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.
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
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
National History Day?
Would you like make it all just a little easier? Learn about cutting edge techniques on how to make research simple as Bob Burke from the State Library Resource Center demonstrates how to Improve Your Research Skills. This internet and technology class is for everyone – parents, teachers, and students!
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
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
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: www.big6.com
John Jewitt – Howard County Library Savage Branch
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