Podcasts… the new old school way to learn. I love them and listen to them regularly as well as want to make one with students in 2016-2017. So, when I was told about Brains On last week, I instantly placed it in my podcast feed and anxiously awaited a few minutes of uninterrupted time to test it out. Well… I am happy to say that I am hooked and am more excited to start my own next school year. Brains On encourages curiosity and explains in kid friendly terms answers to their questions. Here is a sample from their website.
Starting in December, 4th grade students were asked to engage with Colonial NJ living. They will ultimately create a project to represent their learning. While the following video from Mount Vernon is not a NJ colonial experience, it does represent what early living was like.
Teaching Thanksgiving lessons can be so predictable… the Pilgrims and the Native Americans ate a feast together and that is why we have turkey, cranberries etc. This year I shared 2 stories with students and teachers. The first is the virtual tour of the Mayflower. Scholastic and the Plimoth Plantation do a nice job bringing history to life.
Another great story is the one of Sarah Hale. I shared Thank you Sarah by Laurie Halsie Anderson with 2nd graders and all of them had never heard of the school teacher who requested that Thanksgiving be made a national holiday. She also was a writer and penned Mary Had a Little Lamb. To see her national holiday request letter to President Lincoln, visit the following link to the Library of Congress.
As our 4th grade students read The Diary of Anne Frank, I am compelled to share the Anne Frank timeline and website. http://www.annefrank.org/en/
There is an interactive timeline with plenty of primary sources and connections between Anne’s letters and what was happening in the world. Additionally, you can take a 3D tour of Anne’s house that is recreated from actual photos.
Here is a tutorial for www.ipl.org, a great resource for questions by reference librarian volunteers and library students.
This past weekend I came across the following article concerning digitized newspapers and the impact on research, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/opinion/sunday/the-biographers-new-best-friend.html. The gist of the article is that biographers can now have access to historical newspapers with digitized content.
Why is this important?
Researchers today can search newspaper articles for people’s names, pseudonyms, key expressions used and more. In education, we can now teach lessons on a historic time period with actual newspaper articles. This look into our history is one more piece of the puzzle and choice for young researchers.
One example of a free database is Chronicling America through the Library of Congress. Take a moment to check it out and be a witness to history.
How do you access research databases after school hours?
In school we will be teaching students how to navigate the many ways of finding information and expanding their knowledge beyond Google or Wikipedia. It is quite common for students in the 5th grade to create a bibliography and try to mark Google as their source. Alas, Google is only a road to a destination and a road that leads to information many times above student’s reading and comprehension level. To address this issue, we teach students how to access district paid databases that are written for students and one we use is EBSCO.
How can the learning continue from home?
Once a student is home and no longer on the school servers, it is increasingly difficult to access the same databases. One solution is to use the public library access from the library or from home. The following is a brief tutorial on how to access the EBSCO database from the Maplewood Memorial Library home page.