Thursday, March 28, 2013

Check Out a Nook! Reading for Students in the Digital Age

The following is the Permission Form for Nook Check-Out

Irondale Middle School Library Media Center

Nook Color Permissions and Acceptable Use Form

The Barnes and Noble Nook Color is a convenient, portable reading device. It is the size of a paperback and capable of holding hundreds of books. The chance to use this device is a privilege that we are able to extend to students provided the students use extra caution and responsibility. Each Nook Color is valued at $199.00. For this reason we require a parental signature before a Nook Color can be checked out to a student.

Parent Responsibilities and Permission
I am authorizing the assignment of a Nook Color to my child. I understand that it is to be used as a tool for reading and learning and that my child will comply with the IMS Acceptable Use Policy. I will help ensure the safe and timely return of the Nook Color within the loan period of one week; I also understand that I am financially responsible for any willful, malicious, or accidental damage to the Nook Color as well as any charges resulting from content downloaded to the Nook Color. I understand that my child may lose future loan privileges of the device if the Nook Color is either damaged or not returned in a timely manner.

GUARDIAN NAME (printed): __________________________________________________
GUARDIAN SIGNATURE: _______________________________________DATE: _______
GUARDIAN EMAIL: __________________________________________________________
GUARDIAN PHONE #:________________________ALTERNATE #__________________
Student Responsibilities and Permission
I agree to take care of the Irondale Middle School Library Media Center Nook Color while it is in my possession. I will not throw, drop, or damage the Nook Color in any way. I will carry the Nook Color with caution, whether in my book bag or hands. I will NOT give the Nook Color to another student for his/her use. I will use the Nook Color in the appropriate manner. I will NOT download any content to the Nook Color. I agree to return the Nook Color in good condition at the conclusion of the one week loan period.
STUDENT NAME (printed): ____________________________________________________
STUDENT SIGNATURE:______________________________________DATE: ___________
Library Media Center Staff Only
Date Permission Slip Received: __________________________________________________

Library Media Center Staff Signature: ____________________________________________

This form adapted with permission from an original creation by school librarian Kathy Parker at

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Student Wins Scholastic Writing Award!

Congratulations to Debra McGrew for winning an Honorable Mention for her poetry in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2013.

We are very proud of you!

Scholastic is a great company that not only promotes reading, but just about everything that students can get involved in! Math, science, the arts, history, and scholarships are all areas that students can benefit from with Scholastic.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Great Website for Writing!

Purdue Online Writing Lab is a frequently used spot for students to find out information on MLA (Modern Language Association) format. I have been using it for close to 20 years!

Here is an example of the information that can be found on the site:

What are the differences among quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing?

These three ways of incorporating other writers' work into your own writing differ according to the closeness of your writing to the source writing.
Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.
Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.
Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material.

Check it out!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Can*Teen Career Exploration - Interactive Game

Students are having a great time in the library before school and any chance they get exploring the questions on Can*Teen.

This CD was made available from The American Association of School Librarians and its purpose is to show teenage girls various careers available to them in science and engineering.

Its cool pictures and reactions to kids' answers keeps students coming back to try and answer the questions.

After this week when lots of students have had exposure to the CD and know that it's available, it will be ready for overnight check-out!
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What A Common Core Language Arts Lesson Might Look Like in Middle School

It seems all education talk has turned to Common Core Standards and Career Readiness. Students and parents may be wondering what a lesson using the Common Core might look like. So, here is a lesson on outside reading in one nine-week period. Teachers around the country are trying to make sure that students are ready for high school and/or college whatever the case may be and that is the reason for Common Core Standards.

First, the teacher assigns a novel to read and students are given an assignment sheet that the class may or may not have collaborated on beforehand with a rubric (to get ideas from students and share in the formulation of a lesson). Let's say the novel is The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. The Puffin edition has about 176 pages, so it would be reasonable to ask students to read this novel outside of class over nine weeks.

The teacher might suggest reading a certain number of pages per night or dividing the reading into chunks over the weekend.

The assignment might then ask students to make time to research something factual in this work of historical fiction. Students could research the Holocaust and Judaism.

The teacher could then ask her/his students to create a small project like some of the following:

  • Create a dialogue of texting back-and-forth between two characters in the novel. This option could be a lot fun because the novel goes back and forth in time by beginning at a Seder dinner on a Friday night. The end result would be to put the texting session on a poster with some drawings and facts from the research. The texting should be thoughtful and the student should pull out important passages to talk about - not just anything, but something that tells the reader about a meaningful part of the history of the Holocaust or Judaism
  • Create a Facebook page with some of the characters with pictures (cut from magazines or drawn) and create a timeline of the Holocaust and/or Judaism. The end result would need to be placed on a poster or if possible on a computer.
  • Create an Instagram photoset using pictures from online sets and write a blog about the novel. Include historical facts in the blog about the Holocaust and/or Judaism.
  • All of these ideas may or may not include some technology. It depends on how much technology the students have access to - e-readers, laptops, phones, desktops, i-Pads and other devices are wonderful devices to complete projects on
Parts of what is behind Common Core is students exploring and finding out information on their own. This small project involves online research, but students get to pick and choose what goes into their project. It also uses the creative side of the brain.

One of the biggest hopes of educators is that their students become lifelong learners and will go on to study and research for the rest of their lives.

So, here is just a glance of a lesson. It incorporates a lot more brainstorming on the parts of the teacher and students. Also, there are other behind-the-scenes questions and/or directions that take place in the classroom, but this might give you an idea of what you might expect.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thank you for Donations from Public Libraries!

Public libraries sometimes donate their books and books on CDs to communities and schools that can use them.

This is a public shout out to Emmet O' Neal library for sharing books and CDs with us! These items are a real perk for our collection at IMS. Take a look below!

Thank you for sharing some great materials with us like The Fast and the Furriest  by Andy Behrens, Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar, and Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm.

If you need help selecting a book, please let us know!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Celebrate World Read Aloud Day!

Today is World Read Aloud Day and we are celebrating by reading from the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Students from Bragg Middle School and Mountain Brook Junior High are sharing the day with us and their English classes through Skyping.

Volunteer students at both schools read for about five minutes. We are reading a chapter called The Cheese Touch which is taken directly from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Wonder is great because it touches on a lot of subjects, books, and issues that middle school students have to deal with. Bullying, cooties (the cheese touch), homework, books to be read, going to a camp and many other motifs appear in this book.

Most of all we are celebrating that we can read and write and have that ability whereas students in some other countries cannot. We shared examples, such as girls in some Middle Eastern countries not being given the opportunity to learn.

You can participate as a family as well simply by reading aloud from your favorite book!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Middle School Research Season

Research paper season is here! Here are some good sites to suggest to your child to use when researching online:

The Alabama Virtual Library features many databases that are great for middle school research - Kids InfoBits, Encyclopedia Brittanica Online in English and Spanish, and many others

Intellectual Property Teaches students about intellectual property, defines plagiarism

World Intellectual Property Organization More on thoughts and ideas as intellectual property

Copyright Comic Book A comic book story about copyright - great for middle school! Copyright protection definition

More links coming soon!