September 26

The Essentials of Research

Over the course of the past two weeks our middle schoolers have been working very hard to learn the following critical research skills;

  • Using the right keywords in a Google search to get the best results
  • How to effectively take notes
  • How to use in-text citation
  • How to create a bibliography

Students were asked to practice these skills in the form of a small assignment on the history of the microwave.  Some groups came back for a second session and practiced these skills with a series of exercises, and other groups made video tutorials to share with other middle schoolers.

Students are getting a strong grasp of these concepts that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

September 18

Using Non-Fiction Books and Kids Search Engines for Research

Our grade 3s got a feel for what research is all about on Tuesday.  Research is defined by Merriam-Webster as;

1careful or diligent search
2studious inquiry or examination especially investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws
3the collecting of information about a particular subject

Our students were tasked to carefully and diligently search through our book resources for information about the insect of their choice using a Table of Contents and/or an Index page.  They took notes in their own words on the insect of their choice and kept track of their sources.

They were then asked to search their subject online using very specific keywords.  The proper use of keywords in online searching is an underrated skill.  It takes some forethought to clearly use keywords to create the perfect query and yield the best results.  A search on kiddle.co for ‘centipedes’ will not yield half as much useful information as the query ‘centipede facts.’

They tracked their information in a special graphic organizer.

It is important that we don’t overlook the importance of teaching children to use books to find information.  Learning to quickly scan a page and find pertinent information is a critical part of learning.  So many children wanted to jump straight to finding the information they needed online, but learning to use non-fiction books is where children should begin.  Once they can easily navigate a book, they will have the ability to quickly and efficiently scan websites in the same way.

We will be continuing to fine-tune these skills with all of their research projects this year and I look forward to seeing this class on a regular basis here in the library.

September 9

Little Synagogue on the Prairie

The OJCS was very fortunate to get a visit today from author Jackie Mills.  She wrote a wonderful new book called Little Synagogue on the Prairie about a Synagogue, the Montefiore Institute, in Alberta that had to be moved three times.

 

The kids were held rapt by this fascinating true story.

After the story, Ms. Mills gave a copy to each student to take home.  They were incredibly excited and grateful.

Today we at the OJCS got to learn more about Jewish Canadian history and it was a wonderful experience.

September 4

The Library Catalogue Has an Exciting New Feature

Over the summer the library catalogue was updated with an exciting new feature – the reading level values for the books in our collection.  At OJCS we use Accelerated Reader as a way for students, teachers, and parents to track reading improvement and progress.  By making our catalogue searchable with AR values, students will be able to challenge themselves when making book selections.

Here is how you use it;

Click on the library catalogue link below:

https://theojcs.booksys.net/opac/ojcs/index.html#menuHome
Search any book in the search bar.  The AR score is immediately visible on the bottom.

You can see the reading level in point value for this book next to the AR icon.

If you click on the record you can even see the quiz number attached to that title.

The quiz number is in the line with all of the study program information.

You can also search our catalogue by reading level range.
Click on the SEARCH tab.
Click on STUDY PROGRAMS.
Enter the min and max reading level and click search.  You can also add in a SUBJECT or a KEYWORD.
This tool is very quick and efficient to use and something that parents, teachers, and students can all benefit from learning.  Happy searching!