Have you already assigned the first of many research papers or essays to your students? Would you now like to point them in the direction of FREE writing review and suggestions? If so, take a moment to encourage them to use Howard County Library System’s online homework assistance.
This service features, among other useful aspects, a writing lab where students can actually upload versions of their original papers to receive a “second opinion” from the experts. These experts check the students’ submissions for grammar and content, then reply to the students with suggestions and tips to consider while drafting the final versions of their assignments!
In addition to writing assistance, Online Homework Assistance experts also offer your students confidential access to additional assistance/tutoring in the following areas:
- Social Studies
- Foreign Languages
- Test Preparation
Remember, this service is FREE! Encourage your students to take advantage of this and other services offered by the Howard County Library System via hclibrary.org/students.
Brian Hart – Howard County Library System, Savage Branch
Are your students planning on participating in National History Day this year? Would they like a judge’s inside view? Teachers, parents and students are invited to Howard County Library System’s Maximize Your History Day Research event on October 4 at 7 pm at the Elkridge Branch. Click here to register. You’ll get live demonstrations of our online historical research tools, tips from former NHD judges, as well as advice from history and reference experts from across the system.
This year’s theme is “Revolution, Reaction and Reform” (and requires relevant research)- we can help!
If your students cannot attend Tuesday night’s event, consider booking the A+ Curriculum Enhancement: History Day Project Preparation Class, or contact your A+ Liaison for more information.
For teachers, students, and families: You think fairy tales are boring? Not after the APL Drama Club gets their hands on them. Join the fun at East Columbia Branch on Saturday, October 22, at 3 pm. The APL players present their mash-up of classic tales, such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Little Pigs, Star Wars. Star Wars? Sure, why not – nothing is quite what it seems.
Irva Gabin – East Columbia Branch
Howard County Library System subscribes to a number of e-book collections that contain great information for secondary students. You can access these collections using a Howard County Library System card. The full text of the included books can be read on the screen, and can often be printed or e-mailed to an address you select. In addition, citation tools built in to these collections provide accurate citation information in your preferred format.
We subscribe to multiple research e-book collections to provide your students with access to the widest range of available resources. Take a look at these collections by visiting our electronic resources page and scrolling down to the list of research e-books. Here are some highlights:
- ABC-Clio: This e-book collection contains the full text of titles in science, history, and social science, as well as a small collection of guides to understanding particular titles in literature. If you’re looking for information about social issues, historical events, or scientific discoveries, look in this collection.
- Ebsco e-books contains a wide range of non-fiction titles in multiple subject areas, including 164 works of literary criticism, many of which are Cliffs Notes.
- Gale Virtual Reference also contains a wide range of non-fiction titles, with a particular concentration in science, medicine, and literary criticism. Your students could look in this collection for a book about an author they are researching. Look here for multi-volume encyclopedias in history, social science, science, and medicine.
- InfoBase e-books presents a smaller collection, containing 116 works of literary criticism in the “Blooms Notes” series about particular authors and titles, as well as 22 titles in the “Careers in Focus” series. Also search here for titles in U.S. history, science, and the arts.
- The Oxford Digital Reference Shelf provides access to the electronic editions of 21 multi-volume reference works from Oxford University Press. Look here for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, for example, or the Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895 and 1896-Present.
A wealth of information is contained in this collection of e-books. As you make your students aware of available resources, show them these collections, or invite a research specialist from Howard County Library System to present these resources to your class.
John Jewitt – Administration Office
Do you currently place holds on materials for you and your students through hclibrary.org?
You may have noticed a new feature of placing your requests online with an advance activation date. For educators who know the wisdom of planning, this new feature is life-changing. Some examples of how to use this Polaris Power-Tip include:
- You are an elementary school teacher and want to plan your read-alouds. You can now find and request your favorite books for the entire year! Requesting a copy of The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything now so you can read it at Halloween is entirely possible. If you want it at the end of October, I recommend requesting it to activate in mid-September if you are using your A+ card, so you have it in plenty of time for a spooky read-aloud. Remember: Your A+ Educator Card checks out items for six weeks, so you have some wiggle room!
- You are a middle or high school teacher who prepares a unit every February on careers, and you want to make sure you have a good variety of print and nonfiction video resources for your students. You can locate items at any time with a subject search, request them, then set your activation date for mid-January. If for some reason, your schedule changes (snow days?), you can always use your account to adjust the activation dates. The only caveat is that once the items have been shipped, the activation date is no longer adjustable. You can always request them again.
- If you have trouble finding time to read for personal education or enjoyment during the school year. Maybe you’ve been wanting to read The Help, but you know you probably won’t have time until winter break. You can set the activation for early-December. Even though in August almost 300 people are on hold for it, you will continue to move up the queue until you reach the top spot, where you stay until you activate the request. You will easily have your book in time for vacation.
