Friday, January 29, 2016

What career should I choose?

Every January, career planning takes center stage at the middle school in 8th grade. A week is spent with our guidance counselors, taking self inventories and surveys, talking about career clusters, and generally thinking about what students want to do with the rest of their lives. I'm sure some adults can't answer this questions, but at least we want our 8th grade students to be thinking about it.

The following week these young minds come to me. During my time with the 8th grade students, we pick a career that they seem interested in and research what goes into achieving a position in that occupation. This includes everything from a general description to licensing to pros and cons that they find about the job. After their research is complete, students work with their literacy teacher to write an informative paper about their chosen career.

But the research is the part that's my baby, so let me expound upon that. :)

First of all, I teach the students that research is something you do everyday, even if you don't call it that. You research how to get from one place to another. You research the song you just heard on the radio. You research the news story about $90,000 worth of cheese that was stolen (this really happened!). Any time you're looking up information you are researching. So to make a bigger project like this not so overwhelming, we use a set of steps called the Big6 to keep us organized and on track.

The first three steps of the Big6 are planning steps; we figure out what information we need, where we are going to look, and how we are going to search. Step four is where we spend most of our time. During this step, we actually start looking in the resources we want to use to, we take notes, and we create citations for our resources. This is a nit-picky step, true, but all that attention to detail teaches students that the work that someone creates has value, that that work needs acknowledgement for the effort that went into creating it.
These 8th grade boys found the floor more motivational for their research then the classroom desks.

Step five of the Big6 we completely skip while I'm with them due to the fact that that is the step in which they synthesize their information into a product, namely their essay. However we do step six very quickly, in which they evaluation how they think their research went; students ask themselves if there were there things to do better next time and what grade they deserve both for the process of researching and the product of their research.

So that's it in a nutshell. We had students in 8th grade research everything from tattoo artist to civil engineer, from physician to furnace repair person, and from computer programmer to human resource manager. The wide variety of careers that are chosen every year continues to astound me.

If you'd like more information about the research we did, all the documents I used with the students are located on the SCC Middle School Library's "Learn" page.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Books of the Week, Jan 25

Spotlight on Neil Gaiman books this week!

High School - InterWorld by Neil GaimanAt nearly fifteen years of age, Joey Harker learns that he is a Walker, able to travel between dimensions, and soon joins a team of different versions of himself, each from another dimension, to fight the evil forces striving to conquer all the worlds.
FIC GAI @ the Library

Middle School - The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe orphan Bod, short for Nobody, is taken in by the inhabitants of a graveyard as a child of eighteen months and raised lovingly and carefully to the age of eighteen years by the community of ghosts and otherworldly creatures.
FIC GAI @ the Library

Elementary - Fortunately, the Milk by Neil GaimanWhile picking up milk for his children's cereal, a father is abducted by aliens and finds himself on a wild adventure through time and space.
FIC GAI @ the Library

Friday, January 22, 2016

Killer Bunnies in Independence Hall!

So the title of this post might be a little misleading, but it is about Killer Bunnies and Independence Hall.

For 3rd quarter, students at the middle school have the opportunity to read the book Independence Hall by Roland Smith. This is an action-packed, spy thriller that we are using as our next One School One Book title. This program is all about encouraging reading by having a common text that all staff and students can talk about. And this book has a lot to talk about!

As a special incentive for the students, anyone who reads the book and writes a review in Destiny, our library catalog, will get their name in a drawing to win the card game Killer Bunnies (see I told you there were killer bunnies in this post). This is a fun and hilarious card game, and we will giving away a copy to a student in grades 5-6 and a student in grades 7-8.

Students can find the book Indpendence Hall as an unlimited ebook on our FollettShelf to be read on any device that has a browser and an internet connection. If students would prefer a paper copy, they can stop by the library and check on out (limited supply).

