Monday, November 17, 2014

Regional Foods of the United States Research

Mrs. LoBianco's FACS classes visited the library again this month.  This time, the fifth grade classes visited instead of the seventh graders.  In order to support both literacy and social studies, Mrs. LoBianco created a project where students will learn about the food associated with the regions of the United States.

Prior to visiting the library, students located the different United States regions and shaded in their chosen region on a map.  When students came to the library, they received instruction on how to use the Kids InfoBits database in order to find information about the food within their region.

An important part of this project was beginning the discussion on finding credible sources and avoiding plagiarism.  Students learned about the benefits of using databases and about the importance of citing their sources.  The project required the use of a MLA-formatted research note sheet - the first of many that students will see during the course of their middle school research projects!

Students accessing Kids InfoBits, a Gale database.

This is the MLA notesheet for the project.  Students are learning how to properly cite their sources.
After reading through the material provided by Kids InfoBits, students will gain an understanding of how history, traditions, and geography have shaped the foods enjoyed in the different United States regions.  Mrs. LoBianco is offering extra credit to students who bring in food from the regions studied.  I am really hoping that students bring in lots of delicious food!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Making Space for the Makerspace

After hearing for the past couple of years about the great things achieved through school library makerspaces, we decided it was about time Pioneer Middle School got in on this action.

A makerspace is an area where people can come together to work on projects or teach others about something they are good at.  Although a makerspace might sound like a strange addition to the library, it really makes a lot of sense.  Instead of people coming to the library and passively receiving information from the print/digital materials, people can instead create their own knowledge and share what they are learning with other people.  It's a great way to collaborate and also is very relevant to the STEM initiatives taking place at Pioneer.

First, we had to pick an area for the makerspace.  We chose to move the reference shelf over to a new area of the library.  Here is the before picture:

This is the old reference area in the library.  It will soon be our new makerspace!
After the shelving was moved, we were able to see the area that will become the makerspace.  Who knew that there was a nice bulletin board back there?!  I'm sure that this will come in handy when there are some maker projects underway soon.

Here's the after picture with the shelving removed.
We will still need to clean up the new makerspace area prior to use.  At the moment, the table is being occupied by the setup needed for Lego League.  That will soon be put away until next season.  The magazines on the rack will also be relocated.  In its place we will display books about computer programming, robotics, crafts, drawing, origami...basically anything maker-related!

Supplies have been ordered.  We're looking forward to receiving Raspberry Pi programming kits, solar robotic kits, mousebots, spinbots, squishy circuits, and Makey Makey kits.  The makerspace will be stocked with iPads containing many coding apps, such as Kodable, Hopscotch, and Scratch Jr.  In addition, we will be purchasing and asking for donations of duct tape, origami paper, Legos, and other craft supplies.

Once the makerspace is up and running, we intend on making the space available both during and after school.  Students will be able to come to the library in the morning to obtain a "Makerspace Pass" to use during their learning labs, provided that they are caught up with classwork.  We also plan on running after school sessions where students can come in and work on a group project.  It is our hope that these sessions will be run by students, teachers, or other community members.  There are experts all around us!

The beginning of December is the projected start time for the makerspace.  Until then, we will be gathering materials, making plans, and publicizing.  Feel free to offer any suggestions.  We are very excited about this!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Social Studies Research

Mrs. Asquith's fifth grade Social Studies have been visiting the library quite frequently in order to find reliable sources for their research.  Earlier in November, the class visited to use the Maps 101 database to locate information about countries in South America.  Together we practiced how to read a topographical map in order to see the various elevations in different countries.

This week, the class returned to finish up finding some facts about the world's biomes.  We used both World Book and Grolier to find information.  The students are doing a great job with using these resources!

Using World Book to learn about biomes.

I also wanted to share some of the great biome artwork!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Iron Chef: Pioneer Edition!

The seventh grade students in Mrs. LoBianco's FACS classes came to the library in order to prep for Pioneer's first ever Iron Chef competition.  Much like the Iron Chef show on television, students must create a dish based around a secret ingredient.  For this competition, the secret ingredient is apple!

Students had many different jobs in order to prepare for this competition.  Each group had a chef, sous chef, marketer, dietician, spokesperson, accountant, recorder, and historian. 

Although all students were in the library to prepare, the recorder and the historian were using library resources and skills to complete their portion of the project.  The recorder was responsible for making sure that all sources were properly cited using the MLA note sheets available in the library.  They were able to assist their group members in preparations through using the websites provided on a Symbaloo page.

The symbaloo made it easy for all group members to access the websites needed for research.

The historians had the challenge of researching the history of apples.  In order to find information about apples, the historians used both a database (World Book) and website.  Both sources were cited by using the MLA note sheets.

A group historian recording apple facts.

A group working together to decide on a recipe.

A marketing team beginning the initial stages of their poster.

I am very disappointed that I won't be available to taste the finished products, but am so proud of the work that the FACS students have done so far!