Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

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primarysourcesets

The Digital Public Library of America is a relatively new aggregated collection of digital resources in varied formats from more than 1,600 contributing institutions, including libraries, archives, museums, and entities such as public radio stations.  DPLA released 30 primary source sets for educators last fall; additional sets were recently released.

The sets are designed by educators and an education advisory panel to help teach content, facilitate inquiry, and support research in overlapping curriculum topics related to American history, literature, and culture.

The set landing page has a clean, uncluttered look. An easily identifiable pictorial icon for each set invites a quick browse through the available titles.  Each set includes 15–20 resources represented by an icon, a teaching guide, and additional resources for research.  Set topics include the Panama Canal, Chinese immigration, the atomic bomb, A Raisin in the SunLittle Women, and  the postwar rise of the suburbs.

All Primary Source Sets have the same layout and features. As an example The Impact of Television on News Media  includes photos, text, and video and audio recordings. A brief black-and-white video clip of President John F. Kennedy urging the press to use discretion when covering news events intrigued me. In an audio interview, a journalist  explains the increasing power of television network news. Photos depict early television personalities and televisions; a text chapter addresses the impact of television on news. These resources all invite close reading, viewing, and listening while also offering multiple approaches to learning at different levels. The set teaching guide includes discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis suggestions. There are also links to Document Analysis Worksheets from the National Archives and Using Primary Sources materials from the Library of Congress.

Excerpted from  THE NEW MEDIA CENTER: Resources for the New Media Specialist–DPLA’s Primary Source Sets and Ben’s Guide, Refreshed! January/February 2015, Published by Information Today    Full article

Learn more about using Primary Source sets in your classroom

Last September I introduced the recently published Student Discovery Sets from the Library of Congress. These ebooks are collections of primary source sets designed to provide interactive, inquiry learning while introducing students to primary sources on common curricular topics. I was curious about how teachers and media specialists are using these hands-on materials in their classrooms. Tom Bober, a school media specialist in Missouri shared his experiences with elementary students in his blog and for “Making Learning Interactive,” the NEW Media Center column in March/April Internet at Schools.

When Tom Bober was looking for resources to help 5th grade students understand a science topic, he used Understanding the Cosmos, an ebook primary source set from the Library of Congress. The Missouri media specialist realized students didn’t understand different models of the solar system; he thought specific examples depicted in primary sources would help them better grasp selected geocentric models. He downloaded the ebooks to iPads and assigned each student a specific primary source to examine. They marked and annotated the image using built-in tools and recorded handwritten notes on paper copies f of the Library’s Primary Source Analysis Tool. Continue reading  about Bober’s experiences, downloading the ebooks, and other ideas for using these and other resources for elementary students.

Primary sources like these offer engaging learning opportunities for  classrooms. Learn how!

DepressionImages

Thumbnails of selected primary sources in the Dust Bowl Primary Source ebook collection.

children_teeter_totter

Phelps Kindergarten students on teeter-totters, Winona, Minnesota

Of course!  It’s all about finding the right resources, starting small, and creating connections. Photos are an ideal starting place. For example, children can relate to pictures of other children their age and want to talk about what they see. I love this 1920 photo of children on a teeter totter!

The Library of Congress Teachers’ Page has several “ready to use” primary source sets that will help busy teachers looking for ideas. Children’s Lives at the Turn of the Century has photos of children at work and play, “1904 Baby Parade” (movie) and an image of a game depicting cities.

School_Children_Thanksgiving

School Children’s Thanksgiving Games 11/27/11. Library of Congress

Thanksgiving has photos and documents appropriate to the day. Symbols of the United States has posters, sheet music, cartoons, and photos with recognizable symbols of the United States.

Many State Memory Collections have teachers guides that will work in classrooms everywhere.  The Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch and Families Then and Now from Minnesota Reflections are two examples that could be paired with the primary source sets or used alone. Visit your State’s Memory Project!

Kindergarten Historians: Primary Sources in an Early Elementary Classroom from the Teachers Page Blog explains how students were hooked by two old movies.

Picture books or early reader chapter books and primary sources complement each other well. Kate DiCamillo: Stories Connect Us, also a blog post,  includes book titles and related primary sources. There are some ideas for connecting primary sources with picture books  in Primary Sources–Enriching the Study of Historical Fiction (Internet@Schools, Nov. 2014)

A great way to gather an arsenal of ideas is to subscribe to the Teacher’s Page blog.  Weekly updates are full of ideas! Subscribe by RSS or email!

Making Learning Interactive (The New Media Center, Column,  Internet @ Schools, March/April 2015)

 

catalogA delightful display greets visitors arriving at the home of a Minnesota Media Services and
Instructional Technology Program Director. Click the photo to view these reminders of school library media center things past in more detail! How many of these artifacts do you remember?  How many were part of your career? Are some things puzzling?

Enjoy. . . reminisce. . .  think about how much school media centers and technology have changed since 1980.   Change is sometimes hard to see when we are part of it!  Celebrate!