Just as a reminder the login for Destiny & FollettShelf for students is:
Username: same as computer (EX jsmith23)
Password: lunch number only (EX 1234)

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Books of the Week, Jan 18

Elementary - Aliens Are Coming!: The True Account of the 1938 War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast by Meghan McCarthy
The story of Orson Welles' radio broadcast which reported aliens landing in New Jersey and how this broadcast panicked the entire country and made Welles famous.
791.44 MCC @ the Library

Middle School - A Field Guide to Aliens: Intergalactic Worrywarts, Bubblonauts, Silver-slurpers, and Other Extraterrestrials by Johan OlanderReports the habitat, diet, lifecycle, and other characteristics of a variety of unusual creatures from other planets, as observed and recorded by a monstrologist.
001.942 OLA @ the Library

High School - How to Build a Robot Army: Tips on Defending Planet Earth Against Alien Invaders, Ninjas, and Zombies by Daniel H. WilsonDescribes how to assemble and deploy a robot army to fight evil beings, such as zombies, vampires, and werewolves.
629.8 WIL @ the Library

Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Award Party Held Jan 12

Every January, the American Library Association announces the newest book awards including the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and many others. Just like the Grammy's are a big deal in the music world, and the Academy Awards are the be-all in the film world, the ALA awards announcement is the highlight of every library and book lovers year. This year these awards were announced on Monday, January 11.

To create excitement about these awards amongst the middle school students, I hosted a book award party the afternoon of January 12. Students that participated heard about the amazing new award winning books, having the chance to peruse the books SCC already owned and add their name to hold lists for any of the books. They also played book award bingo, created book marks and black out poetry using discarded book pages, and had a great time overall.

You can see the list of award winning books by clicking here. And search your school's Destiny library catalog to check out or place a hold on any of the books.
Snacking while we watch book trailers about the new winners.

A Geisel honor book "SuperTruck" being read by the author.

Origami bookmarks!

Fun crafting during the event. 
Surprised from creating an SCC book award for a picture.

How do you fold this again?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Books of the Week, Jan 11

This week we look to the past and highlight a few historical fiction titles.

Elementary - Better to Wish by Ann M. MartinIn 1930
Abby Nichols is an eight-year-old girl growing up in Maine, but as the Depression deepens, and her mother dies, the responsibility of taking care of her family falls to her, and she has to put her dreams of going to college and becoming a writer on hold.
FIC MAR @ the Library

Middle School - Death Valley : California, 1849 by Kathleen Duey and Karen A. Ball
A brother and sister struggle to survive the rigors of Death Valley after their wagon breaks an axle and they set out alone to find help for their stranded family and injured father.
FIC DUE @ the Library

High School - A Prince Without a Kingdom by Timothée De Fombelle
Fleeing dark forces and unfounded accusations across Europe in the years between World Wars, a young man named Vango has been in danger for as long as he can remember. He has spent his life running along rooftops, fleeing to isolated islands, and evading capture across Russia, Paris, New York, and Italy. Narrow escapes, near misses, and a dash of romantic intrigue will rivet adventurous teens to their seats as Vango continues to unravel the mysteries of his past. In the shadow of a rapidly changing world, can Vango find those who have hunted him for so long and uncover his true identity?
FIC FOM @ the Library

Friday, January 8, 2016

Book Award Party

Middle school students are invited to join us to hear about the new 2016 book award winners!

There will be food, games (with prizes), and a viewing of the official award announcements. Plus you can page through the winning books and get your name on the hold list.

When - Jan 12 (Tues) from 3:15-5pm

Where - Middle School Library

Cost - FREE

Monday, January 4, 2016

Books of the Week, Jan 4

In celebration of National Braille Literacy Month, here are some stories touching on blind culture.

Elementary - The Black Book of Colors by Menena CottinRaised black line drawings on black pages encourage people to use their other senses to experience art, helping them understand what it is like to be blind.
E FIC COT @ the Library

Middle School - Blindsided by Priscilla CummingsAfter years of failing eyesight, fourteen-year-old Natalie reluctantly enters a school for the blind, where in spite of her initial resistance she learns the skills that will help her survive in the sighted world.
FIC CUM @ the Library

High School - She is Not Invisible by Marcus SedgwickA London teenager, who is blind, and her younger brother travel to New York to find their missing father, using clues from his notebook.
FIC SED @ the Library