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
Welcome 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ask us about our Specialized Online Research Tools, and about Online Homework Assistance from Brainfuse.
- 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.
Mrs. McManus, an English teacher at Centennial HS, has just submitted an Assignment Alert to the Howard County Library using the Secondary Schools Assignment Alert Form. Submitting an Assignment Alert form allows Howard County Library to gather materials and prepare for your student’s questions.
What was Mrs. McManus’ Assignment Alert? Her students are to research a real-life tragic hero. A real-life tragic hero is defined as anyone from history, or living today, in any occupation, who achieved significant success, only to ruin what he/she achieved because of a serious character flaw or lapse in judgment. Some examples of a tragic hero are: Anne Boleyn, Richard Nixon, Kurt Cobain and Bernie Madoff.
Can you think of other real-life tragic heroes?
Imagine this (it won’t be too hard):
You assign a long term research project. You also give your students the usual spiel about reliable sources, and set them loose with warnings against wikipedia and other easy online answers ringing in their ears. (Don’t forget about Assignment Alerts!)
It can make you wonder where your students are actually finding their sources. Want to be sure they have access to authoritative information, while still staying up to date technology-wise? Howard County Library can point you and your students in the right direction.
Check out the e-book resource, ABC-CLIO, in our database collection. With thousands of titles, this collection can be a virtual resource for your students that you can trust. From daily life of the ancient Greeks, to term paper research guides, this database is a wealth of information for your high school student.
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
Have you met Greg Heffley? He’s America’s favorite Wimpy Kid, and he is visiting schools across the county.
He stopped by Mayfield Woods Middle School recently to celebrate the great partnership we have with our schools and teachers! During Greg’s visit with Mr. Grafton and Ms. Melvin, their HCL Liaison met incoming sixth-graders during their Media Center Orientation. Mr. Grafton also coordinates a lunch-time book club through his partner branch.
Would you like Greg to visit your school? Drop a note to your HCL liason, or put it in the notes section of your A+ Assignment Alert. Greg would love to visit your school next!
Are your students embarking on a research project? Do they need to find a book for self-directed reading, or a biography with a certain number of pages? Did you know that we can gather appropriate resources together specifically for your class or grade? Use the Elementary or Secondary Assignment Alert form on Howard County Library’s website to tell us about the resources that your students need, and we’ll make arrangements to have them ready for you at the branches your students use.
John Jewitt – Howard County Library Savage Branch
Welcome Howard County educators! As it says on our web site, “Howard County Library is pleased to provide teachers with a myriad of resources as they plan their lessons and assignments.”
Many Howard County Public School System faculty have asked for a convenient way to receive updates on these resources. This blog is one way to meet that need. It will be updated regularly with information you can share with your colleagues and students. Visit us regularly or subscribe to the RSS feed and have the information delivered to you!
Amy Stephens – Howard County Library Glenwood Branch
Tenth graders at Hammond High School are researching Russian Revolution figures who are the allegorical equivalents of characters from the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell. Wow!
To gather information on Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm, students may want to search in Literature Resource Center. LRC contains reviews and criticism of literary works, biographies of the authors, and primary source material related to the works. Many of the items in LRC have been previously published in reference books and periodicals. Some items are original to LRC. All items have been reviewed for accuracy.
For background information on the Russian Revolution, students might turn to the History Reference Center for articles and primary sources. For figures from the Russian Revolution, students can use Biography Resource Center to find biographical essays, pictures, and other information. Just as with Literature Resource Center, History Reference Center and Biography Resource Center contain items that have all been reviewed for accuracy.
All three databases can be accessed via our web site. All you’ll need is your library card!
Folly Quarter Middle School GT students need to choose an above grade level detective novel to read for an individual project. Agatha Christie and Sir Aruthur Conan Doyle were two suggestions made by their teacher.
This is a tricky assignment. While there are many detective stories that contain challenging, above grade level reading, many of these stories also contain sophisticated content. How can students make the best choice?
Talking to a Library staff member is a great place to start! We love to make reading suggestions…like the Eyre Affair. You can see more of our suggestions at Highly Recommended.
More independent readers might want to try Novelist. Novelist contains reviews and summaries of thousands and thousands of books. You can search by author, title, or subject. If you find an author you like, Novelist will even choose authors that write similar books. For example, Novelist suggests M.C. Beaton as an author similar to Agatha Christie.
And now’s a great time for a reminder about the Sherlock Holmes Essay Contest. Read the classic Holmes short story, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, then write an essay related to the story. Full contest details, including essay suggestions and prizes, are available on our web site.
Teacher Notes From Howard County Library - Assignment Alerts Category