I hope this feature helps you as much as it helped me! I use this feature extensively for planning my book clubs, personal reading, and for upcoming HCLS classes. Stay tuned for another great Polaris Power-Tip for Teachers soon. In the meantime check out some other exciting features of the new HCLS catalog!
Howard County Library System, Elkridge Branch
Financial education is crucial for all age groups. During Financial Literacy Month, encourage your students to attend these money-minded classes.
In Who Wants to be a Millionaire, teens explore the myths and realities about becoming a millionaire, then learn strategies for setting and achieving financial goals. Register to attend the Thursday, April 7 class at Howard County Library Savage Branch or the Monday, April 11 class at Howard County Library Central Branch. Both sessions begin at 7:00 pm.
Teens can choose to Take the Spending Challenge. This interactive game leads students through 16 weeks of purchases and payments in a single hour. Students begin with a regular “paycheck” and a fictional credit card, then make choices about how much to save, how much to spend, and whether to pay by cash or credit. Register to attend the Wednesday, April 6 class at Howard County Library East Columbia Branch or the Thursday, April 14 class at Howard County Library Elkridge Branch. Both sessions begin at 7:00 pm. (To request a session of Take the Spending Challenge in your very own classroom, complete the online Curriculum Enhancements request.)
Those teens who are dreaming of the day they’ll be driving, will be interested in Your First Set of Wheels. Students will learn about hidden costs like maintenance and insurance, then create a savings plan. Register to attend the Tuesday, April 5 class at Howard County Library Glenwood Branch or the Wednesday, April 13 class at Howard County Library Miller Branch. Both sessions begin at 7:00 pm.
Katie George – Administration Office
You Wouldn’t Want to Live When… Ancient Rome, Imperial China, Mayan Civilization
Back by popular demand! Travel back through history and discover what life was like in the ancient world. Join historian (and HCL Instructor) Courtney Gardinier, at Howard County Library Miller Branch, as she teaches teens about different ancient civilizations. Crafts, trivia, and goofy hats are all a part of the fun as teens discuss what is was like to be a soldier in Ancient Rome, an emperor in Ancient China, or an Ancient Mayan priest.
Registration required for each class.
Saturdays, 2 – 4 pm
Ancient Rome – March 12
Imperial China – April 9
Mayan Civilization – May 7
Courtney Gardinier – Howard County Library, Miller Branch
Let’s give those thumbs a rest, shall we? Texting may be the “in” way to communicate, but students can develop excellent composition skills writing old-fashioned letters.
Remember when you actually sat down and wrote a letter (in thanks or just to correspond) to dear Aunt Freda, when you had never heard of texting, or even the ever-popular LOL? We want to bring a creative outlet to your students that doesn’t involve electronics – just plain paper and pen. Here’s the twist: rather than regular notebook paper, your students will create their own stationery for a one-of-a-kind writing experience.
Amy Stephens – Howard County Library, Glenwood Branch
So what, exactly, is an Assignment Alert?
Is it broadcast on the police band radio? (nope)
Is it a submarine command? (A-OOGAH! A-OOGAH!) (that’s just silly)
It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with homework, could it? well …
YES! It has everything to do with homework! And our ability to ensure your students have everything they need to complete it successfully!
When you assign a research project, book report, or any work that you suspect may land your students in the Library, you’re invited to visit our web site and complete an Assignment Alert. This online form is sent directly to the Research Specialist assigned to your school.
In response, we may put related materials on display, call in additional resources from other branches, or prepare to offer instruction in the use of our electronic resources. We may contact you to confirm the assignment details or offer to visit your class to provide additional research instruction to your students.We may even be able to assist that one student who arrives at the Library remembering he had to research an African nation…but not which one or the questions he was supposed to answer.
Every little bit helps – we love to help! Visit hclibrary.org –> Students and Teachers –> Teachers to assist us, so we can assist your students.
Katie George – Administration Offices
This Week’s Hi-Lights: Research E-Books
Do you have students who love Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson Series? How about students who are avid readers of Greek and Egyptian mythology? If the answer is yes, then please encourage your students to sign up for the You Wouldn’t Want To Live When…classes at Miller Branch.
Join historian (and HCL Instructor) Courtney Gardinier as she teaches teens about a different ancient civilization. Crafts, trivia, and funny hats are all a part of the fun as teens discuss what is was like to be a slave in Ancient Egypt or a Viking Warrior in Medieval Scandinavia. Registration required for each class.
Ancient Egypt – Saturday October 9, 2-4 pm
The Viking World – Saturday November 6, 2-4 pm
Courtney Gardinier – Miller Branch
Teacher Notes From Howard County Library - Social Studies Category