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More Homework Stuff May 30, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Homework Help, Library, Recommendations.
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I am still in the midst of preparing for my new job–which I start Monday–and working on my reference project. So I have more fun reference sources for my core collection–these are internet links that I think will provide good sources for directing students when working on their homework. It is always hard to know without actually trying them out on kids, but here are a few that I’ve found:
Websites


Math
Math Forums @ Drexel:


Biography
Presidents of the United States


Language Arts
Factmonster Language Arts


Multimedia Grammar Glossary


Science
Especies Fact Sheets


Windows to the Universe


All Science Fair Projects


Social Science
The World Factbook


Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids

Math Reference May 29, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in books, Homework Help, Library.
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One of the scariest parts of my new job is going to be providing homework help in math, since it has never been a strong subject for me. But in my quest to become as prepared as possible, and in my class assignment of creating a core-reference collection for the center, I have been examining a variety of math related reference materials. Since I don’t have a passion for math, I didn’t expect to be terribly excited about these reference materials, but I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of math reference materials out there.

In particular, I found the book A Mathematics Handbook very colorful and informative on all kinds of math problems and concepts. It is aimed for middle school students, but could help younger children and even older ones.

Core Reference Collection May 28, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in books, Homework Help, Library.
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I’m currently taking a four week class called “Reference Services for Youth” and our main project is to create a core reference collection of about 30-34 works both print, electronic, and hopefully audio visual. Personally, I am not sure of what the professor means by “reference” as she sometimes seems to refer to all non-fiction books and other times to refer to a distinct sub-set of non-fiction. Regardless, I am finding this particular assignment to be very helpful, and am creating a core reference collection for the homework help center.

Since the homework help center is a distinct area within a larger branch, it doesn’t need a full complement of reference materials. Students can bring reference materials into the center from other parts of the library, and certainly if there was a project that all the students were working on that needed a specific set of books, we could move them temporarily into the center. This said, there are some basic print reference materials that we could keep in the center for use of the students.

In deciding which materials to include, I’m trying to select works that can be used by the broadest range of students in the largest amount of projects. Since the library system has a lot of amazing databases, I will work on marketing those as well.

Here is the tentative list:
Print
Dictionaries
Random House Webster’s unabridged dictionary 2005 423 R1948r2, 2005
Macmillan dictionary for children 2007 423 M16, 2007
The American heritage student thesaurus 2007 423.1 H477s, 2007
The Facts on File dictionary of mathematics 2005 510.3 F142f4
Larousse French-English, English-French dictionary 2007 443.21 L332, 2007
Bilingual visual dictionary – French 2005 443.21 B595
Collins Spanish dictionary 2006 463.21 C7123c3
Writing Aids
Grammar essentials 2006 428.2 G7451g3
Ready, set, write! :a student writer’s handbook for school and home 808.02 R287
Encyclopedias
The World Book Encyclopedia 2008 031 W92, 2008 Almanacs
The World almanac and book of facts 2008 031.02 W927
The world almanac for kids” 2008 031.02 W9273
Atlases
“School atlas–DK” 2007 912 S421s, 2007 Historical Works
Opposing viewpoints in American history 2007 973 OPP

This is just a start–I’m still thinking that I’d like a general science reference work, but I’m undecided on what would be general enough for the largest variety of students and assignments and not take up too much shelf space. In case you are wondering about the two French dictionaries, we have two French immersion schools in our service area, both k-8, so it seemed reasonable.

Alphabet Collages May 27, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Alphabet, books, Library, Ready to Read.
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This week is my last week at my old job, but hopefully it wont be the last week of Ready to Read activities at the center. I have been working hard to get instructions and supplies together so that these activities can be pulled out and used after I am gone to work at my new job. The plan is to provide enough supplies so that each activity can be used at least once without any further preparation then looking at the instruction sheet and grabbing the box of glue sticks and the box of crayons along with the prepared supplies.

For some reason, I’d forgotten that it would be a shorter work week because of the holiday, but I’m still sure that I can pull it all together. Well at least I hope so! This week’s activity is pretty simple. We will be making collages on large letters. I have boxes with a huge assortment of different scraps of different types and colors of paper. That and glue sticks and scissors is all we need for a lot of fun! We made samples on Thursday and stuck them on the Fridge door in the break room–they looked nice and were fun to put together. Plus kids love to work on cutting paper and gluing, skills they get lots of practice in this activity, along with practicing some letters.

