. I copied pages out of LiBEARy Skills: K-3 (which sadly is no longer available) that help to reinforce book care rules.

I had three research sessions during the week. The tenth grade world history class came to research ancient history topics. This teacher assigns a project each quarter. Most of the time these are individual projects which will be presented in class. Because I have already done an orientation with these students, the teacher does not request additional instruction from me. She gives me a list of topics and if I know of resources for any of the topics, I direct the student to those resources.

The ninth grade geography class came to start their semester-long country project. This first assignment deals with the five themes of geography. With this group, even though they had done the annual orientation, I introduced (or re-introduced) them to appropriate resources for their project. We have print copies of the annual CIA World Factbook and the annual World Almanac and Book of Facts as well as atlases and the People and Places series. I also remind them about our online subscription to World Book Encyclopedia and that they can also access the CIA World Factbook online. Then, I turn them loose to work. The teacher and I are both available to help with resources as they work.

The final research project for the week is a favorite. The fifth grade teacher and I started this several years ago when we discovered a huge lack in research skills. We have found it improves their abilities for all of the other research projects they will have to complete. For several years both third and fifth grades did this project, so this will be the second time some of these fifth graders have completed this project. I created a Google doc which has the format for the different types of bibliography cards in addition to the format for note cards, based on information in their English book. We also create a shared Google doc for taking the notes – complete with boxes so that it looks like several note cards on a page. Our library is equipped with a large screen and projector connected to a desktop computer with a wireless keyboard. I have three tabs open on this computer: Google doc of research card format, Google doc of this year’s research notes, and the “Bat” article in the World Book Encyclopedia online. The students all have a research folder which contains their note cards. The first card they complete is the bibliography card for World Book Encyclopedia. We start by looking at the citations information for World Book which I show on the big screen. I copy and paste the information from the citation tool into the Google doc for our notes. The students then copy the information to a note card. For the rest of the notes, the teacher is using a Chrome Book or her phone to type the notes into our shared doc. We go paragraph by paragraph through to article shown on the big screen, deciding as a class which information is important and how to word it without copying. One note at a time – the teacher types it into the shared doc, which I then share on the big screen so the students can copy it down onto their note cards. The first session we got through the first two paragraphs of the article. Now that the students understand what we are doing, it should go faster in following weeks.

Links to resources in this article

Digital Citizenship Lessons from Common Sense Media.
Mr. Ginger. video on book care

Amazon Affiliate Links (thanks for helping to support this blog)

The CIA World Factbook 2018-2019
The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2019
People and Places (World Book Illustrated Reference Set for Children, Volumes 1 – 6)
National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World, Fourth Edition: Indispensable Information and More Than 1,000 Maps and Illustrations


What kind of interactions did you have with students on the topic of Patriots Day (9-11)?

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