Howard County Library
Teacher Notes From Howard County Library - Services Category
  • Your Best College Application Essay

    image of 4 green apples and 1 red apple with a hand reaching for the red appleThe college application essay doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. Students can learn tips and tricks Monday, September 17 at 7 pm as Howard County Library System’s Central Branch hosts Jill Kasprzak, director of college counseling at a private high school and former assistant director of admissions at Loyola University Maryland. The discussion focuses on the art of writing a good college application essay. The class provides helpful information about what college admissions officers are seeking, what makes an essay successful, how to brainstorm, and how to complete the essays without stressing out.

    Please encourage interested students to register for this class.

     

     

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  • Career & Technology Education Expo Sessions

    career and technology education logoThis is an exciting opportunity to share with your students.

    Students and their parents are invited to learn more about the Howard County Public School System’s Career Academies, which prepare high school students for college and 21st century careers at two upcoming showcase sessions. Current academy students demonstrate their skills and provide information about their courses of study.

    • Tue., Jan. 17, 7-8 p.m., Miller Branch, Howard County Library System, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. (410) 313-1950
    • Thur., Jan. 26, 7-8 p.m., East Columbia Branch, Howard County Library System, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. (410) 313-7700

    For more information, contact the Howard County Public Schools System Office of Career and Technology Education at 410-313-6629.

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  • Chill Out With a Book: Teen Winter Reading

    teen winter reading logo

    From December 1st 2011 to February 29th 2012 we’re offering Middle and High School students the chance to chill out with a book as part of Teen Winter Reading. Howard County Library System’s Teen Instructors have selected 46 titles for the 2011-12 Winter Reading List and prepared a three-question quiz about each selected title. The list includes materials for ages 11-17 from collections throughout the library, so there’s something available for everyone.

    Between December 1st, 2011 and February 29, 2012, teen readers are invited to select and read (or listen to) a book from the list, and answer the three-question quiz about that book. Teen readers who read three books and answer three quizzes will be entered into a prize draw to win a book bundle. Prizes will be drawn in March, after Teen Winter Reading concludes. Your students  can read as many books off the list as they want to, and enter the draw each time they read three new books and complete three new quizzes.

    There are printed copies of the book list in your closest branch. You can also view the list and questions at hclibrary.org/winterreading/. Please share this information with your students and encourage them to take part!

     

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  • Rube Goldberg Challenge

    cartoon image of bird sitting on perch about to pop balloonHow hard can it be to pop a balloon? Exactly as difficult and silly as a team of fourth and fifth grade students can contrive to make it!

    Howard County Library System invites teams of students, led by a teacher advisor, to participate in this year’s Rube Goldberg Challenge. The students transform everyday materials into a wacky, innovative machine that accomplishes the given task. However, instead of just “solving” the problem, students are charged with making the solution as complicated and convoluted as possible. By designing and building the machine, students incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts into their creations. Simple machine classes will be taught at HCLS branches during the school year. (Wheels and Axles & Pulleys are offered in November.)

    To accomplish the challenge of popping a balloon, students will:

    • Incorporate the use of a minimum of three different simple machines with the option of using all simple machines.
    • Record a video of their invention while it performs the task of popping a balloon.
    • Document how they used science, technology, engineering, and math in developing their machine.
    • Submit the video and documents to be judged.

    Details are available here; deadline for registration is November 11.

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  • Maximize Your National History Day Research

    national history day logoAre 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.

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  • E-Books for Secondary Students

    cartoon image of student sitting at computerHoward 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

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  • E-Books for Elementary Students

    Howard County Library System recently added four e-book collections for elementary students. One of these collections is TrueFlix from Scholastic, which combines introductory videos with online copies of age-appropriate nonfiction titles. There are ten sets of titles in the TrueFlix collection, divided into two main subject areas – People, Places & History and Science & Nature:

    screen shot of the true flix web page

    Within each subject area you’ll find a series of thematically-related titles, each of which includes an introductory video and an electronic copy of the book. With TrueFlix, your students can watch a brief video to introduce key concepts, then read the book!

    The TrueFlix e-book interface displays a selected title in a pop-up window. This new window displays a copy of the book, with animations that make the pages appear to turn. Text is easy to read, and the images are laid out on the page just as they are in a print copy of the title. Choose to have the title read aloud by selecting “read-along” mode. The narrator will wait until you turn the page, so that readers can discuss content or focus on a particular image in the book.

    screen shot of one of the true flix e books

    To see all of the content included in this electronic resource, you can view a demo video on the Scholastic website. As you’ll see, this is a powerful educational tool. In addition to the books themselves, Trueflix includes lesson plans and quizzes for each book in the collection, project ideas, quizzes, Grolier Online articles, and games with related vocabulary. Encourage your students to check out Trueflix!

    Check in next week for a review of our research e-book collections for secondary students.

    John Jewitt – Howard County Library System Administration Office

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  • Polaris Power-Tip for Teachers: Set It and Forget It!

    image of card catalog drawerDo 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!

    Sarah Russo
    Howard County Library System, Elkridge Branch

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  • Welcome Back!

    howard county library system logoWelcome back to Teacher Notes for the 2011-12 school year. We’re looking forward to connecting your students with great information this year, and sharing details of our resources and activities with you.

    So where to begin? Here are five things you might do to start the new school year:

    1. Download our 2011-12 Curriculum Enhancement Guide (PDF) for details of the many classes we can teach. Would you like to start a book club? Are your students beginning a research project? We can support History Day, Science Fair, Big 6 and Careers, amongst many others. Look on page 4 of the guide (elementary) or page 9 (secondary) to find the name and contact information for your A+ liaison, or use our directory. Each school in the county is partnered with one of our six library branches, and staff from that branch will serve as your first point of contact as you schedule a class.
    2. Complete the online application for an educator library card if you do not already have one. With this new card, educators may borrow up to 30 items each visit, keep materials as long as six weeks (42 days), borrow all library materials (except non-instructional videocassettes and DVDs), and renew materials once. A+ Educator library cards are not exempt from fines, but materials returned within 10 days of the due date will be fine free.
    3. Bookmark our elementary or secondary assignment alert form, so that we can assemble a collection of resources at your chosen branch for a particular assignment. Give us the information about your assignment ahead of time, and we will assemble a collection of age-appropriate resources for your students at the branch (or branches) of your choice.
    4. Ask us about our Specialized Online Research Tools, and about Online Homework Assistance from Brainfuse.
    5. Invite a research specialist and instructor to Back-to-School night to share these resources with parents and with your colleagues.

    We look forward to working closely with you this year to bring these and other resources to your students. Subscribe to the RSS feed of Teacher Notes using your favorite feed reader to have this information delivered to you.

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  • Calling all Volunteers

    teen talking to kidsDo your students need volunteer opportunities this summer?  Maybe they need hours for a service organization or just a little something extra for their resumes.  Maybe they want to make a difference in their community.  If so, encourage them to become a Summer Reading Volunteer at Howard County Library!

    Our Summer Reading Volunteers register children for One World, Many Stories, distribute prizes to those young summer readers, and assist Library Instructors with various tasks throughout the summer. Summer Reading Volunteers spend their summer in air conditioning, surrounded by books and readers. What could be better?

    Summer Reading Volunteers need to be at least 13 years old and enjoy working with children. Interested students should complete a volunteer application.  Accepted applicants will be contacted to schedule orientation and training.

    We wouldn’t be able to make it through the summer without our amazing Summer Reading Volunteers!

    Katie George – Administration Office

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