Howard County Library
Teacher Notes From Howard County Library - Archive for October, 2009
  • Career Explorations

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    Are your students researching careers? Let us help with a workshop that introduces them to Howard County Library’s career resources.

    We’ll get them familiar with useful databases like Career Onestop and the Occupational Outlook Handbook, where they will learn about the necessary skills, knowledge, and training needed to prepare for their career of choice. They can also research the salary expectations and employment outlook, and see how these projections vary by region.

    For students who need help preparing for college or a career, we’ll show them valuable resources like the Learning Express Library and the Testing and Education Reference Center, where they can take practice tests for the SAT’s, ACT’s, and other vocational exams. We can also guide them through a feature that allows them to search for colleges based on factors such as tuition, selectivity,  and type of degree programs offered.

    Contact your Library liason to schedule a workshop for your class.

    Rachel Reznick – Howard County Library East Columbia Branch

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  • Sherlock Holmes Essay Contest

    silhouette of sherlock holmes

    Howard County Library, in partnership with Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City and Howard County Public Schools, announces the sixth annual Sherlock Holmes Essay Contest for all Howard County public, private, and home schooled 7th grade students.

    Students are asked to read the Sherlock Holmes short story, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and write a five paragraph analytical essay according to the rules and guidelines of the contest. Students may download a booklet that includes the story, pre-reading activities, a glossary of British terms, specific essay questions, the rubric which will be used in judging the essays and a contest entry form.

    Teachers who choose to have their classes participate will forward to Watson’s Tin Box the top two essays from each of his/her classes. Home schooled students may send their essay to the Watson’s Tin Box address listed in the booklet.

    Essays must be received by Watson’s Tin Box by June 1, 2010. Prizes will be awarded for the best three essays. Winners will be announced at an awards presentation in June 2010 at Howard County Library.

    Special thanks to contest sponsor and creator, Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City.

    Please note that Howard County Library’s instructors can visit your class to discuss Holmes, Conan Doyle, the specifics of the contest, and some avenues for additional research. Contact your library liaison to schedule a class.

    John Jewitt – Howard County Library Savage Branch

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  • Researching with the Big 6

    image of the number 6

    Are your students starting a unit of research using the Big 6 model of information literacy? Howard County Library’s instructors can help. Call your Library liaison to schedule our Researching with the Big 6 class. We’ll walk your students through all six steps of the model, focusing in detail on the first three critical steps: Task Definition, Information Seeking Strategies, and Location & Access. By introducing the model step-by-step and exploring the purpose of each step, library staff will encourage your students to think about the research process systematically, and highlight the benefits of the Big 6 as a support to the development of information literacy.

    We will also highlight collection resources that your students may find helpful as they begin their research, and point them toward the information that they will need to gather in order to complete the assignment successfully. If your class or grade has already selected a subject area to investigate, we can tailor this presentation to demonstrate resources that are directly relevant to the students’ area of interest.

    Editors Note: The “Big6™” is copyright © (1987) Michael B. Eisenberg and Robert E. Berkowitz. For more information, visit:

    John Jewitt – Howard County Library Savage Branch

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  • Pro vs. Con – The SIRS Researcher

    "Opposing viewpoints" assignments are pretty common, but Howard County Library does not have Gale’s "Opposing Viewpoints" database. Why not?  We don’t need it. If students are expected to do Pro/Con assignments at the Library, point them in the direction of the SIRS Researcher database.  

    At one level, SIRS Researcher is simply a straightforward periodical database. As such, by providing full text articles from 1,800 national and regional publications, it is quite useful  Still, the Library has  other products that do pretty much the same thing. What makes SIRS Researcher unique among our online holdings is that it provides assistance to students for opposing viewpoints assignments.  

    A "Leading Issues" box on the database front page lists over 300 topical Pro vs. Con categories, and clicking on any one of them will bring a student directly to a results page that both lays out the essential questions at issue and provides a student with a long list of full text pro and con articles for them to use in their analysis.
    The SIRS Researcher is not one of the better known Library databases but it is well worth gaining a closer acquaintance.

