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
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
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
Howard County Library is pleased to highlight the ESL (English as a Second Language) Collection. Developed to provide educational resources for the needs of our foreign-born residents, the collection includes books and materials in audio and video format, so that students of ESL will have a variety of ways to reinforce their English learning experience. The primary customers are foreign born students who are learning the English language, however, this collection is also intended for Project Literacy students to acquire proficient English skills for work and citizenship.
Materials are labeled with yellow ESL stickers. All materials in this collection can be searched by using the term “esl collection” through the Howard County Library online catalog www.hclibrary.org. This collection is generally shelved in the adult Non-fiction area, but the location may vary at some branches.
Mai-Leng Ong – Howard County Library Administration
One of the most valuable resources we have to offer students is Live Homework Help.
Sometimes when students are away from your classroom and fervently completing their homework assignments, they encounter obstacles. When this happens, students should know that they can use their Howard County Library card to access a live tutor seven days a week from 2:00 pm to 1:00 am! Tutors are available to help students in fourth through twelfth grades with math, science, social studies, and English.
Just who are these tutors? They are certified teachers, college professors, professional tutors, graduate school students, and undergraduates from top universities. Their job is to work one-on-one with students via the internet. Tutors are trained to teach the material, not simply spoon-feed answers, so you can be sure that your students are learning and practicing the material from your classroom, not just taking the easy way out!
Tutors use robust electronic tools, like interactive whiteboards for geometry diagrams. With a bit of advanced notice, they’ll review student essays and reports.
Follow this link to learn more or, better yet, log on and try it out for yourself!
Amy Stephens – Howard County Library Glenwood Branch
A Howard County Library card is a powerful tool!
Use it to
- check out books, movies, music, and more
- download and e-book from home
- search for a magazine article in the middle of the night
- access Live Homework Help
- and more….
Apply for a special A+ Teacher Card and get even more benefits like extended borrowing periods!
Stop in anytime or apply online.
Did you know that Howard County Library staff will visit your classroom with resources designed to enhance the curriculum and supplement your lesson plans?
Read all about our classes and find your school’s Library liaison in our Elementary School Curriculum Enhancement Guide and our Middle and High School Curriculum Enhancement Guide, then make contact with your library liaison to arrange a visit or get more information!
It’s time for high school semester exams!
If your students need additional assistance “cramming” for exams, recommend Live Homework Help. Live tutors are available…for free…seven days a week from 2:00 pm to midnight. Tutors can provide individual instruction in math, science, English, and social studies. All students need is a Library card and access to the internet.
Here’s what students are saying about this service:
“I am so thankful that this service is offered. It is there to give me individualized
help when no one else can. I will definitely be back again.”
“They answered my questions really fast and asked me questions until I understood everything exactly…
I really liked that!”
“This is really great! I have been working on things with my teachers, and this just helps even more!
All of my friends use it too! Thanks!”
Good luck on exams!
Where do your students find the information they need to complete your assignments?
National studies have shown that although our students have access to an unprecedented amount of information, they still need to learn how to find the right information for the task at hand.
This year, when you assign a long-term research project, invite Howard County Library staff to your classroom. We can introduce your students to the Big 6, and teach them where to find information tailored to your assignment.
Contact your school’s Library liaison to schedule a visit.
Teacher Notes From Howard County Library - ESL Category