Library Germs May 24, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library.
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One thing they do not teach you in library school is that a career in children’s services in the library means you will be exposed to every single germ that goes around. Not only do kids come into the library when they are sick, but they read the books, don’t wash their hands, and generally act as adorable little typhoid marys.

Case in point, I currently have a terrible cold, and feel like all the adorable children beat me with sticks and stuffed cotton balls up my nose. So I might not be posting as regularly, since even sitting up on the couch to type this is draining what little energy is left.

Reading Corner Themes! May 22, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in books, Library, Ready to Read, Recommendations.
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This summer I will be reading Mon-Thursday for an hour to any kids in the library around 1pm. It promises to be enormously entertaining, and hopefully will give me the opportunity to read more picture books. Plus, picture books are fun and the smaller groups will allow more interaction.

To keep what books I’ve read straight, I plan on compiling lists of books for each day. Though I’m scheduled to read for an hour, most likely I will not be reading the whole time, so my goal is 10 books on each topic, for different age levels. A couple for toddlers, a couple for pre-schoolars, some for k-2 grades, and at least one for older kids.

Some of the themes I have lists for already–others I will be compiling as I go along based on what we have at the branch. I don’t want to track down too many books at other branches, so hopefully I’ll be able to find enough for each week.

Here are some of the topics I’ve brainstormed, any suggestions would be great–as well as recommendations of good books on these topics!
-Camping -Farm -Family
-Sports -Clothing -Fruit and Veggies
-Folktales -Colors -Ponds
-Birthday -Creativity -Transportation
-Bedtime -Beach -Alphabet
-Dinosaurs -Jungle -Friends
-Dogs -Emotions -America
-Cats -Ocean -School
-Zoo -Weather -Diversity/multi-cultural
-Bugs -Picnic -Vacation

Some of these I have a lot for, but lots of these I don’t have more then one or two–so I could use suggestions for any read-alouds!

Passive Programing Ideas May 21, 2008

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Since the system I work for is enormous, with over 20 branches, the programs that are presented are shared with all locations and are developed centrally. This is a great time and money saver, since it allows smaller branches to experience more programing then their time and budgets would normally allow. The Youth Services team proposed programs and each location selected a list of them and added them to the schedule of activities. Since I am stepping into the position working on the summer reading club, I am just glad that such excellent programs were selected for my new location.

Though, I’m super excited about the activities and programs we have planned (I can’t believe Haddix is coming, I’ve never been to an author visit!!), I do want to add some things of my own to the SRC. The one area that I think can carry between the two aspects of this job is some passive programing. I can bring these out if there are kids sitting around looking for something to do, before a program, or on weekends when we don’t have any programs. These are also something that volunteens can assist in creating and processing.

Aimed at younger children, I’d like to have a variety of soft easy puzzles–using the die cut I’ve already made some using old flannel backgrounds. Building on the theme of Game On, I’d like to have lacing of some sports related images–primarily balls for different sports. I’ll also have some simple word searches and other word puzzles.

For older kids, I’ll have number, word games, logic games, and mazes. In order to encourage kids to participate and to enjoy it, I will have a contest–giving out stickers for each puzzle completed, with a special foam book mark for those who complete 10 over the course of the summer.

Groups of school age kids and teens might also enjoy some mad-libs, which can also be brought out for groups to enjoy when things get slow. There are also some drawing books that might provide some entertainment–particularly those sports and gaming related ones.

I’ll definitely be posting more as these ideas develop.

Gearing up for Summer Reading Club! May 20, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in books, Library.
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Part of my new job will be to coordinate the summer reading activities for the new branch–our theme this summer is Game On. Read. and we have reading clubs for infants-pre k, children, teens, and adults, though most of our programing is aimed towards the first three groups. This summer we are also trying some new things with our registration of participants–which will be entirely electronic and progress can be tracked via bar code on the activity sheet and their library card. Our volunteens will be entering the registration, but all staff will have to be trained on the new computer system–so everyone can help.