    Joe McHugh – Howard County Library Administration


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  • The ESL [English as A Second Language] Collection

    image of books on a shelf

    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 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

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  • Science Fair Starters

    test tube pouring into a beaker It’s autumn again, and that can only mean one thing…it’s time to choose a science fair project! We want to help your students turn this daunting task into a major success, so invite us into your classroom to present “Science Fair Starters.” In 30 minutes we’ll show your students how to use Howard County Library resources to discover research topics, experiments, and information that will make this year’s science fair project their best one yet! Contact your Library liaison to schedule “Science Fair Starters” for your classroom, or read more about it in our Middle and High School Curriculum Enhancement Guide.


    Amy Stephens – Howard County Library Glenwood Branch



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  • 2009-10 Contact Information – Middle and High Schools

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    Did you know that Howard County Library staff will visit your classroom to present classes designed to enhance curriculum and supplement your lesson plans?

    Read all about this service in our Middle and High School Curriculum Enhancement Guide, then contact your Library liaison to obtain more information! Middle and High School teachers please contact:

    Central Library: Maggie Smith, 410.313.7870,

    Clarksville Middle School
    Lime Kiln Middle School
    Harper’s Choice Middle School
    Wilde Lake Middle School

    Atholton High School
    River Hill High School
    Wilde Lake High School


    East Columbia Branch: Rachel Reznick, 410.313.7711,

    Cradlerock School
    Oakland Mills Middle School

    Oakland Mills High School

    Applications and Research Lab
    Homewood Center


    Elkridge Branch: Sarah Russo, 410.313.5087,

    Bonnie Branch Middle School
    Elkridge Landing Middle School
    Mayfield Woods Middle School

    Howard High School
    Long Reach High School


    Glenwood Branch: Amy Stephens, 410.313.5583,

    Folly Quarter Middle School
    Glenwood Middle School
    Mount View Middle School

    Glenelg High School
    Marriotts Ridge High School


    Miller Branch: Courtney Gardinier, 410.313.1964,

    Burleigh Manor Middle School
    Dunloggin Middle School
    Ellicott Mills Middle School
    Patapsco Middle School

    Centennial High School
    Mt. Hebron High School


    Savage Branch: John Jewitt, 410.880.5983,

    Hammond Middle School
    Murray Hill Middle School
    Patuxent Valley Middle School

    Hammond High School
    Reservoir High School

    John Jewitt – Howard County Library Savage Branch

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  • Guided Reading Level Collection for Early Elementary Students

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    An exciting new collection has been added to Children’s materials, with the goal of supporting the Howard County Public School System’s Guided Reading Level approach. HCPSS uses the leveling system created by Irene Fountas and Gay Sue Pinnell for guided reading lessons and assessments. The primary customers for this collection are children from pre-K through third grade and their parents. We have included Levels A though P in our initial purchase. The majority of the more than 200 titles are non-fiction.

    In addition to this new collection, Howard County Library has an Easy Reader collection of fiction that is very well used by our customers. We also have the BOB Books and Story Box books; excellent resources for parents whose children are just embarking on their journey to the joy of reading. The addition of this new collection adds materials that allow our youngest readers to Read to Learn as they Learn to Read.

    Each branch has a separate collection in the Children’s Area. The collection is identical in all branches, only the number of copies differ. The titles are organized according to text level and available at all branches. The call numbers on the spine read GRL (Guided Reading Level) with the level of title below. The opening collection is all hardcover.

    These titles can be accessed from the Library’s web site by clicking on “advanced search” and typing GRL and the desired level (letters A -P) in the call number box on the left, under the “Search the catalog by” prompt.

    We hope that you find this collection useful, and look forward to your feedback.

    Shirley ONeill – Administration, Howard County Library

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  • National History Day

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    Are your students working on projects for National History Day? Information Specialists at Howard County Library can help. As part of our A+ Partnership, Howard County Library offers a class that focuses on our history resources, connecting your students with both primary and secondary materials, and encouraging them to think critically about the information they discover. This year, our class is tailored to match the 2010 National History Day theme of Innovation in History.

    With a particular focus on electronic resources including American Periodicals, the Historical New York Times, History Resource Center, and the Gale Virtual Reference Library, the class equips your students to formulate appropriate historical questions, and to critically evaluate both primary and secondary source materials. Instructors also focus on information literacy, encouraging students to consider the authority of their sources and to identify the author or source of a historical document or narrative.

    Contact the Teen Specialist at your local Howard County Library branch to schedule a class.

    John Jewitt – Howard County Library Savage Branch

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