Jane Prestebak, the owner of this collection, would like to know if anyone  has a book that held the cards that one checked magazines in with?  “What’s it called?”  She hopes someone “can part with one of those magazine thingys.”

A picture really is worth a thousand words!

 

CD Rom Encyclopedia

I loved being an early adapter and introducing technology to students when technology first became available for school media centers. We piloted a circulation system on an Apple II, the text only CD-ROM  version of World Book on CD-Rom, and Gopher Internet with its text driven commands.  We explored software, collaborative initiatives and multimedia.  We  tried out a few non-computer innovations such as video disks and created a video production studio with a mix of scavenged old and new technology.  Cutting edge technology was not without it stress and there were a few failures But, through trials, errors, and frustrations we learned what works, what doesn’t work and what’s best for real learning.  We expanded possibilities for students and the media program. We were part of change and it created change.     The Verge post of photos and animated GIFs of old-school technology (including a few audio visual items) are worth a few seconds of reminiscing. Be thankful for wireless, and no longer hooking up zip drives or pry jammed floppy disks out of drives.
Enjoy  Reboot: these stunning still-life photos will take you back to the future

Photo: The CD-ROM still worked after a  dunking in a boys’ bathroom toilet!  Remember making signs with Print Shop?

The May 2012 post Google’s Information Literacy Lesson Plans ranks high on Random Thoughts’ stats list. Is there is quite a bit of interest in these practical tools?  I tried to find out by making a personal contact and by posting requests about usage on LM_Net. I was surprised to hear from only a few people.

Several said they are considering using one or some of the 15 lessons.  A high school librarian explained:  I am in the process of systematizing the research process in our district.  I’m meeting with the Elementary, Middle and High School to get a handle on exactly what is being done at each level.  Ideally I’d like to scaffold the process, building each year.  We will be using NoodleTools as our citation making program and that has a note taking component, but we all know there is so much more than that involved.  I would like to involve all the disciplines, and have found that sometimes teachers in disciplines other than English feel intimidated with the research process.  I believe that if we can document a system it should ease their fears, (we’ll train the Teachers as well as the students) . . .  Lessons are more geared towards Middle School but I was wondering if the advanced level could be used as a refresher at the High School level.

It was great to hear from two librarians who use the lessons with my fifth grade students to teach them how to be better Google searchers.   It’s good to start young! Even primary level students prefer Google to many “age appropriate” resources.

A library director uses Picking the Right Search Terms with 6th grade.  Students “race” to find the correct answers and share their search terms with the class. I have selected 10 searches that utilize various skills, and placed them in a presentation on my Google Drive account, and the presentation is projected on the board. The kids, especially the 6th graders find Google alluring and a little mysterious, so they feel like they’re peeking behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz.  She also uses Narrowing a Search to Get the Best Results with 9th grade history students.  They’ve had plenty of experiences with finding too many or not relevant results and are eager to learn. It’s discussed in terms of making their desired results “rise to the top” among all the muck. We continue to refine search strategies so they are typing keywords, not full sentences or questions, and then we limit the results in various ways. She also uses some lessons with older students, including some now in college, who rated themselves as better searchers than their peers. She plans to expand more to the high school level said by incorporating lessons in future web evaluation lessons.   These are skills that adults use in their daily lives, and we want it to move from explicit lessons to implicit understanding.

Have you discovered  Google Literacy Lesson Plans?  Are you using any of the 15 lessons?  Share your experiences by commenting on this blog.  Thank you!  

Google Literacy Lesson Plans: Way Beyond Just Google It.  Internet@Schools, Sept/Oct 2012
May 2012 post

A special thanks to: Christina Pommer (Florida); Marianne Kerrigan (New Jersey) and Mary Catherine Coleman (Virginia)

Internet@Schools

On My Mind! The NEW MEDIA CENTER, Internet @Schools, Dec/Nov. 2013


I just wanted to thank you for your article in this months Internet @ Schools, “Questions, Musings, and Other Things On My Mind”.  It was fantastic and I couldn’t agree with you more about what you said about library media specialists and our jobs. I have been the LMS at my school for two years now and feel that libraries in schools are vital to the life of our schools. Though we have clerical duties as you pointed out in the article, our main focus should be on the students and staff in this building—helping them.  
Keep up the great work.  Sincerely,
Kimmie Vogt, Library Media Specialist, Hastings Middle School

Interacting with History; Teaching with Primary Sources, edited by Katharine Lehman.   It was a lot of fun writing the chapter bookcover Discovering Local History in your own Back Yard.  The types of local history treasures like those I’ve written about on this blog are included along with  stories of how media specialists and teachers are bringing local history resources and activities into their schools.  Other chapters are by Sara Suiter, Sherry Galloway along  with contributions by Library of Congress American Memory Fellow and an introduction by Barbara Stripling.  Other selected content: Overview of the Library of Congress Resources ~ Teacher Pages Resources ~ Professional Development Materials  and Lessons ~ Teaching with Primary Resources Partners ~ Interacting with History is available from ALA , Spring 2014. 


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