The official kick off will be a week after I start work, so a lot of information to catch up on before we dive into the fun. Even though I have not started yet, I have a lot of ideas about fun activities. Though the calendar suggests that there wont be much time for any more activities, especially with a four day a week reading corner, where I and volunteens and others will read to any children.

Some of our planned activities:
**Tall Tales of North America
**Mad Science, Up, Up, and Away
**Author Visit: Margaret Peterson Haddix
**Manga & Cartooning
**Lunch Bunch (Every Thursday)
**Kitchen Concoctions: Extreme Cuisine
**Turtle Lady
**Color in Action
**Teen Gaming (Every Thursday)
**Library Bingo
**Jim Gill, Music and Fun
**Irish Dance
**Race on!
And that is just June!!

Right now I feel like I need to get more information on what they are planning before I can see how any ideas I might have would fit into the program. The only part I know for sure that I am responsible for is supervising volunteens and the reading corner.

New Job May 19, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library, Ready to Read.
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In two weeks, I will be starting a new job, which I am super excited and nervous about. It is an amazing position, with the potential to do a huge amount of good in the community, as well as giving me TONS of good experience. I will be coordinating the new center to assist students k-12 with their homework. The job is one that combines advocacy, programing, and hands on, one-on-one interaction with youth. Plus, it is the sort of position that responds to the needs of the community and the season, meaning that I will have a ton of freedom to design new programs and visit new locations to market the center to students and recruit potential volunteers.

Another advantage of this position, is that I will be full time working out of one location. This will make it so much easier to arrange my schedule and plan ahead. Even though I wont begin for a couple of weeks, I’m bursting with ideas for the upcoming Summer Reading Season and the build up to the new school year at the end. It will be adventure to get to know a new branch, new customers, and a new job!

For the next two weeks, I’ll be getting the R2R activities set up to continue after I go, and wrapping up all the other details of my two jobs. I’m sure that I will have lots to post as it gets closer to the time for me to start my new job.

Non-fiction Read Alouds for Kids May 18, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in books, Library, Recommendations.
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I’ve never been much of a non-fiction reader, at least not for enjoyment, though I’ve read more then my fair share for school. But since I begun working in youth services I have discovered some really enjoyable non-fiction, particularly aimed at younger readers. Many have stunning illustrations, interesting information, and quite a few are suitable for reading out loud to a group or together at home. Since I love picture books, it is not surprising that I would enjoy these so much. Today’s new book cart was chock full of delightful non-fiction, which I thought I would share!

The first is a hilarious book for pre-k and up that is PERFECT for reading aloud because it invites participation. It is Where Does Pepper Come From And Other Fun Facts and it includes a wide range of facts, from why flamingos are pink to the difference between whales and fish. First a silly statement is made explaining why these things are so, such as “Flamingos are pink because they are embarrassed!” Then a child says “No! Silly” and then the facts are explained. Children will love to say “No!” to the silly stories and pictures, and will not be confused by the facts explained.

Another fun book that came in today is Ape , the illustrations are stunning and the text is simple. The book presents the five great apes and provides a bit of information about each and where they live. It might not be for every family, as the ending presents the fifth ape as humans, and there is definite preservation angle. However, the images and lyrical simple text make this a book that is definitely worth recommending as a read aloud.

Continuing the theme of animals, this is an interesting story for a bedtime theme: Water Beds: Sleeping in the Ocean It pairs simple words with peaceful text that provides information about the sleeping habits of aquatic mammals. Another good themed storytime bookPumpkins –this time for a fall/harvest/pumpkin theme, this non-fiction book has incredible pictures, simple text, and good proportions for sharing with a group.

Oddly, one of the hardest categories for non-fiction read alouds is folk tales, which are particularly hard to find for younger readers. Most of the time a storyteller can modify them to keep attention using dramatics, props, or just voice modulation, but simple folk tales are excellent for sharing aloud. Today, I found The Ghost Catcher with the new books. It is a simple tale of trickery and humor, involving ghosts and generosity that will not frighten children. This is suitable for k-2 grades.

What I have really discovered is that there is a lot of non-fiction that can be incorporated into our story telling in the library, and that rather then just focusing on fiction picture books, we can introduce our children to the world around them from an early age. I hope to find even more amazing non-fiction books–so any suggestions would be appreciated!